Juneau man faces DVD piracy charge

Clif Nelson charged in connection with alleged movie pirating business

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008

Federal authorities have indicted a Juneau man on copyright violation charges in connection with a movie pirating business.

Cliff Nelson, 55, was indicted on charges of copyright infringement by a federal grand jury in Anchorage, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Steward.

He faces a maximum three years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or both, she said.

Steward said Nelson was selling DVD copies of movies while the film was still in theaters.

Steward said Nelson was circulating lists of the movies he had available for purchase. One such list was provided to the FBI in the course of its investigation, she said.

Steward said Nelson has apparently only recently begun selling as a business, but was intending to sell many more. The investigation documented 357 cases of copyrighted movies being sold in violation of copyright, she said.

"It appears he was just getting going," she said.

Nelson was unavailable for comment, but Steward said he may have sold other movies which were not copyright violations.

State business license records show Nelson had a business license at his Mendenhall Valley home in the 1990s.

Nelson has not been arrested but will be issued a summons, she said. A court date has not yet been set.

Selling pirated movies is typically found in large cities, such as New York or Pittsburgh, Steward said.

"It's not real common here in Alaska," she said.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgeyat 523-2250 or e-mail patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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