Man Who Leaked Movies, TV Shows Online to Serve 22 Months in Prison

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A British man who was part of a group that internationally leaked movies and TV shows online was sentenced Monday in New York to serve 22 months in prison.

George Bridi, 52, pleaded guilty on November 18, 2021, to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement involved with the Sparks Group, an international piracy group that Bridi was a part of, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Bridi, a former disc jockey, has already been in jail for 17 and a half months after being arrested in Cyprus in August 2020 for working with the Sparks Group, Reuters reported. He was extradited a year later.

Authorities say the Sparks Group would leak movies and TV shows before they were set to release, costing studios tens of millions of dollars over almost a decade, according to Reuters. The group would use computers to override discs’ copyright protections, a practice called “cracking” or “ripping,” prosecutors said. They would then recode the discs with alternate names, like “Drones,” “Rovers,” “Geckos” and “Sprinter” to be able to share them online, prosecutors said.

George Bridi, Sparks Group, International Piracy
A British man has been sentenced for his involvement with an international piracy group that would leak movies and TV shows before they were set to release, costing studios tens of millions of dollars over almost a decade, according to Reuters. In this photo, a projectionist works in the projection room of Il Cinemino film society on April 26, 2021, in Milan, Italy.
Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

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