Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Court Gives 15 Months' Jail, $415,900 Fine For Game Piracy

Comments Filter:
  • Sorry Charlie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:20AM (#24733399) Homepage

    It obviously wasn't for "backup purposes only or home brewing. I say serves him right. Gives everyone else a bad name.

    • Term? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by XanC (644172) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:34AM (#24733473)

      I basically agree with you, however this does raise the question of length of copyright terms. If the original 14-year term (IIRC) were in effect, those games would now belong to all of us, and this fellow could sell his consoles without being accused of stealing somebody else's work.

      So the discussion about this situation should at least include a debate on whether these games should still be under copyright at all.

      • Re:Term? (Score:4, Informative)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:09AM (#24733665)

        They would have gotten at least extended to 28 years. Hell, Nintendo is STILL selling them. People are STILL buying them. IMO they deserve those sales when they manage to make something that stays relevant for such a long time. Most games just fade into obscurity within maybe 3 years.

        Besides, if they were really free for everyone it wouldn't be a selling point to pre-load them on a console.

        • Re:Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Estragib (945821) <estragib@gmail. c o m> on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:24AM (#24733743)
          Indeed, who would pay for an aggregation of otherwise free software?
          • Re:Term? (Score:4, Informative)

            by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:42AM (#24733867) Journal
            ... go to any of the font collection websites, and you'll find all their fonts are free. But if you pay them $10 or something, you can download them all at once, instead of one at a time. So... enough people give them money, at least enough to pay for hosting/etc.

            I'm just sayin...
            • Re:Term? (Score:5, Funny)

              by jacquesm (154384) <j@ww.3.14159com minus pi> on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:28AM (#24734085) Homepage

              I think you got the words, but you missed the tone.

            • This is somewhat off-topic, but since you brought it up:

              ... go to any of the font collection websites, and you'll find all their fonts are free.

              Well, no. The likes of Linotype and Adobe charge significant amounts for their fonts, and the major font collection web sites usually have deals with these big names. You can often buy the fonts cheaper through a reseller than direct, but it's still not free of charge.

              These guys are in business, and as anyone who has ever tried it can testify, making a good font is a lot of hard work that a professional font designer usually expects to be paid for. On

          • Re:Term? (Score:4, Funny)

            by sm62704 (957197) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:31AM (#24735941) Journal

            Indeed, who would pay for an aggregation of otherwise free software?

            You never heard of Linux? [google.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kreschurb (159275)

          While I have fundamental issues with copyright law as it exists in the US, I have to actually agree with your stance on this issue. If they are no longer making and actively seeking profit from an application, then it should be up for grabs. However, when the maker is still selling and profiting from it, then someone who is actively pirating software for his own profit should be prosecuted.

          • Re:Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sj0 (472011) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:34AM (#24735393) Homepage Journal

            I disagree. Steamboat willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, really ought to be in the public domain by now. It's a piece of our culture. It is because it became a part of our culture that Diseny has made billions of dollars on the property, but it is because it becomes part of our culture that it ought to be freed after a reasonable time to make a profit has elapsed.

            Our language, and our culture requires the assimilation of the arts. That same assimilation can make people rich, but when an old man's childhood memories are subject to copyright, and will be until decades after his death, copyright has become an unreasonable limitation on our culture.

            Best example: The birthday song my parents sung me on my 1st birthday will be copyrighted until after I'm dead. How is that just?

            • Better example? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by BcNexus (826974) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:07AM (#24735739)

              Best example: The birthday song my parents sung me on my 1st birthday will be copyrighted until after I'm dead. How is that just?

              I may have a better example: Thanks to copyright and royalties, I have to suffer hearing shitty non-infringing happy birthday jingles at restaurants till death!

        • Re:Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:57AM (#24735113) Homepage Journal

          People are STILL buying them. IMO they deserve those sales when they manage to make something that stays relevant for such a long time.

          Bullshit. You believe that a work should stay protected by copyright for as long as it sells?

          Then the works of J.S. Bach would still be protected, putting music teachers all over the world out of business.

