LUBBOCK - A Texas Tech University student faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement after allegedly reproducing and distributing pirated movies, games and software.

Matthew Thompson, 22, a sophomore computer science major, was indicted on the felony charges after a two-year undercover FBI operation targeting the originators of pirated material on the Internet, according to court documents.

A message left at Thompson's Lubbock residence was not immediately returned Tuesday.

He and the nine others named in the indictment are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 22 in a San Jose, Calif., courtroom.

FBI spokeswoman LaRea Quy said the indictment was part of a continuing investigation, Operation Copycat, that involved one of the largest operations of pirating software, movies and games.

Thompson was indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate federal copyright law and violating the No Electronic Theft Act.

Also indicted on the same charges was a Spring man, Johnny Russell, 34. He declined to comment Tuesday, and his attorney, Peter Goldscheider, did not immediately return a call.

If convicted on both counts, Thompson and Russell face a maximum eight years in prison and five years supervised release, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Krotoski said.

The government believes the 10 men, ages 19 to 34, were a source for illegally copyrighted materials distributed across the Internet, according to the indictment.

Ten of 15 people accused earlier have been convicted.


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