AN ALLEGED leader of an online software piracy group known as Razor1911 has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to violate copyright laws.

The US Justice Department said in a statement that Shane Pitman, 31, North Carolina, was sentenced by US federal Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, Virginia.

Pitman, known by his screen nickname "Pitbull," was a leader of the underground internet piracy community or "warez scene" and was accused of piracy of computer and console game software.

"The group prided itself on cracking and illegally distributing the most popular software games, usually before their public release date, including such games as Quake, Red Alert, Terminal Velocity, and Warcraft II and III," the Justice Department said.

"Shane Pitman's conviction and sentence should send a strong message to organised internet gangs like Razor1911 that stealing and illegally distributing game software online is not a game," said US Attorney Paul McNulty.

"If other software pirates still entertain the false belief that the internet offers anonymity for this type of copyright infringement, they do so at their own peril."

Pitman was among more than 40 individuals targeted worldwide by Operation Buccaneer, a 14-month undercover investigation by a variety of law enforcement agencies. Other groups targeted were known as DrinkOrDie, RiSC, RiSCISO, Request To Send (RTS), ShadowRealm (SRM), We Love Warez (WLW), and POPZ.

The statement said Pitman is the 22nd person convicted to date on felony copyright infringement charges as a result of Operation Buccaneer.
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