          If "relevancy" is the measure of whether a work should have extended protection, pray tell, how the fuck do you measure "relvancy"? Is it relevant if it sells one copy a year? A thousand copies a year? A million? How about five copies a month?

          Believing that it's a crime to sell a console filled with pirated video games is a long jump from granting everlasting property rights to "anything that keeps selling".

        • Re:Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:37AM (#24736789)

          They would have gotten at least extended to 28 years. Hell, Nintendo is STILL selling them. People are STILL buying them. IMO they deserve those sales when they manage to make something that stays relevant for such a long time. Most games just fade into obscurity within maybe 3 years.

          You have a fundamental misunderstanding about what the whole "copyright" regime is supposed to be for. It is not to "work once and make oodles and oodles of cash, like, foreveah!" (and the very fact that you seem to think so and others here agree with you is a sad testimony as to how far the whole idea has been corrupted by greed-mongering mega-corporations).

          The purpose of copyrights is to "promote arts and sciences". To that effect the public grants a (naturally non-existant) temporary privilege to the artist for a time-limited monopoly on his works. In exchange for that monopoly, the time limitation (which is supposed to be wholly unrelated to how much money is the dude making) was originally set to expire after a sane period and the works were to enter the public domain.

          Unlimited (for practical purposes) copyrights are a perversion of this idea and serve no communal purpose. A never-ending copyright has no societal justification (and in fact it is extremely dangerous to the society - just imagine someone still holding copyright on this thing called "the Latin alphabet" and charging everyone per word, which would be the case if copyrights were based on "sales" and "money earned" as you seem to suggest).

          Any attempts to extend the copyright warrant only one sane response from the society: abolishment of the vast and unjustifiable privilege of copyrights. Facing utter corruption by the money resulting from abuse of copyrights of the responsible for this mess officials, a fully justifiable and righteous response by the society is to ignore copyrights (after all it is the society which grants such extravagant privileges to the authors), which is what is happening at a global scale, represented by phenomena such as the mass scale proliferation of P2P networks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        yes, I'm all for copywrite for a decade or 2 and perhaps after that giving the holders the choice to register their intent to keep the copyright for longer by paying a small fee but really things stat under copyright for a stupid ammount of time.
        Companies rarely look more than 10 or 15 years ahead to work out how much money they can make off something so making copyrights last until the end of time isn't going to seriously increase the ammount of money the artists get for setting their work.

        • bah! damn my awful spelling
          *copyright not copywright
          *stay not stat
          *amount not ammount

      • Re:Term? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by caitsith01 (606117) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:24AM (#24734069) Journal

        I agree. It also raises the very significant question of imposing criminal penalties in relation to what is in reality a civil offence.

        This type of penalty is the direct result of the sustained campaign to impose extraordinarily severe penalties in relation to 'crimes' which in reality carry few of the hallmarks of what is traditionally regarded as criminal activity.

        When you send someone to prison for that long for a crime which is trivially easy to commit, is of debatable morality, and which has a tenuous impact, at best, on anyone or on "society", then I think there is something very wrong.

        • Re:Term? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:13AM (#24736437)

          I agree. It also raises the very significant question of imposing criminal penalties in relation to what is in reality a civil offence.

          This type of penalty is the direct result of the sustained campaign to impose extraordinarily severe penalties in relation to 'crimes' which in reality carry few of the hallmarks of what is traditionally regarded as criminal activity.

          It is a criminal matter becasue he converted someone else's property to his own use without there permission - just as if he had taken a piece of tangible property and sold it. It clearly had value - based on what he made in profits from the sale and he did not have the right to sell it.

          He could have negotiated a licensing deal; but did not. This is not a contractual dispute; it's conversion; which has traditionally been considered a crime. Penalties are not only punishment but deterences as well - 15 months in jail will probably not only make him think twice before he does this again but deter others as well.

          When you send someone to prison for that long for a crime which is trivially easy to commit, is of debatable morality, and which has a tenuous impact, at best, on anyone or on "society", then I think there is something very wrong.

          Easy of commision has never really been a factor in deciding penalties for crimes; just becasue it is easy to con someone out of cash doesn't make it any less of crime than if you simply lift their wallet while they aren't looking.

