Federal officials have announced the first criminal conviction in California under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A Northern California man Thursday pleaded guilty to circumventing technology that protects a copyrighted work and to criminal copyright infringement.
According to a release issued by John K. Vincent, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, more than 4,500 bootlegged videotapes were found in stores in December near the home of the defendant, Moshin Mynaf.
Federal agents also found video-duplicating equipment in Mynaf’s home in Vacaville, including devices to circumvent Macrovision’s copy guard, an anti-piracy device that is embedded in the copyright work.
The DMCA, enacted in 1998, prohibits anyone from circumventing technology intended to protect a copyright.
Mynaf faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of six counts of copyright infringement and six counts of trafficking in counterfeit labels and up to five years and $500,000 on the DMCA count.
The conviction is the first in California under the DMCA and the first involving security devices in videocassettes. The U.S. attorney in Nebraska recently obtained a conviction under the DMCA in a case involving Sony PlayStation.
Last year, Dmitry Sklyarov of Moscow, was indicted for violating the DMCA when he created a decryption program for the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader. The prosecution was dropped after he agreed to cooperate in a case against his employer.