A member of the in-theater camcording gang known as the IMAGiNE Group was handed a 40-month prison term Thursday in what is the nation’s longest sentence in a file-sharing case.
A Virginia federal judge handed the term to Gregory A. Cherwonik, 53, of New York, a year after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.
In all, five members of the group have pleaded guilty to operating what prosecutors described as being the most prolific piracy release group between 2009 and 2011.
According to the indictment, (.pdf) the group sought “to be the premier group to first release to the internet copies of new motion pictures only showing in movie theaters.”
The Motion Picture Association of America said IMAGiNE was more successful than any other illegal internet release group because of its “short latency periods between the theatrical release and their pirated release, their consistently good quality of audio captures, their high volume of releases, and their connection to international suppliers.”