GAME OVER: Duo involved in infringing video game content sentenced
Main article content
Two men have been sentenced for infringing video game content which is estimated to have cost the gaming industry £10 million.
Steven Trump, 49, and Paul Jonathan Carloss, 51, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday 29 November 2021 after previously pleading guilty at a hearing on Monday 4 October 2021.
Trump, of Park Drive, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 240 hours community service, a 32 day rehabilitation order and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs for distributing articles which infringe copyright and possession of articles for use in fraud.
Carloss, of William Street, Birmingham, B15, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £250 in costs for distributing articles which infringe copyright.
Police Staff Investigator David Chenery, from the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said:
“Trump and Carloss both played a pivotal role in distributing infringed video game content which is believed to have resulted in a huge financial loss to the games industry.
“The sentence passed down today should act as a clear warning to those involved that this crime will not be tolerated, and that we will continue to work closely with our partners and industry to bring those responsible to justice.”
The City of London Police launched an investigation into a BitTorrent Tracker members-only website in June 2015 following a referral from the Association of UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE). Trump set up the website, which hosted a large number of torrent files, in 2006.
The investigation revealed that of the 17,000 torrent files available on the website in 2015, 75 per cent of them were linked to infringing video game content.
Carloss joined the website in 2009 as a member and made his way up the ranks, later being promoted to a moderator then an admin by Trump.
Between June 2013 and October 2016, Carloss was involved in the running and operation of the website. He acted as the main point of contact between the other members and Trump. By 2015, he was promoted to a system moderator and was running the website almost by himself.
The website, at the time, was one of the most prominent private games-only torrent trackers on the internet, with more than 28,000 members and approximately 27 petabytes (the equivalent of 27 million gigabytes) of content available to download. The most popular 50 torrents (containing games) were downloaded a total of 335,499 times.
Both Trump and Carloss participated in uploading and downloading video game content themselves.
Although the website did not host or store pirated content, it provided facilities to search for and access identified files, creating the ability for individuals to share and download digital content using peer-to-peer technology.
Analysis conducted found that the financial loss to the games industry is likely to be in the region of £10 million.
Trump and Carloss were both arrested on Tuesday 18 October 2016 following two warrants at two residential addresses. A number of items were seized from both properties, including four computer tower units.
Trump admitted in his first police interview to creating the website himself, uploading torrents to the website and downloading copyrighted material.