If you've been following the Applanet/Appbucket criminal case, you know that the Department of Justice and the FBI have been working on bringing charges against a number of high-profile Android app pirates for the last eighteen months. Earlier this month the investigations and arrests paid off, as two of the men responsible for large-scale Android app piracy in the United States pled guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The DOJ reported the news on its official public affairs portal.

Nicholas Anthony Narbone and and Thomas Allen Dye, both formerly of the well-known piracy site Appbucket.net, were charged with one count each, and both pled guilty to the charges on March 10th. Dye will be sentenced on June 12th, Narbone on July 8th; the maximum possible sentence is five years in prison, but both will probably receive a reduced sentence for their pleas. According to the DOJ Narbone was the leader of the group, and at least one co-conspirator, Thomas Pace, has not plead guilty. One other man, Kody Jon Peterson of Florida, was associated with the SnappzMarket piracy site, and has also not plead guilty at this time. Both remaining plaintiffs may continue to trial or plead guilty, probably in the hopes of a reduced sentence.

Copyright infringement discourages smart, innovative people from using their talents to create things that the rest of society can use and enjoy,” said U.S. Attorney [Sally Quillian] Yates. “Theft is theft – whether the property taken is intellectual or tangible – and we will continue to prosecute those who steal copyrighted material.

The two convictions are the United States' first ever for mobile app piracy, but they certainly won't be the last. The Department of Justice estimates that the four men's combined sites distributed more than a million illegitimate apps with a cumulative value of over $700,000.

Source: US Department of Justice