Columbia Man Sentenced for Selling Counterfeit Movies
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 06, 2011|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Johnnie B. Gray, age 29, of Columbia, South Carolina, was sentenced today in federal court for infringement of copyright, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2319. United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Gray to 24 months’ imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Gray previously pleaded guilty to using a five-bay DVD duplicator to make copies of movies that had been produced by Hollywood studios. Gray then sold these movies to his customers. During the investigation of the case, federal agents seized nearly 1,500 counterfeit movies from Gray.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Anderson stated that one of the reasons for the sentence he imposed was that “intellectual property is an important part of free enterprise in the United States and should be promoted and fostered in the law.” The judge also emphasized that is was important to make sure the public was aware that “all those explicit warnings about penalties for illegal copying” that are routinely projected during the opening credits mean that courts can decline to issue “light-weight sentences.”
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Dean A. Eichelberger of the Columbia office handled the case.