          As for "debatable morality" - the law as it stands says the copyright holders control how it is used. You cna disagree with the law, and think it needs to be changed (as I do) but as the law currently defines software programs as property. Property rights are pretty well viewed as important in our society, and using other's property without permission is generally not viewed as a moral act.

          If you really think it has minimal impact; then you should have no problem with soemone taking OSS, modifying it, and releasing it as a commercial product without following the GPL requirements to relase the source. After all, you have lost nothing since you still have the orignal program so their actions have had no impact on you.

      • by bjornte (536493) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:26AM (#24734075)
        In some cases, I think a 14 year term can be a bit short. For artworks, copyright can be held for 70 years (at least in Scandinavia, where I'm from). It makes sense because artists don't get a payroll. Some artists only produce a few "hits" in their lifetime. If those few hits become public domain while the author/artist still try to make a living, it ruins the "business model" of that profession. So, if computer games can be regarded as art, it should still be about 40 years until the first ones enter the public domain under the Scandinavian model.
        • by Chatterton (228704) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:48AM (#24734167) Homepage

          If an artist only produce a few "hits" in their lifetime, then they must have another job to pay the bill. If copyrights are here for the one-hitters, then something is wrong. Copyright is here to help creator to live from their arts not to go to in an early retirement after a few hits. If for example a singer can live from compilation of his old songs without creating new ones, then copyright doesn not promote creation and by it's own definition is not working.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mr_matticus (928346)

            How big is the hit?

            Some things are worth a lot of money. I don't think any professional athlete is worth $20 million or more, but the market disagrees. If they work for five years at $5 million a year, they never need to work again if they manage their money well. Corporate executives, raking in $1-25 million each year in salary and bonuses could easily retire after a few years. Why should an artist, who spends two years crafting a sculpture from a $200,000 block of marble, or one who spends that time w

        • by meist3r (1061628) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:01AM (#24734223)
          "If those few hits become public domain while the author/artist still try to make a living, it ruins the "business model" of that profession."

          Sorry but that's some bullshit argument.

          Look at the artists that DO in fact still perform after more than 20 years (which aren't that many) and look at how they make their cash. Take The Rolling Stones for example. They wrote a great deal of songs but only a few of them were actual "hits". If their music became public domain, like say, every kid that picks up a guitar learns how to play one or two of them, their business model should be fucked. ... Pardon, they're part british ... royally fucked.

          But instead their popularity is unbroken and people pay hundreds of dollars for concert tickets to see them live. I bet the "Running Noses" cover band doesn't make millions of dollars just because they now could legally perform any old song.

          You've been braindwashed by the shit definition of what performance and "business" means for the music industry. All these guys care about is to acquire rights to something, lock it away in a drawer and let it collect money for them. That's about the whole "business model" of the industry.

          Meanwhile, some people have realized that music is intrinsically connected with the person playing it, people want to see Mick fucking Jagger sing on stage in "The Mummy 4" and not to some stupid kid that knows how to play Jumpin Jack flash half way through.

          If you are actually the composer of a piece of music then I would assume that you are a talented musician and that you should be able to defend your work artistically against copiers. If you are not that talented and can't keep making better music than people trying to copy your stuff ... then you shouldn't get any more money because you suck.

          End of story, no musician needs to collect royalties for a song they wrote 70 years ago. Usually they are dead by then. Copyright lawyers and relatives on the other hand do want copyright terms to be as long as possible, of course. If you sat in one place, never doing anything but you had that slip of paper in the drawer that guaranteed you money ... you wouldn't want to give that up, would you? Neither would they, but since they are not doing anything or never did anything to begin with they don't deserve to be paid for whatever their ancestor was making. That's just plain ridiculous shit that got our societies into the place we are right now. Wealthy assholes inheriting their wealthy assholeness to their kids, which in turn insist they have the right to earn money with doing nothing while everyone else is struggling to come up with the money for their lifestyle.

          Bullshit I tell you, Bullshit I say. Wake up.

