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ShareBeast Owner Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement

Artur Sargsyan, the owner of the massive song-sharing site ShareBeast, has pleaded guilty to copyright infringement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

The government shut down the site in 2015. At the time, the Recording Industry Association of America reported that it was the largest distributor of pirated music operating in the U.S. The RIAA had issued takedown requests for some 100,000 music files, and users had downloaded files more than one billion times.

The criminal case was filed in Atlanta last month.

“Illegally making money off of the talent of hard working artists will not go unpunished thanks to the dedication and hard work of our FBI agents,” said David LeValley, special agent in charge of the Atlanta bureau of the FBI.

Sargsyan, 29, of Glendale, Calif., is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, and has already forfeited $185,000 that was seized by the government.

In some cases, ShareBeast provided links to music that had not yet been released. In August 2015, agents seized three domain names. With the cooperation of authorities in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the agents also seized Sargsyan’s servers.

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