NinjaVideo Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement

With Justin A. Dedemko’s guilty plea, Justice Department has successfully convicted all three of the piracy site’s founders


A co-founder of pirate website pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. 

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Justin A. Dedemko, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y., plead guilty in the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Dedemko’s fellow co-founders, Matthew David Howard Smith and Hana Amal Beshara, plead guilty in September to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.

The federal indictment said Dedemko was responsible for locating and uploading content to servers used by the website, some of which were located in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was also involved in marketing.

NinjaVideo generated $505,000 in income from internet advertising and visitor donations during the course of its operation, according to the Justice Department.

Dedemko admitted that he received $58,004 for his efforts, and agreed to pay restitution in that amount.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2012, and Dedemko faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Four other co-conspirators have already entered guilty pleas. An arrest warrant has been issued for one last indicted co-conspirator, Zoi Mertzanis of Greece, who also allegedly served as one of the website’s main uploaders.

NinjaVideo was seized during the first phase of “Operation In Our Sites,” a Justice Department initiative to protect consumers by targeting counterfeiting and piracy over the internet.

This investigation is being 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.