          Good day, fine sir.
          • by phulegart (997083)

            So let me get this straight. The Rolling Stones write and record "Start Me up" prior to 1975. They release it three times, twice in collections, and finally in 1981. It is their misfortune that it will be in demand by Microsoft for their Windows 95 marketing campaign? What... because they didn't have the "foresight" to hold of on releasing it so less than 14 years would pass? THis song is still in demand by people. It is considered a signature piece representative of Keith Richards. It is still used

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by silentcoder (1241496)

              >But you never know when something is going to be in demand. Some company like Microsoft should never be able to go "Jackpot! I can use that >formerly copyrighted material in this marketing campaign, I can make millions because it is still popular, I won't have to pay a dime for it, AND >the artists who made it is still alive to see me make millions off their work." According to you, this is exactly what should have happened.

              So a company like Disney shouldn't have been able to say: "Jackpot, we'll

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:53AM (#24734189) Journal

        Well, then fix copyright, I guess. There's nothing particularly wrong about this case, as far as the law is concerned. If Disney gets copyright extension after copyright extension, just so it can keep some old films hidden for PR reasons, then I guess Nintendo gets the same rules.

        I mean, if we all decided (you're a democracy, right? If not, fix _that_ first) that we're ok with people making money for 50 year old works, then it seems to me it's only fair that Nintendo gets to make money with stuff that can't be older than 25 years. (The NES launched in 1983, so games for it can't be older.) What's sauce for the goose, and all that.

        Honestly, the Disney case rubs me the wrong way a lot more than this. There it's used to effectively take some works out of the culture pool, which is the exact opposite of what copyright was supposed to _do_. It was supposed to offer an (indirect) monetary incentive to encourage people to publish their works, _not_ to be a way to make already published work disappear.

        Nintendo, by contrast, seems to actually use copyright as it was intended. AFAIK a lot of those games are available emulated for some of their other consoles. That copyright extension effectively encouraged them to put some work into keeping some of those games available for more people. That's what copyright was supposed to _do_.

        And before you go, "OMG, but you could just download an emulator from somewhere else"... well, that may be true for the NES and SNES, but look at how it takes longer and longer to emulate newer consoles. We've already had the PS3 for a while, and emulating the PS2 is still iffy. It's one thing to emulate an 8 bit CPU with just about enough instructions to count them on your fingers, and a graphics chip which barely scans the RAM as it is, and it's getting to be quite another to emulate the newer ones. For the graphics chips we don't even know the details of the architecture and the opcodes. At any rate, it's getting to be more and more to emulate them, and it's taking longer and longer. We may well soon get to appreciate it, if the vendor writes an emulator himself.

        But, at any rate, it's what copyright was supposed to do.

        Duly noted, they make more money in the process. Well, that's how copyright was supposed to work.

        I'd rather fix the Disney loophole first.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          you're a democracy, right? If not, fix _that_ first

          If you ask me, if you're in a democracy, you need to fix that as well.

    • Re:Sorry Charlie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tomz16 (992375) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:49AM (#24733561)

      He was selling these :

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Player_Super_Joy_III [wikipedia.org]

      In other words, he wasn't actively producing the pirated systems, or loading the games onto the consoles. He simply bought them wholesale from China, imported them, and re-sold them for profit in local malls. Doesn't make it right, but gives the story a slightly different twist in my mind.

      To my knowledge, the games pre-loaded on this set are also currently out of production (but based on current retro-gaming trends may be re-introduced at a later date via online catalogs for existing consoles such as the wii).

      In any case, another poster is correct. In my mind, most of these games are 14+ years old now, and not currently being sold by the original author. These two circumstances do lead me to question whether copyright law in this case really serves the interests of society.

    • Exactly.

      I'm known to download a few games illegally from time to time, and yes I probably shouldn't do that. I've been doing it for almost 2 decades now, though less so these days, because I know what most games are about these days.

      But I've never been as much an asshole as to actually put them all on an image and sell systems pre-loaded with them.

