Five former employees and a consultant to Fox Cable Networks Group 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, who where 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 conspiracy count.
Fox brought network issues to the attention of the U.S. Secret Service in 2003, according to authorities, when other information-technology workers found a file-transfer-protocol server on its network that contained pirated material.
According to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Sarna, O'Brien and Wills were the alleged leaders of an organization that duplicated copyrighted software, including computer software and games, as well as films.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison if the defendants are convicted.
Fox Entertainment Group issued a statement affirming its zero-tolerance policy on piracy and its active support of prosecution of anyone suspected of copyright infringement.