founder gets 14 months

The website offered illegal access to movies and TV programs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice

A Virginia judge sentenced Matthew David Howard Smith, a founder of the website, to 14 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

Smith was indicted along with four others late last year. The DOJ charged that they illegally provided copyright-protected movies and TV programs for download from the website. The site operated from February 2008 until authorities shut it down in June 2010.

The DOJ accused Smith of developing operational elements of the website and said that he and his colleagues collected more than US$500,000 from website users.

In addition to prison and probation, Smith has been ordered to pay $172,387 and turn over five financial accounts and computer equipment. He was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Smith's attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment on his sentence.

One of Smith's colleagues, Hana Amal Beshara, was also recently sentenced for her alleged role at to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay $210,000. Two others are awaiting sentencing, and an arrest warrant has been issued for another who lives in Greece. The fifth person was charged separately and has pleaded guilty, the DOJ said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is

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