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Web Site Owner Pleads Guilty In Stargate Case

Was accused of streaming episodes online

A man who runs a “Stargate SG-1” and “Stargate Atlantis” Web site, pleaded guilty to charges of copyright infringement this week after authorities in California accused him of streaming episodes of “Stargate SG-1” online.

According to KNBC in Los Angeles, Adam Clark McGaughey, 35, of Cincinnati, will be sentenced Jan. 24 where he could face a year in prison. The charge is a misdemeanor, with a felony version expected to be dismissed at the time of sentencing. McGaughey is currently free on $5,000 bond.

According to an April press release from the office of Central California’s U.S. Attorney Debra Yang, the FBI investigated McGaughey’s Web site — Stargate Information Archive for nearly three years, investigating claims that the webmaster was offering episodes of the “Stargate SG-1” television series online, while profiting from ad sales on the site. Such action is considered illegal under American copyright infringement laws.

The U.S. Attorney’s office claims that the Motion Picture Association of America sent McGaughey letters asking him to cease and desist. Instead of complying, McGaughey allegedly moved his Web site’s servers overseas, and continued to stream episodes over the Internet until April 2003.

A March 31 post on McGaughey’s Web site, claimed that authorities used provisions of the USA Patriot Act — a set of anti-terrorism laws passed in the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — to bring charges against McGaughey. However, such claims have never been verified.

“Adam was first tipped off about the investigation when the FBI raided his and his fiancee’s apartment in May of 2002 and seized thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment,” said the poster, who gave the name of HurricaneMB. “References (in an affidavit) were made to a cease and desist letter sent by the MPAA to an e-mail address that did not exist. His online friendship with other ‘Stargate’ fans across the globe was portrayed as an international conspiracy against the MPAA.”

The poster also claimed that the FBI stated they would return McGaughey’s seized computer equipment within 60 days, but instead, returned it eight months later.

“Much of it was damaged beyond repair — one laptop had a shattered LCD screen, an empty tape backup drive was ripped apart for no apparent reason, his finacee’s iBook was badly damaged when it was pried apart with a screwdriver.”

The FBI has not responded to these claims.

McGaughey’s site continues to be in operation, although there is no sign that fans can currently download episodes of the show. “Stargate SG-1,” along with its spinoff “Stargate Atlantis” is aired on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Airlock Alpha has a strict policy on episode downloads online. Airlock Alpha does not include links to sites that provide such downloads, nor does it allow discussion of peer-to-peer operations involving copyrighted material on its message boards.

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