Ex-Fox Nets’ Workers Are Hit on Piracy

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Five former employees and a consultant to Fox Cable Networks have been charged with conspiracy to violate copyright laws after they allegedly illegally duplicated and distributed movies such as The Matrix Reloaded and X2: X-Men United.

The six, charged May 14, include an infrastructure consultant, Kevin Sarna; former employees Jonathan O’Brien and Christopher Willis, both network engineers; Lisa Yamamoto, a message-system and services administrator; Peter Mariano, a network administrator; and Garry Martin, a desktop/user support manager. Each is charged with one count of conspiracy.

Authorities said Fox Cable alerted the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force and the FBI in 2003, after other IT workers found a file transfer protocol (FTP) server on its network containing pirated material.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California charged that Sarna, O’Brien and Wills led an organization that duplicated copyrighted software. Investigators claim the same three men maintained the FTP server that contained illegally duplicated material that others could download over the Internet.

Fox Entertainment Group said it maintains a zero-tolerance policy on piracy and actively supports the prosecution of anyone suspected of copyright infringement. The workers are no longer employed by Fox.

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