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British man faces interstate movie piracy charges



British man, George Bridi, has been extradited to the United States to face charges of involvement in a global piracy ring.

Cyprus extradited a British man to the United States to be formally charged with crimes of digital piracy.

He was a member of a global ring that uploaded movies and TV shows online before their due release dates.

Thus, it caused great losses for production studios and media companies.

Cypriot authorities arrested the 51-year-old Bridi in August 2020, said the office of U.S. Attorney, Audrey Strauss, in Manhattan.

There wasn’t a lawyer present for Bridi immediately.

Bridi and two others face charges over working for the Sparks group, which leaked movies and television series.

The prosecutors say that the group leaked nearly every movie from major production studios from 2010 to 2020.

It also said Sparks obtained copyrighted Hi-Res copies of exclusive DVDs and Blu-ray discs from wholesale merchants in New York.

The distributors in the NY area said the pirates made up reasons for needing the discs.

Sparks then used programs to compromise the copyright protection on the discs and recorded them for easy online sharing.

They follow a method called “Cracking” or “Ripping” to bypass protection, the prosecutors said.

According to Bridi’s indictment file, the ‘cracked’ content had tags with names like Sparks, Drones, Rovers, Geckos, and Sprinter.

Movie production studios lost millions of dollars due to the piracy, prosecutors said.

Authorities took down several Sparks’ servers around the world in August 2020.

Bridi’s charges

Bridi faces charges of conspiring to commit copyright infringement, wire fraud, and transporting stolen property interstate.

Bridi faces charges of conspiring to infringe copyrights, wire fraud, and global stolen property transportation.

If the court finds him guilty, Bridi could face up to 30 years in prison.

Another accused, Jonatan Correa, pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring to commit copyright infringement.

He received a sentence of three years in prison, including three months of supervised release, court records show.

A third defendant from Norway, Umar Ahmad, remains at large.

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