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Missouri Man Sentenced to Year in Jail for Selling Pirated DVDs

12 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A Missouri man has been sentenced to 13 months in federal jail after being convicted of selling thousands of pirated DVD movies obtained from a Chinese distributor.

Matthew Cerullo, 42, of Springfield was sentenced July 30 after pleading guilty last October to mail fraud, trafficking in counterfeit labels, trafficking in counterfeit goods and making false statements to federal agents.

Based on records obtained from the U.S. Postal Service, the United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, eBay and Amazon, federal agents determined that Cerullo purchased and received more than 22,000 counterfeit DVD movies from a distributor in Hong Kong between Feb. 13, 2013, and Sept. 10, 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The federal investigation began when a shipment of counterfeit DVDs from Hong Kong was seized by Customs and Border Protection agents at JFK Airport. The counterfeit DVDs were being shipped to a UPS store located in Springfield under the name of a business owned by Cerullo.

Increased efforts by Chinese officials to safeguard intellectual property, coupled with a burgeoning middle class, is rapidly turning the communist country into the world’s largest theatrical market.

Indeed, the Motion Picture Association of America in June entered into an agreement with Chinese-based file-sharing platform Xunlei to help ensure legitimate online access to U.S. movies and TV shows.

“The steps are aimed to counter the suspected mass infringement of MPAA member studios titles on Xunlei’s services,” the studio trade organization said in a statement.

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