      Fail all over for this guy. The punishment fits the crime. I, for one, know the difference between downloading a piece of software illegally for just mys
    • Re:Sorry Charlie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quenda (644621) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:03AM (#24733983)

      Get yours now! http://www.amazon.com/Super-Power-Player-Joystick-Game/dp/B000AXWEVU [amazon.com]

      I'll be Jeff Bezos won't be going to jail any time soon.

    • Re:Sorry Charlie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ccguy (1116865) * on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:44AM (#24734143) Homepage

      I say serves him right.

      Are you out of your mind? Going to jail for selling old games?

      This is the kind of sentences that actually turn normal people into real criminals. What is he going to do when he gets out of jail, no job, probably unable to get one, out of money, etc?

  • by Inominate (412637) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:30AM (#24733447)

    There is a massive difference between pirating something and selling someone else's copyrighted work. The minute you turn piracy into a for-profit operation is when criminal copyright infringement makes sense.

  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:32AM (#24733453)
    Okay, one of you people that claim piracy is always okay, riddle me this. If this person profited by selling a piece of software that took money, time, and labor to make, how did he not deny someone the money they should have made? And don't pretend that the people who bought these systems thought the games were so cool they had to go out and buy a copy.

    This is not giving a copy to your friend, this is a direct theft of value from the software writers. Call it "copyright violation" or call it "selling someone's work without paying them for it" this was wrong.
    • I (would like to) believe it'll be pretty difficult to find anyone who actually thinks that infringing upon another's copyrighted work for profit is NOT wrong.

      The argument from 'pirates' is extremely varied, but it usually involves no profit, in which case, it becomes less black and white. If you 'pirate' something that you wouldn't have purchased anyway and don't share it with anyone, then no one is really hurt. I can actually sympathize with that. BUT, people LOVE free stuff and 99% of the time, that jus
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shaitand (626655) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:05AM (#24733649) Journal

        'One could argue though, that if none of his customers had planned to purchase the original work, then not much harm was done. But that's unrealistic and impossible to *prove*...'

        In the US justice system the burden of proof is SUPPOSED to be on the one claiming harm, not the one claiming there was no harm. I would argue that it is not unrealistic that the people purchasing from him would not have purchased from the vendor but likely.

        Most of the people I know who consume pirated material have thousands of songs, hundreds of movies, dozens of games, etc. Those same people would NOT have bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of content if they had to pay for it. That collection might turn into one game, two movies, a few CD's, if that.

        • Burden of proof. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RudeIota (1131331) on Monday August 25, 2008 @04:15AM (#24734033) Homepage
          Good point and I do agree with it overall. However, to assume that not a single customer would have purchased the original works - even if it does fall within the spirit of the law - is equally unlikely. Well, its very much an improbability for any recent game system at least. But you know, this case deals with the Power Player [wikipedia.org]... So yeah, you are probably right. :D

          And again, we're dealing with old games, none of which (I'm assuming) are in production or even for sale anymore. So did this guy REALLY cut into the profits of the copyright holder(s)? Probably not. His crime was really using another's work as the cornerstone for his own product. I wonder if that's how the case was looked at, or if it was viewed as though he had deprived the copyright holder of sales also?

          Really though, I think the only way to be fair about this is to ask the customers whether or not they would have purchased any of the 75 titles and which ones. Heck, some of them may have even owned them... We're talking about Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, etc.. I guess the copyright holder could pass the time/cost of collecting that information to the defendant in the final settlement. That seems like a relatively fair way of doing things, although pretty tedious.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shaitand (626655)

      'how did he not deny someone the money'

      The only way he denied them money was if the person paying him would have purchased the game from the copyright holder instead of the pirate. Unlikely.

      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:16AM (#24733697)
        The only way he denied them money was if the person paying him would have purchased the game from the copyright holder instead of the pirate. Unlikely.

        Or if the copyright holder didn't want these games on the market because they have newer games that they want to sell, which will now not be bought because people are buying these older pirated games instead. Likely.
        • The cost of old product selling (at any price) has its potential in the lost sales of new product (at any price).

