Jan 24 The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday
announced criminal charges against four people over their
alleged roles in trafficking pirated Android mobile device
applications, in the first counterfeit apps case brought by the
Kody Peterson, 22, of Clermont, Florida, was accused of
conspiring with other members of the SnappzMarket Group between
May 2011 and August 2012 to illegally create and distribute more
than 1 million copies of Android apps without permission from
the apps' software developers and copyright owners.
Three other defendants -- Thomas Dye, 21, of Jacksonville,
Florida; Nicholas Narbone, 26, of Orlando, Florida; and Thomas
Pace, 38, of Oregon City, Oregon -- were accused of involvement
in a similarly-sized conspiracy on behalf of the Appbucket Group
between August 2010 and August 2012.
Each defendant was charged by federal prosecutors in the
Northern District of Georgia with one count of conspiracy to
commit criminal copyright infringement, and faces up to five
years in prison, the Justice Department said.
"These crimes involve the large-scale violation of
intellectual property rights in a relatively new and rapidly
growing market," said Mythili Raman, acting head of the Justice
Department's criminal division, in a statement. "While this
represents the first counterfeit apps case by the Department of
Justice, it exemplifies our longstanding commitment to prosecute
those who steal the creative works of others."
The Justice Department in August 2012 seized the website
domain names snappzmarket.com, appbucket.net and applanet.net,
saying they were trafficking in pirated Android apps.
Peterson was arraigned on Thursday and the other defendants
on Friday, the department said. The charges were announced late
Information about the defendants' lawyers was not
immediately available following the announcement because the
website for the federal court for the Northern District of
Georgia was not working. A Justice Department spokesman did not
immediately respond to a request for that information. The
individual defendants could not immediately be located.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Andrew