Torrent Site Admin Hit with 3-Year Sentence, Fine

Bob Preston
WASHINGTON — A high-ranking administrator for a Torrent website was sentenced to three years of supervised release and fined $20,000.

A jury found Daniel Dove, 26, guilty of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement on June 26. U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones handed down Dove's sentence last week.

At trial, the government presented evidence that Dove was an administrator with, a BitTorrent indexing site. The government argued that EliteTorrent used standard peer-to-peer Torrent-tracking technology to infringe on copyrighted material.

The government also argued that Dove's role as an EliteTorrent admin had him uploading actual pirated content to the site for others to download. The government demonstrated to jurors that Dove owned a super-high-fast server that he used to upload this content.

The case was a part of a larger government task force called D-Elite, which has targeted peer-to-peer sites for prosecution. Attorney Tyler G. Newby of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property led the prosecution.

Dove's role in actually uploading content put him in more precarious position than other peer-to-peer practitioners. When a U.S. District Court judge handed down a $111 million decision against TorrentSpy, the company's lawyer called it a "Hollywood publicity stunt" based on what he said was TorrentSpy's lack of assets and their guiltless role in merely helping to distribute torrent files.

TorrentSpy works like a search engine, except that it seeks out small text files, often called "torrent files," that users then load into locally hosted proprietary programs that use the files as guideposts to find and download actual media files.

But not everyone agrees that such action is harmless.

Attorney Rob Apgood agreed. Apgood, a member of the firm CarpeLaw, told XBIZ he applauded the decision.

"Copyright infringement is so rampant on the Internet, and it's severely damaging copyright holders," he said. "People who facilitate theft should be held just as accountable as the thieves themselves."