Indicted Wednesday were Adil R. Cassim, 29, of Granada Hills, California; Bennie Glover, 35, of Shelby, North Carolina; Matthew D. Chow, 28, of Missouri City, Texas; and Edward L. Mohan II, 46, of Baltimore. They were charged with being high-level members of the music sharing group called Rapid Neurosis, or RNS, which operated from 1999 to 2007, the DOJ said.
The defendants, led by Cassim for some time, allegedly conspired to illegally upload thousands of copyright-protected music files to RNS, the DOJ said. Many of those files were then reproduced and distributed hundreds of thousands of times, the agency said in a news release.
RNS was a release group for pirated music and other content on the Internet, the DOJ said. RNS members were granted access to "massive" libraries of pirated music, video games, software and movies by gaining a reputation for providing previously unavailable materials, the agency said.
The indictment alleged that the supply of prerelease music was often provided by music industry insiders, including employees of compact disc manufacturing plants, radio stations and retailers, who typically receive advance copies of music before its commercial release.
Members of RNS, including Glover, illegally procured some of the music before its commercial release date from a CD manufacturing plant in North Carolina, the DOJ said. Other members of RNS, including Mohan and Chow, allegedly purchased CDs from retail stores shortly after their commercial release and posted them to the Internet before other piracy groups were able to do so.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, as well as possible restitution.
Two additional individuals allegedly involved with the group have been previously charged with one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement: Patrick L. Saunders, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged Aug. 14; and James A. Dockery, 39, of Mooresboro, N.C., was charged Tuesday.
Saunders pleaded guilty Tuesday and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 4.
The case is part of a multiyear federal investigation of organized piracy groups responsible for the illegal distribution of significant amounts of copyrighted movies, software, games and music through the Internet.