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United States v. Caparotta

890 F. Supp. 2d 200 (2012)

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United States v. Caparotta

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

890 F. Supp. 2d 200 (2012)

Facts

Francesco Caparotta (defendant) used a publicly available peer-to-peer (P2P) network to share digital images and videos of child pornography. A P2P network allowed member computers, called peers, to directly download shared files directly from other peers without routing the download through a central server. P2P users could browse and download from any shared folder on the network without the active participation of the shared folder’s owner. Caparotta made his child-pornography files available to other P2P network users by placing the files in a designated shared folder on his computer. An undercover agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched the P2P network for child pornography and found Caparotta’s shared folder. The FBI agent confirmed Caparotta’s shared folder contained child pornography by reviewing the file names and by downloading a selection of images. Because of the nature of P2P networks, Caparotta did not know the FBI agent was downloading files from his shared folder, and Caparotta did not actively participate in the downloading process. The federal government (plaintiff) then executed a search warrant on Caparotta’s home. During the search, Caparotta admitted to downloading child pornography from P2P networks and admitted that the 105 files in his P2P network shared folder all contained child pornography. The government charged Caparotta with distributing, receiving, and possessing child pornography. Caparotta filed a motion to dismiss the distribution charges, arguing that he could not be charged with distribution because the FBI agent downloaded the child-pornography images from Caparotta’s shared folder without Caparotta’s active participation or knowledge.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Matsumoto, J.)

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