LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Harbor City man faces up to five years in federal prison for illegally uploading an advance copy of a Kanye West album to the Internet before the CD went on sale.

According to court papers, Richard Franco Montejano has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, for uploading the Kanye West album “Graduation” to the Internet about a week before the CD went on sale, in September 2007.

Prosecutors said Montejano was a member of an Internet music release group called “Old School Classics”, or “OSC.”  OSC was part of the “Warez” scene, an underground online community consisting of individuals and organized groups using the Internet to illegally distribute copyrighted computer software, games, movies and music, often before the titles were available to the public.

Two OSC members were employees of a pressing plant in Kings Mountain, N.C. that manufactures compact discs for the Universal Music Group, so the group began to specialize in pre-release copies of rap and hip-hop albums.

Officials say Warez groups typically reproduce and distribute thousands of copyrighted songs over the Internet, which in turn are reproduced and distributed hundreds of thousands of times.

In a signed plea agreement prosecutors wrote that Montejano “voluntarily and intentionally joined the OSC conspiracy for the purpose of copying and distributing copyrighted sound recordings without authorization.”

When he was arrested, investigators found more than 27,000 unauthorized files on his home computer, with a retail value of greater than $10,000 but less than $30,000.

Montejano faces a possible punishment of up to five years imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (19)
  1. Momoney says:

    there’s no accounting for bad taste

  2. Saber 1 says:

    With lousy music like that, they should give a CD with a gas fill up.

  3. droz says:

    Wow, 5 years in prison. Meanwhile the guy who got high, ran over a tot and broke its legs (while driving at a high rate of speed in reverse), and put a young woman in a wheelchair for life — got 5 years probation with no jail time.

  4. Zippy says:

    Who’s Kayne West?

  5. ILLEGALS says:

    Up to 5 years? The dude who drugged, raped, murdered & dumped the body of a 19 yo college girl got 5 years for that and will be release soon for serving only 2 years.

    The film producer who pleaded guilty to Felony DUI vehicular manslaughter got only 11 months jail time for running over a 21 year girl near Hollywood Hills.

    1. Greg Rodmy says:

      Or this one:
      “In 1978, Singleton raped 15-year-old Mary Vincent, cut off her forearms and left her naked in a ditch near Modesto to die. In a decision that caused a furor in California, he was paroled in 1987 after serving eight years of a 14-year term.”


  6. boxingfan213 says:

    Ridiculous, Child rapists get less time than that. Kanye is overrated garbage.

    1. james wood says:

      Think about what you are saying Its a Federal Crime !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Kanye West SUCKS! says:

      Yes, Kanye is garbage. His music SUCKS! Why would anyone pay for it much less download it for free?! So what if it’s a federal crime? Do you really want to be filling up our prison system with people who are giving away trash, i.e. Kanye West songs? I’ll buy his CD just to pee on it!

  7. james wood says:

    Think about his crime it”s Federal thats the reason for more time

    1. Gene Rodmy says:

      We don’t care that it’s ‘federal’. Civilized people wish to reserve prisons for violent offenders. Such mischief as this should be responded to with sanctions, fines, leans, loss of credit, loss of employment, deportation if appropriate, etc. But to house and feed him for 2-3 years? No thank you.

  8. drozone69 says:

    I don’t get it .Is this not the equivelance of trash picking?

  9. Just a Thought says:

    “retail value of greater than $10,000 but less than $30,000”
    … I guess the person who wrote this article was helping their kid with math inequality homework =)

  10. Not newsworthy says:

    Go back to your trailer and square dance Then

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