Five receive prison sentences in private prosecution for illegal film distribution

QEB Hollis Whiteman members David Groome and Ari Alibhai acted for the Federation Against Copyright Theft in a prosecution involving a multimillion pound conspiracy to defraud the film industry.

5 men were today sentenced at Wolverhampton crown court to a total of 17 and a half years in prison. The four principal defendants, Sohail Rafiq, Reece Baker, Graham Reid and Ben Cooper, ran a variety of film 'release groups' under a series of aliases.

Release groups are underground online networks responsible for obtaining, encoding and distributing illegal digital copies of major motion pictures. The films targeted by these defendants included Skyfall and Argo.

Many of the thousands of films they pirated and released online were on their cinema run, and the defendants were often responsible for uploading the very first illegal copy of a film on the Internet.

This is the first ever prosecution of a release group outside the USA and only the second time such a group has been prosecuted anywhere in the world.

For the BBC news article please click HERE.

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