ATLANTA – A tech mogul has pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement related to his ownership and administration of Sharebeast.com, a file-sharing website that facilitated the unauthorized distribution and reproduction of over 1 billion copyrighted works.
“Through Sharebeast and other related sites, this defendant profited by illegally distributing copyrighted music and albums on a massive scale,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “The collective work of the FBI and our international law enforcement partners have shut down the Sharebeast websites and prevented further economic losses by scores of musicians and artists.”
“This is another example of how the FBI and its international law enforcement partners, working together, make it difficult for criminals to profit from illegal activities on the internet,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta. “Illegally making money off of the talent of hard working artists will not go unpunished thanks to the dedication and hard work of our FBI agents.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Artur Sargsyan owned and operated a number of websites including Sharebeast.com, Newjams.net, and Albumjams.com.
From at least 2012 through 2015, Sargsyan illegally distributed and reproduced copyrighted works through Sharebeast.com. Using a network of websites that he owned and operated, including Newjams.net and Albumjams.com, Sargsyan created links to a wide swath of copyright-protected music that was stored on Sharebeast.com. Sharebeast illegally stored and distributed works from scores of artists including Bruno Mars, Linkin Park, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Destiny’s Child, Ciara, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber.
In numerous instances, Sharebeast distributed and reproduced pre-release copyrighted works meaning that Sargsyan made the songs available before they were commercially available to paying consumers.
From 2012 through 2015, Sargsyan received over 100 emails notifying him that Sharebeast was hosting copyright-infringing works. Despite receiving such notices, the copyright-infringing files were still available for download.
In August 2015, the United States seized control of the domain names Sharebeast.com, Newjams.net, and Albumjams.com. And with the assistance of international law enforcement partners in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the FBI seized the computer servers used by Sargsyan to illegally distribute the copyrighted music worldwide.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Sharebeast.com was the largest online file-sharing website specializing in the reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted music operating out of the United States.
Sentencing for Sargsyan, 29, of Glendale, California has been scheduled for December 4, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.