Washington State Copyright Infringer Sent to Prison
Everett, Washington resident and Korean national Sang Jin Kim was sentenced to 40 months in prison for criminal copyright infringement. Kim was also ordered to forfeit to the U.S. government $409,776 of proceeds from his infringing activities. Kim pled guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Kim offered a variety of copyrighted materials for download through his websites, including Korean television shows, U.S. movies, U.S. television shows, software, video games, fitness videos, wrestling videos and championship fight videos. Kim did not have licenses to distribute any of these copyrighted materials and charged users subscription fees to download content. Approximately 20,000 users subscribed to Kim’s websites. Some of the U.S. movies Kim made available on his websites were still playing in theaters and were not available on DVD. He also made Korean television programs available in the U.S. weeks before authorized U.S. distributors made them available.
Authorities in Seattle became aware of Kim’s activities after a U.S. attaché in Seoul, Korea was informed that Kim and his company, World Multimedia Group Incorporated, were unlawfully distributing copyrighted materials. The Seattle office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation that led to Kim’s arrest. Kim allegedly told his company’s employees, investors and others that he had licenses and paid monthly fees allowing him to distribute the Korean content on his websites. Although Kim argued that he did not think he was breaking the law by distributing the Korean content, he admitted that he knew his distribution of the U.S. movies was unlawful.
Kim was sentenced for the offense of Copyright Infringement – Distribution for Commercial or Private Financial Gain, 17 U.S.C. 506(a)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. 2319(b)(1), and for the offense of Copyright Infringement – Prerelease Piracy, 17 U.S.C. 506(a)(1)(C) and 18 U.S.C. 2319(d)(2).
This case is U.S. v. Sang Jin Kim, No. CR11-0413RAJ, Western District of Washington at Seattle.