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Justice Department lands first ever convictions against mobile-app pirates

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Two men accused of operating a popular Android piracy website have pleaded guilty to charges filed by the Department of Justice. This marks the first time the DOJ has secured convictions for the distribution of counterfeit mobile apps. Earlier today, Nicholas Anthony Narbone entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Thomas Allen Dye, who the DOJ refers to as Narbone's "co-conspirator," pled guilty to the same charge earlier this month.

Both helped oversee Appbucket.net, an "alternative online market" that authorities say illegally distributed more than 1 million copies of copyrighted apps. Those illicit app downloads totaled more than $700,000 in value, federal prosecutors say, and were given away without any consent from developers.

Appbucket was one of two Android piracy sites seized by US law enforcement agencies in 2012. The government has filed similar charges against 22-year-old Kody Peterson, the suspected mastermind of SnappzMarket.com — another site targeted by federal authorities. Peterson is accused of robbing Android developers of even more money: prosecutors claim that between May 2011 and August 2012, SnappzMarket facilitated 1 million illegal downloads worth a total of $1.7 million. Since Peterson isn't mentioned in today's DOJ press release, that case presumably remains ongoing. As for Narbone, 26, and Dye, 21, they're due to be sentenced on July 8th and June 12th, respectively. Each faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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