Hana Amal Beshara, the co-founder and public face of pirate website NinjaVideo.net, has been sentenced to 22 months in prison for conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton announced Friday morning.
The sentence was handed down by a U.S. District Court judge in Virginia. Beshara must serve two years of supervised release and finish 500 hours of community service.
The judge also ordered her to repay the roughly $210,000 she made at NinjaVideo, through ad sales and user donations, and forfeit related financial accounts and computer equipment.
Beshara, 30, pleaded guilty to the charges in September. Known as "Queen Phara" on the internet, she supervised the uploading and placement of videos on NinjaVideo and moderated the site's forums.
Beshara was indicted along with four other NinjaVideo administrators. Three of them have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, while an arrest warrant remains for the fourth. Another NinjaVideo.net co-founder pleaded guilty after being charged separately.
According to the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division (which prosecuted the case) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, millions of users illegally downloaded high-quality copies of copyright-protected films and TV shows through NinjaVideo.net. Some of the films available for download on the site hadn't yet been released in theaters.
The site operated from February 2008 to June 2010, when law-enforcement officials shut it down. NinjaVideo generated $505,000 in income from internet advertising and visitor donations during the course of its operation, according to the Justice Department.
The investigation was conducted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), part of the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property. It's one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy, created by Attorney General Eric Holder.