Four US citizens have pleaded guilty to piracy charges following an investigation by the Department of Justice.
Investigators from Operation Fastlink snared Derek Borchardt (21), Matthew Howard (24) and Aaron Jones (31). All three pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement as part of the Apocalypse Crew which specialised in pre-release music. A fourth man, George Hayes (31) admitted one count of copyright infringement as a member of another pre-release group called Chromance, or CHR.
The four will be sentenced on 19 May 2006 - they face up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000.
Apocalypse Crew got hold of digital copies of tracks before they were commercially released and made them available on peer-to-peer networks.
The 21-year old leader of the Apocalypse Crew, Mark Shumaker, was found guilty of conspiracy charges back in August 2003.
Read the full DoJ press release here.
Operation Fastlink is a combined investigation run by the FBI, the FBI cyber division, and the computer crimes and intellectual property section of the Department of Justice. It is helped by the Business Software Alliance and the Recording Ass. of America. ®