Criminal charges are possible for simple copyright infringement both federal and state. The basics are for profit or personal gain. However under the DMCA there are other aspects to be considered as well. Simple information, Torres was found guilty of copyright infringement and the 22 year received 87 months plus fines and costs. Pretty simple, for those that are not up to knowing what is truly going on. Since 1998 it is a federal crime to commit copyright infringement. You will find all kinds of people saying it is a victimless act and not stealing because one judge said so. The thing is Congress made it a crime in 1998. Get the facts straight people. It is not victimless and it is a crime. For more than a few items it is a federal felony. Just ask Torres. He will be about 40 when he gets out and he will be broke a long time.
Copyright infringement includes civil and criminal penalties. Anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed.
For “willful” infringement awards up to $150,000 per work infringed are allowed. A court can also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. See the DMCA 1201 section for more information on criminal information.
The thing to remember is states can also charge theft if certain criteria are met. If they take actual digital copies on hard copies like cd, dvd or hard drives, it is like taking any other personal property. That makes it local and federal both. You can file charges in all jurisdictions if you so choose.
Yes, anyone that helped them, harbored them, lived with them or they lived with including relatives and spouses and neighbors if they talked to them. It is called conspiracy and other possibilities. The issues are many including state and federal. Simple theft laws and specific laws on theft of copyrighted items can be handled in different manners. It is best if the infringers do not allow the actions to get to this point. They probably think it is not going to happen or they can get off. They might get off but at what cost to them. Prosecutors are not paid by the parties but the defense attorneys are paid by the defendants. This can be large fees and more than one attorney in cases of actual theft of the files or the federal felonies. The infringers are putting a lot of people at risk for their own benefit and ego. The personal cost alone will be very high not including the financial costs to them and the others as they too will have to pay costs.
I have said to make sure about filing the charges as they will probably cause a lot of grief and financial pain for people who would not be involved except for the infringer trying to use them for their benefit. They will blame you, but remember, the infringer took the files, did the infringing so they are the instigators no you. You are protecting your work and your property, the infringer took them away from you.
Just be careful, take your time and do it right. As American says, “don’t cross the river if you can’t swim the tide”. If you cannot finish it, do not start it. This is not something to bluff. This is extremely serious so treat it that way.
I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information only. These are not legal advice and should not be used as such.