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ESA Applauds Indictments of Piracy Ring


Nineteen Members Charged for Pirating Games and Other Copyrighted Works

February 6, 2006 – Washington, DC – A Chicago federal grand jury last week indicted nineteen members of the international piracy warez group “RISCISO” as a result of the federal law enforcement undercover investigation “Operation Jolly Roger.” The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today lauded the work of the federal officials whose investigative and legal efforts produced the indictments of the nineteen warez group members for pirating games, software, and movies worth more than $6.5 million.

“We applaud the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section for their extensive and continuing efforts to dismantle these online piracy rings that steal millions of dollars of intellectual property,” said Ric Hirsch, Senior Vice President, Intellectual Property Enforcement for the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “Federal law enforcement’s continued focus on -- and success in -- taking down these international warez groups sends a clear message to pirates everywhere that they will be targeted aggressively and are not beyond the law, even if they live outside the United States. Given the harm that these groups cause the entertainment software industry, the ESA will continue to support and assist all law enforcement efforts to stop their pirate activities.”

Operation Jolly Roger was the Chicago-based operation of a 2005 U.S. Department of Justice anti-piracy initiative, code-named “Operation Site Down.” Federal agents targeted the warez release group “RISCISO,” which in 1998 began distributing thousands of pirated games and other works worldwide through the Internet. The group maintained several servers that stored and distributed enough content to fill up 23,000 CD ROMS. Each of the defendants, ranging from 22 to 57 years of age, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, and fifteen were charged with a second count of copyright infringement. Seventeen of the defendants reside throughout the U.S., with the other two residing in Australia and Barbados, and many were employed in high-tech positions.

The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2005, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit


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