Brit Admits Role in International Movie Piracy Ring
A British man has admitted being a member of an international video piracy ring that illegally distributed “nearly every movie released by major production studios.”
On Thursday, before United States District Judge Richard M. Berman, George Bridi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Bridi, who is 52 years old, has been part of Sparks Group – described by Europol as “one of the biggest online piracy groups in the world” – since 2011.
Sparks Group compromised the copyright protections of TV shows and movies then illegally shared the content online prior to its retail release date.
After lying to DVD and Blu-Ray disc wholesale distributors to obtain copyrighted content ahead of its release, Sparks Group members used specialized software to crack the hardware then reproduce and encode the content in a format that could be easily copied and shared online.
Sparks Group’s piracy operation was dismantled in August 2020 in a coordinated effort by law enforcement authorities in nearly 20 countries that was supported by Eurojust and Europol.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that the Group’s activities had “caused tens