Four Americans and a Greek national have been indicted on conspiracy and copyright infringement charges for alleged involvement with a website, NinjaVideo, which offered illegal downloads of movies and television shows, the Justice Department said Friday.
Many of the movies offered by NinjaVideo.net, which was shut down by US law enforcement in June 2010, were still playing in theaters and others had not yet been released publicly, the department said in a statement.
The indictments were handed down on Thursday by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, the department said.
The five were charged with one count of conspiracy and five counts of copyright infringement for their involvement with NinjaVideo, it said.
According to the indictment, NinjaVideo was launched in February 2008 and allowed visitors to illegally download copyright-protected movies and TV shows in high-quality formats.
Many movies were offered for free and a greater selection was available for a donation of at least $25, the Justice Department said.
It said the operators allegedly collected more than $500,000 during the website's two-and-a-half years of operation.
The five charged were Hana Amal Beshara, 29, of New Jersey; Matthew David Howard Smith, 23, of North Carolina; Joshua David Evans, 34, of Washington state; Zoi Mertzanis, 36, of Greece; and Jeremy Lynn Andrew, 33, of Oregon.
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