FOUR MEN have pleaded guilty to software copyright infringement for their roles in the running of fake app download website Appbucket.
The four were named by acting assistant attorney general David O'Neil of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) Criminal Division and crowned with the ignominy of receiving the first US convictions for selling counterfeit mobile apps.
They are Kody Jon Peterson, 22, Thomas Allen Dye, 21, and Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26, all of Florida, and Thomas Pace, 38, of Oregon. Sentencing is set for mid-June and all four have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.
The four were accused of running the fake download app store Appbucket and profiting to the tune of $700,000. Prosecutors estimated that Appbucket sold as many as one million counterfeit apps.
"These mark the first convictions secured by the Justice Department against those who illegally distribute counterfeit mobile apps," said O'Neil.
"These men trampled on the intellectual property rights of others when they and other members of the Appbucket group distributed more than one million copies of pirated apps. The Criminal Division has made fighting intellectual property crime a top priority, and these convictions demonstrate our determination to prosecute those who undermine the innovations of others in new technologies."
The FBI assisted prosecution and said that it will continue to make its presence felt in similar investigations.
"The wholesale theft of intellectual property as seen in this case cannot and will not go unaddressed," said FBI special agent in charge Britt Johnson.
"The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating and presenting for prosecution those individuals and groups engaged in such criminal activities that involve the attempt to profit from the hard work and the developed creative ideas of others."
Appbucket and two other websites were seized by the DoJ in August 2012. Then FBI agents said that they had downloaded thousands of counterfeit apps from applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com. µ