The leader of a piracy group and a co-conspirator, that was engaged in the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android apps have pleaded guilty for their roles in the plot that distributed more than a million copies of copyrighted apps.  The total retail value of these apps was over $700,000.

Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and Thomas Allen Dye, 21, pleaded guilty to the same change.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 8, 2014, and June 12, 2014, respectively.

Android Pirates Convicted

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.

Acting Assistant Attorney General O’Neil said, “These mark the first convictions secured by the Justice Department against those who illegally distribute counterfeit mobile apps…These men trampled on the intellectual property rights of others when they and other members of the Appbucket group distributed more than one million copies of pirated apps.  The Criminal Division has made fighting intellectual property crime a top priority, and these convictions demonstrate our determination to prosecute those who undermine the innovations of others in new technologies.”

U.S. Attorney Yates said, “Copyright infringement discourages smart, innovative people from using their talents to create things that the rest of society can use and enjoy…Theft is theft, whether the property taken is intellectual or tangible – and we will continue to prosecute those who steal copyrighted material…The wholesale theft of intellectual property as seen in this case cannot and will not go unaddressed,” said FBI SAC Johnson.  “The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating and presenting for prosecution those individuals and groups engaged in such criminal activities that involve the attempt to profit from the hard work and the developed creative ideas of others.”

Narbone, Dye and others were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.  According to the information received, Narbone and Dye identified themselves as the Appbucket group, with Narbone as the leader and from August 2010 to August 2012, they conspired with other members of the Appbucket group to replicate and dispense more than one million copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps through the Appbucket alternative online market.  They did this without permission from the copyright owners of the applications.

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[Image via pcpro]