22-months jail for NinjaVideo.Net founder

A founder of NinjaVideo.net, a website that provided millions of users with the ability to illegally download high-quality copies of copyright-protected movies and television programmes, has been sentenced to 22 months in prison.

Hana Amal Beshara was sentenced by US District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Trenga ordered 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 US several financial accounts and computer equipment involved in the crimes.

On September 9, 2011, Beshara was indicted along with four of the other top administrators of NinjaVideo.net. Beshara pleaded guilty on September 29, 2011, to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Three of 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, 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 theatres as well as some that had not yet received theatrical release, and many television programmes immediately after they aired.

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 programmes and motion pictures on the website and served as the lead moderator of the website’s forum boards. At one point 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 for the conspiracy, with Beshara personally receiving nearly $210,000.

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