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DrinkOrDie ASCII NFO header. Their slogan reads "warez bearz from Russia and beyond".

DrinkOrDie (DoD) was an underground software cracking and warez trading network during the 1990s, shut down by a major raid in 2001.

DrinkOrDie was founded in 1993 in Moscow by a Russian with the handle "deviator" and a friend who went by "CyberAngel." By 1995, the group was global. One of its earliest major accomplishments was the Internet release of Windows 95 two weeks before Microsoft released the official version. It is also known for its DoD DVD Speed Ripper released in 1999 shortly before DeCSS. The activity of the DoD group diminished after 1996, and they were not considered major players in the warez scene by 2000. The DrinkOrDie network is considered criminal for copyright infringement. As a rule, they made no financial profit from their activities.

The DoD network primarily consisted of university undergraduates, but was supported by software company employees, who would leak copies of software and other digital media. DoD also received such files indirectly, from other networks.

Member raids

In 2001 the group was busted in an FBI operation called Operation Buccaneer. At the time, DrinkOrDie had two leaders, one in the United States and another in Australia.

The Australian leader Hew Raymond Griffiths 40, known by his screenname "Bandido", has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and one count of criminal copyright infringement, and has been involved in legal action in Australia. As of March 2005, Griffiths has lost an appeal against extradition to the United States, to face charges under US copyright laws.

The American leader John Sankus Jr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known by his screename "eriFlleH" (HellFire spelled backwards), was convicted and sentenced to 46 months. Sankus was also a member of the group HARM at the time of his arrest.

The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit in the UK also arrested eight members residing in Britain. Two of those arrested were charged and convicted for Conspiracy to Defraud, Alex Bell of Greys, Essex and Steven Dowd of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.

Also charged and convicted were:

  • Barry Erickson age 35, of Eugene, Oregon, who used the screename "radsl", pled guilty on May 2, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate the criminal copyright laws, and was sentenced to a term of 33 months, with three years of probation to follow. Erickson was a systems engineer at Symantec Corporation and provided prerelease software to DoD and RiSCiSO. He was also a founding member of Parents On ‘Puterz (POPZ) a warez group that specialized in the release of children’s learning software and games.
  • David Grimes age 25, of Arlington, Texas, who used the screename "chevelle", pled guilty on March 4, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate the criminal copyright laws. Grimes was a computer engineer at Check Point Software. Grimes supplied Check Point firewall software to DrinkOrDie on at least two occasions, and he operated an FTP site known as High Octane and was affiliated with RiSC, MYTH, RTS, and DrinkOrDie.
  • Richard Berry age 34, of Rockville, Maryland, who used the screename "flood", pled guilty on April 29, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate the criminal copyright laws. Berry was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Streampipe.com in Alexandria, VA. A longtime member of DrinkOrDie, he supplied members with computer hardware, occasionally tested software, and operated BNCs for the FTP sites known as Fatal Error, Packet Storm, and Lake of Fire. Berry was also a member of POPZ.
  • Sabuj Pattanayek age 21, of Nashville, Tennessee, who used the screename "buj", pled guilty on April 16, 2002 and was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for conspiring to violate criminal copyright laws. Sabuj Pattanayek, a student at Duke University, was a council member, and a skilled software cracker. Pattanayek had also been a senior member of the courier group Request To Send (RTS).
  • Stacey Nawara age 34, of Rosenberg, Texas, who used the screename "avec", pled guilty on March 19, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate the criminal copyright laws. Nawara was a Council member in DoD, a senior member of the warez courier group RTS, and a leading courier for the warez group Razor 1911.
  • Michael Kelly age 21, of Miami, Florida, who used the screename "erupt", pled guilty on April 10, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws. Kelly was a systems network administrator for Gator Leasing, Inc., of Miami, Florida, from where he conducted many of his activities. A senior member/botmaster for DoD, he also had past or current membership in the warez groups AMNESiA, CORP, and RiSC and the underground artscene group Remorse.
  • Nathan Hunt age 25, of Waterford, Pennsylvania, who used the screename "azide", pled guilty on April 3, 2002 to one felony count charging conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws. Hunt was a senior member in DoD and the group’s leading supplier of software. From November 2000 through October 2001, Hunt provided the group with more than 120 individual software titles. Hunt was also a senior member of The Corporation (CORP).
  • David Russo age 50, of Warwick, Rhode Island, who used the screename "ange", pled guilty on April 24, 2003 to conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws and received 13 months in federal prison. Russo was responsible for testing the programs to determine if they functioned properly before release.
  • Kentaga Kartadinata, 29, of Los Angeles, California, who used the screename "tenkuken", pled guilty on January 22, 2002 to conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws. Kartadinata operated an electronic mail server for the group.
  • Andrew Clardy of Galesburg, Illinois, who used the screename "doodad", pled guilty on April 4, 2002 to criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws. Clardy was also a member of POPZ.
  • Robert Gross of Horsham, Pennsylvania, who used the screename "targetpractice", pled guilty on May 22, 2002 to criminal copyright infringement.
  • Anthony Buchanan of Eugene, Oregon, who used the screename "spaceace", pled guilty on August 19, 2002 to criminal copyright infringement. Buchanan was also a member of POPZ.
  • Kirk Patrick St. John age 34, of Gilbert, Arizona, who used the screename "thesaint", was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate federal criminal copyright laws, and one count of possession of stolen property. St. John ran the FTP leech server "Godcomplex".

External links and references

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