Thursday, March 17, 2005

Operation Buccaneer; tying up the loose ends

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The global anti-piracy initiative which brought about the arrests of 60 individuals who occupied the upper echelons of the piracy 'scene' trudged closer towards its protracted finale this week, as the last two members of DrinkOrDie to be sentenced were called to face the Old Bailey.

Alex Bell (aka Mr 2940), 32, of Grays, Essex and Steven Dowd (aka Tim), 42, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside were snared by the National Hi-Tech Crimes Unit way back in December 2001. Oddly enough, while it is clear that both men abetted the infringement of the Copyright Act by supplying niche business software, they will actually serve jail time for 'conspiracy to defraud'.

At the time of his arrest, Bell worked for the IT department of Morgan Stanley bank. He abused his position by surreptitiously supplying DOD with the credit card details of several account holders, which were subsequently used to acquire software destined for internet diffusion. What's truly mystifying is exactly how Dowd, an unemployed father of two suffering from ankylosing spondylitis and psoriasis, was best placed to have privileged access to pre-release software.

Both men's fate will be decided on 5th May when their trial recommences following bail. The seizure of hundreds of CDs containing pirated software during raids on their homes won't have helped their cause.

Meanwhile, 42 year old British-born Australian, Hew Raymond Griffiths, of New South Wales, who is assumed to be a co-leader of DOD, today lost his long-fought battle against extradition to the US. The unemployed programmer (aka Bandido) is to be indicted on two charges of copyright infringement by the US District Judge.


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