Two members of an Internet piracy group were sentenced to prison Friday on charges stemming from unauthorized online distribution of first-run films, officials said.
The Justice Department said a Virginia court sentenced Willie Lambert, 57, of Pennsylvania, to 30 months in prison and Sean Lovelady, 28, of California to 23 months.
Lambert was ordered to pay $449,514 in restitution and Lovelady $7,500.
Lambert and Lovelady were indicted along with two other defendants in April for their roles in the IMAGiNE Group, a ring that sought to copy and release to the Internet copies of movies only showing in theaters.
The two men each pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.
According to prosecutors, Lambert and Lovelady admitted that they went to movie theaters and secretly used receivers and recording devices to capture the audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies.
The group used software to synchronize the audio file with an illegally obtained video file to create a completed movie for sharing over the Internet.
Two others in the group have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
[Stressed manager at his computer via Shutterstock]