Friday, August 24, 2012

Internet Businessman Pleads Guilty to Infringing Copyrights

Dennis Newsome, 36, of Beacon, New York, pleaded guilty in Norfolk federal court to illegally copying and distributing copyrighted computer software and computer-based training materials from 2008 through 2010.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John Boles, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after Newsome entered guilty pleas to counts one through four of the pending indictment before United States Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller. Newsome faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 3, 2012, by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

According to court documents, Dennis Newsome owned and operated an online business, known as PCTech101, which sold computer software, education, and training materials to customers via the Internet and by means of websites (at and ). In spite of having previously been sued in federal court for civil copyright infringement and having received repeated complaints and notices from webhosting companies and copyright holders, from 2008 through 2010 Newsome illegally sold copies of valuable, copyrighted works from his websites at a fraction of the true cost of the genuine copyrighted works. For example, Newsome sold illegal copies of several copyrighted computer security training products made and sold by the SANS Institute for $24.99, when the SANS Institute sold such products at prices ranging from $750 to $4,295.

Other copyright holders whose products Newsome copied and distributed without permission included Shon Harris, CBT Nuggets, John Wiley & Sons Inc., Virtual Training Company Inc., Mark Minasi, and Arnold Jagt and the Robinson Curriculum. From 2008 through 2010, Newsome sold over 750 illegal copies of these copyright holders’ products throughout the United States and the world.

In response to complaints from copyright holders and after making undercover purchases from Newsome’s websites, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Newsome’s residence and seized from his home office computers, servers, hard drives, optical disks, and other items and records documenting Newsome’s infringing activities. As part of his guilty plea, Newsome agreed to forfeit the proceeds of his infringing activities, property that he used to facilitate that illegal activity, and illegal copies of the copyrighted products seized during the search.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Krask is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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