A Briton has been sentenced to almost two years in prison after pleading guilty to involvement in a global piracy ring Sparks Group.
Sparks, who has cost film and TV production studios tens of millions of dollars over nearly a decade, has become notorious for leaking movies and TV shows before their scheduled release dates. Under false pretenses, he obtained the first copies of copyrighted DVD and Blu-Ray discs from wholesale distributors and distributed them online after removing their copyright protection.
George Bridi, 52, has already been in jail for 17.5 months since his arrest and pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to copyright infringement last November. He will spend another 22 months behind bars, while paying US$120,000 in restitution for his “significant supervisory role” within the organization.
Prosecutors initially requested a prison sentence of 27 to 33 months, but Bridi’s lawyer was able to convince the judge to set a lower sentence after arguing that he wanted his wife and sons back.
Accepting his sentence, Bridi said he had taken ‘the wrong path’ and said: ‘I am deeply remorseful. I’m really sorry for what I did.
This is the latest successful prosecution against members of the Sparks group, with fellow conspirator Jonatan Correa sentenced last May to 2 and a quarter years on probation. Norwegian Umar Ahmad has also been charged, but remains free.