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Audiomaxxx founder fined $550,000 in piracy case

A Winnipeg man has pleaded guilty in what the Canadian recording industry calls a music and video piracy operation 20 times bigger than anything ever busted in the country.

Raj Singh Ramgotra, 36, faced dozens of charges when he was arrested in 2008 after an extensive RCMP investigation into Winnipeg-based Audiomaxxx.com.

Officers raided Mr. Ramgotra's business, which was suspected of selling bootleg copies of music, movies and even pornography on the black market.

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The Audiomaxxx website showed the company was selling all manner of music and movies for $3.99 to $5.99 each, far below normal retail, and also offered digital downloading of videos and music.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association says many pirated artists were small Caribbean and reggae musicians, but performers such as Shania Twain, Nelly Furtado and Jay Z were also victimized.

Mr. Ramgotra pleaded guilty Thursday and was given a two-year conditional sentence, but must pay $550,000 in fines and restitution.

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