Iowa Man Convicted for Piracy, Faces 15 Years

Gretchen Gallen
DES MOINES – A man accused of large-scale copyright infringement through what is known as a "warez" group is the first person convicted under piracy task force Operation Fastlink, federal authorities announced Friday.

Jathan Desir of Iowa City is accused of distributing illegally obtained software, movies, games and music over the Internet. Desir was the alleged kingpin in what is popularly known as a warez group, a computer slang term for copyrighted material that is traded in violation of copyright law.

Warez groups are typically underground groups of suppliers and distributors that make pirated content available for free download, often before it has been released to the mainstream market.

According to Wikipedia, warez is a "large-scale and international phenomenon. Well-organized pirate groups, often based in China and Russia illegally produce millions of copies of copyrighted software and exploit the Internet to avoid law enforcement from specific countries."

Desir, 26, pleaded guilty to all charges and faces up to 15 years in prison pending a March sentencing.

"There is no hiding in cyberspace and there is no hiding behind borders," Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray said in a statement to press.

Operation Fastlink began an international crackdown on warez groups in April that included law enforcement agencies from 10 countries.

Groups initially targeted by Operation Fastlink included Fairlight, Kalisto, Echelon, Class and Project X, all of which specialized in pirating computers games and content.

Operation Fastlink is the culmination of four separate undercover investigations simultaneously being conducted by the FBI, coordinated by the FBI Cyber Division, and the U.S. Department of Justice, coordinated by the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division.