A twenty-two-year-old college student is the latest casualty in the escalating war over MP3s. On Friday, Aug. 20, Jeffrey Gerard Levy pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., to violating the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act. He is the first person to be convicted under the Act, which President Clinton signed into law in 1997. The NET Act protects against the free distribution of copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission.
As a college senior, Levy ran a Web site out of his Eugene apartment that made available thousands of copyrighted songs, film clips and video games. He offered pirated works of everyone from the Beatles to Nirvana on his high-volume site, which has since been dismantled. He faces up to three years in jail and a fine of $250,000.
The Justice Department hopes that this conviction will prevent future piracy. "We hope it will fire a shot across the bow and send a very strong message to many audiences, including young people, that Internet-facilitated piracy is theft, pure and simple," said Roslyn Mazer, Special Counsel for Intellectual Property in the Criminal Division.
Levy is set for sentencing on Nov. 2.