LOS ANGELES -- A Culver City man Monday pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to a misdemeanor count of violating federal copyright laws by leaking on the Internet songs from a then-unreleased Guns N' Roses album.
Kevin Cogill, 28, who uses the online name "Skwerl," admitted to U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul L. Abrams that he posted nine tracks from "Chinese Democracy" on the Internet blog Antiquiet last June, five months before the album was officially released.
"I got my hands on pre-release versions of Guns N' Roses songs --something my audience was heavily anticipating," Cogill told the judge.
Asked if he uploaded the material onto his Web site for financial gain, Cogill said he didn't, "but I understand all the attention helped me."
As part of his Dec. 10 plea agreement, Cogill agreed to cooperate with the government in any future investigations of the case.
Cogill faces a maximum of one year in federal prison, a $100,000 fine and five years probation when sentenced March 3, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig H. Missakian.
According to an affidavit, Cogill's arrest on Aug. 27 came after an investigator for the Recording Industry Association of America, a music industry trade group, told the FBI that a blogger using the name "Skwerl" had uploaded nine previously unreleased Guns N' Roses tracks to the Internet.
Officials said the Web site received so many hits after the songs were posted that it crashed.
At 17 years in the making, "Chinese Democracy" arrived in stores Nov. 23 and peaked at No. 3 on the charts before dropping off to No. 18 in its second week.