US government charges 19 copyright hackers

The US government has brought charges against 19 members of an international group of hackers, who are said to have been involved in a “massive” copyright theft.

The US government has brought charges against 19 members of an international group of hackers, who are said to have been involved in a “massive” copyright theft.

The group, which is said to have been led by an Australian, and which allegedly involved a 57-year-old woman from Barbados, specialised in sharing copyrighted software, games and films.

The members are said not to have profited from its operations. The US government said the group, known as RISCISO, cracked expiration and encryption codes built into trial software available on the internet, on computer games, and on first-run movies intended only for reviewers and screeners.

As many as 60 members of the group, many of whom work in the computer field, are said to have shared access to computer servers loaded with products that would fill 23,000 compact discs.

Many of the servers were located outside the US. The US government said the merchandise haul was worth a total of $6.5m (£3.6m).

All 19 face a charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The government is seeking the extradition of an Australian and  a citizen of  Barbados. An informant helped the FBI crack the case.

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