A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Jeramiah B. Perkins pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced this week in US District Court in Norfolk.

Prosecutors say Perkins was a leader of the online piracy group called IMAGiNE, which sought to become the premier group to release copies of new movies on the Internet that were only showing in cinemas.

Perkins admitted renting computer servers in France and elsewhere for IMAGiNE. Perkins also used receivers and recording devices in cinemas to secretly capture the audio soundtracks of movies, which were then synchronised with illegally recorded video files for Internet sharing.

Three co-defendants previously pleaded guilty and were given sentences ranging from 23 to 40 months.