‘Queen Phara’ Sentenced To 22 Months For Copyright Infringement

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[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

Hana Amal Beshara, 30, of North Brunswick, N.J., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia, to 22 months in prison. Judge Trenga ordered Ms. Beshara to serve two years of supervised release, complete 500 hours of community service, repay $209,826.95 that she personally obtained from her work at NinjaVideo.net and forfeit to the United States several financial accounts and computer equipment.

On Sept. 9, 2011, Ms. Beshara was indicted along with four of the other top administrators of NinjaVideo.net. Ms. Beshara pleaded guilty on Sept. 29, 2011, to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Three of Ms. Beshara’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. An arrest warrant remains outstanding for the fourth co-defendant, Zoi Mertzanis of Greece. Another co-founder of NinjaVideo.net who was charged separately has also pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, Ms. Beshara was one of the founders of the NinjaVideo.net website, which operated from February 2008 until it was shut down by law enforcement in June 2010. NinjaVideo.net offered visitors the ability to view, without charge, many movies still in theaters as well as some movies that had not yet been released in theaters, and many television programs immediately after they aired.

Ms. Beshara, who was known as “Queen Phara” on the Internet, served as the public face of NinjaVideo.net. She supervised the uploading and placement of infringing television programs and motion pictures on the website and served as the lead moderator of the website’s forum boards, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice. At one point Ms. Beshara managed the conspiracy’s finances, including receiving advertising revenue generated by traffic to NinjaVideo.net. In total, advertising revenue and visitor donations generated more than $505,000 in income, with Ms. Beshara personally receiving nearly $210,000, adds the statement.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay V. Prabhu and Lindsay A. Kelly and Trial Attorney Glenn Alexander of the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

The investigation was conducted by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).