U.S.A. v. Gonzales, Crim. No. 21-367 (U.S.D.C.). The defendant pled guilty to a $168,000,000 conspiracy to distribute copyright protected video content (movies, television shows, sporting events, etc.) via subscription-based internet sites that the defendants controlled and operated. The conspirators positioned themselves as direct competitors to cable companies (Verizon, Comcast, Direct TV), using the cable company equipment to facilitate the competition, but avoided paying the required license fees, in violation of the copyright infringement laws. In order to facilitate the crime, the conspirators stripped the signal from the cable companies’ set top boxes of the protections and pirated the intellectual property. Through mass marketing campaigns for their service, the conspirators obtained hundreds of thousands of their own subscribers to whom this pirated content was streamed. The government claimed that the amount of loss was $168,000,000.00, with a guideline range of imprisonment of 18-22 years.
Ms. Lefeber successfully reduced the amount of loss to $4,000,000.00 and the defendant was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment.