Two Android app pirates that pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement may face up to five years in jail when they are sentenced on August 1. The two men admitted to their involvement in ‘paid apps for free’ sites that defrauded app developers of over $17 million.
On Monday, Aaron Blake Buckley from Mississippi pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. His co-conspirator, Gary Edwin Sharp II from Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in mid-January.
The pair distributed over five million free versions of paid apps through two sites they ran. Both were involved in Applanet, the larger of the two, while Sharp also ran a site called SnappzMarket. The two sites ran between 2010 and 2012 and distributed pirated apps worth $17 million. The FBI seized both domains in August 2012, marking the first seizure of a website for mobile app piracy.
The convictions represent the first-ever prosecution of mobile app piracy groups. Despite taking four years, the guilty parties have spent the better part of their youth dealing with an ongoing FBI investigation. Sentencing on August 1 will reveal their fate. With potential jail time of up to five years, it serves as a stern warning against mobile app piracy.
What are your views on piracy? Have you ever installed a pirated app?