A man who ran an Internet file-sharing hub where computer users could swap movie, music and software files was sentenced Thursday to three years probation and ordered to use the computer only for personal use.
Jed Frederick Kobles, 34, pleaded guilty in August to a single felony count of conspiracy to commit grand theft. He is the first person in California to be convicted on state charges for illegal file sharing, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horowitz knocked down Kobles' crime from a felony to a misdemeanor and suspended a 180-day jail sentence. Kobles also will appear in an anti-piracy ad for the film industry to be shown in theaters, Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey McGrath said.
"I think he has learned a very good lesson out of this," McGrath said. "When you engage in the illegal trade of these materials, it's not victimless — it's not free."
Under the terms of his sentencing, Kobles, who lives in Las Vegas, won't have to report to a probation officer, but if he breaks the law during the next three years, he can be ordered to serve his suspended jail sentence.
Kobles did not speak during the hearing and declined to comment outside the courtroom.
His attorney Paul Kossitch also declined to comment.
At the time of his arrest in February, Kobles operated an online file-sharing hub in Los Angeles known as UTB Smokinghouse under the name Raging8. He now works at a 7-Eleven store in Las Vegas.
Over four days in January, Kobles and other unidentified co-conspirators made films like "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," and "National Treasure" available on the Internet for others to download without permission.
To have access to the free content on Kobles' hub, computer users had to have their own selection of content that they were willing to make available. An undercover investigator who gained entry into the file-sharing ring downloaded more than 14 movies, TV shows and music videos, prosecutors said.