SOURCE: Carlton Fields

November 29, 2010 17:31 ET

Phone Trafficker Guilty in Criminal Copyright Case

Carlton Fields Attorneys Hail Historic First-Ever DMCA Conviction of Reseller

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - November 29, 2010) - Mohamad Majed was convicted this morning in federal court in Philadelphia of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by trafficking in thousands of prepaid wireless telephones. Majed, who was arrested by FBI agents on November 22, 2009, pled guilty to illegally circumventing technological protections that are built into TracFone prepaid wireless devices to protect its copyrighted proprietary software. 

Majed has been held in federal custody for more than a year, since the court determined he was likely to flee to his native Lebanon if released. Majed's conviction today before U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin marks the first time a phone trafficker has been found criminally liable under the DMCA. Majed shipped several thousand prepaid wireless phones to co-conspirators in Michigan and Hong Kong.

Carlton Fields attorneys have represented wireless service providers in 127 lawsuits in federal courts throughout the U.S. against 323 companies and individuals involved in phone trafficking, obtaining nearly $400 million in civil judgment awards on behalf of their clients. The firm has also represented clients in litigation and regulatory proceedings involving application of the DMCA to wireless phone trafficking. "The Majed conviction is critically important, because it lets traffickers know that their conduct now exposes them to criminal prosecution in addition to civil liability," said Jim Baldinger, a Carlton Fields shareholder handling the firm's DMCA-related matters.

Although Majed is the first trafficker to be convicted of violating the DMCA, other traffickers have been arrested in connection with civil lawsuits alleging violations of the DMCA. A Dallas based trafficker was sued and later arrested by U.S. Marshalls in Dallas in September 2008 for discovery violations. A Houston trafficker was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon in Houston for violating an order prohibiting him from trafficking in wireless phones. A phone trafficker was arrested this summer by U.S. Marshals in Pittsburgh after entry of a $12.3 million judgment against him and he repeatedly ignored subpoenas and court orders compelling his appearance for a deposition. In August, an arrest warrant was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for another trafficker in New York as a result of similar, ongoing discovery violations. 

For more in-depth information on prepaid wireless phone trafficking, go to www.StopCellPhoneTrafficking.com.

Located in major business centers in Florida and the Southeast, Carlton Fields offers a full range of legal services in more than 30 areas of law. Established in Tampa, Florida in 1901, the firm maintains offices in Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Additional information is available on the firm's web site located at www.carltonfields.com.

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