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One of the first U.S. extraditions for an intellectual property crime highlights the growing sophistication and reach of cybercriminals � and the extensive resources law enforcement must devote to reining in cybercrime. After fighting his extradition for nearly three years in Australian courts, British national Hew Raymond Griffiths pleaded guilty on April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The criminal copyright infringement charge was dismissed. USA v. Griffiths, No. 03-00105 (E.D. Va.). More extraditions coming “As other countries step up their efforts, and we step up our efforts [to fight cybercrime], you will see more extradition,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Wiechering of the Eastern District of Virginia, who was one of the prosecutors on the case. The government describes Griffiths as a ringleader of an intricate, global piracy ring called DrinkOrDie that illegally copied and distributed more than $50 million worth of copyrighted computer games, movies, music and software from 1993 to 2001. Griffiths was extradited from Australia in February. His indictment is based on his criminal activities in Virginia between January 1999 and December 2001 and he faces a five-year maximum sentence and a maximum $250,000 fine. Griffiths’ attorney, Jeffrey Daniel Zimmerman of the Alexandria, Va.-based Zimmerman Law Firm, declined to comment before Griffiths’ sentencing, which is scheduled for June 22. Traditionally, extraditions have been for crimes like narcotics trafficking and murder, but as domestic prosecutions of criminal copyright cases increase, it’s logical that extraditions would follow, Wiechering said. “Even five years ago, I don’t think you’d see many criminal copyright prosecutions in this country,” he said. In an earlier case, the Justice Department extradited Ukrainian national Maksym Kovalchuk from Thailand in 2004 for selling pirated software over the Internet. Kovalchuk pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose, Calif., to criminal copyright infringement, trafficking in counterfeit goods and illegal monetary transactions. USA v. Kovalchuk, No. 04-20056 (N.D. Calif.). Strong domestic enforcement alone is no longer enough to adequately protect intellectual property rights, said lead prosecutor Michael DuBose, who is also deputy chief of the computer crime and intellectual property section at the Department of Justice. “The digital age has created a virtually borderless world for criminals,” DuBose said. “It provides a worldwide advertising and distribution channel at their fingertips. Law enforcement’s response must be global, and extradition is only one tool.” So far, industry has led efforts to curtail copyright infringement, through civil suits and by referring information to law enforcement agencies, but the extradition is a sign that law enforcement is stepping up its anti-piracy efforts, said Anthony Pierce, the Washington-based co-head of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s trademark, copyright and Internet litigation committee.

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