          Many people don't recognize opportunity cost in the whole "piracy argument" when it comes to actually buying pirated goods, since that money could have gone towards anyone (those pirated from or otherwise) that is legit.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost [wikipedia.org]

          • by dj42 (765300)

            Just to clarify this, if your name is Joe and you spend $100 of your annual $30,000 salary on a pirated DVD with Windows XP and Photoshop CS3 on it, you have removed "$100" of income that could be used for legit software purchases, game purchases, etc. So even though the assumed victims are Microsoft and Adobe, it could also be Bungie, or EA, or Sony, or Apple, etc.

            Therefore, paying for pirated items will nearly always an appreciable opportunity cost, since most people do not have unlimited or virtually-un

    • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:29AM (#24733773)

      Okay, one of you people that claim piracy is always okay, riddle me this. If this person profited by selling a piece of software that took money, time, and labor to make, how did he not deny someone the money they should have made?

      Because these games are old enough that they should be in the public domain. More than a fair return for them has already been made.

      Copyright is supposed to be an incentive to create new works, not a license to print money.

      • by dj42 (765300)

        I don't really think this is an acceptable line of thought. I think once you purchase something, it should be yours ongoing. That is, if you purchase Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon on record in the 70s, you ought to be able to have it in ANY format you want. That means, if you want the MP3s someone else has recorded from their record, you deserve them. As to remastered versions for new media, it makes sense if you want those (vs the old) to have to pay for them.

        BUT, being legally challenged for shit

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:35AM (#24733475)

    Aside from trying to scare the ever living crap out of Joe Public, I can't see why the RIAA and MPAA bother going after the poor idiot who's sharing five songs from the new Brittany Spears album instead of going after the people like this who are actually making a profit violating someone else's copyright. Not only is it easier to track down the people who are doing it for profit, but you don't look like complete dicks when it turns out the anonymous person you tracked down through an IP address turns out to be a handicapped woman or someone who doesn't even own a computer.

    I really don't mind the concept of copyright (although I do feel as though the duration should be significantly shortened to something of at most fifteen years.) and don't have a problem of not consuming any copyrighted media that has an asking price too much for my likes. I've never produced anything that I'd consider charging people to consume myself, but like the idea that if I ever did and decided to charge for it, I'd appreciate it if it wasn't spread across the internet or various other channels without my consent.

    I don't really blame the casual infringers either. I understand that most of them are young and poor like I once was and usually can't afford the going rate for most works. I'd be fairly hypocritical of me to want them brought to justice when I've done exactly the same thing. I think that most people on slashdot feel the same, but there are a few people who have differing opinions. I think we should all draw the line when someone is actually taking your work and turning a profit through selling it without your permission.

    I really wish the **AAs would take this kind of approach and train the killer legal dogs on the assholes that really deserve it instead of some poor college kids. I don't mind them releasing a commercial telling the casual file sharers who are distributing their copyrighted works that they suck, but the hardhanded legal action against these people is ridiculous.

    • by mshomphe (106567) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:16AM (#24733693) Homepage Journal

      I can't see why the RIAA and MPAA bother going after the poor idiot who's sharing five songs from the new Brittany Spears album instead of going after the people like this who are actually making a profit violating someone else's copyright.

      People who make a profit have the money to fight back. Casual infringers tend to be easily cowed into settling.

    • Obviously, it is to terrify Mom's/Dad's/Grandma's/Grandpa's/Un-Techies. I suspect their campaigns have made millions think twice about downloading music and movies.

      Rough up 100 people, make some money to pay for your lawyers--at least partially--and frighten thousands to millions into not downloading. Or, at least cause people to not sit 24x7 saturating their bandwidth archiving all music that has been made.

  • Fair cop... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fleeced (585092) <fleeced@maiOPENBSDl.com minus bsd> on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:40AM (#24733497)

    In this case, I'd say the fine is a fair cop - though the jail term is a bit steep... it wasn't a minor copyright infringement - and it certainly wasn't for personal use.

    As for the jail term - I'm generally uncomfortable with jailing people for anything but violent crimes (though I acknowledge it might sometimes be necessary in other cases too).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Toonol (1057698)
      I mostly agree. As far as I know, the guy is not a threat to anybody, so jail time should be light; these are economic crimes, and the penalties should probably be mostly economic. But fifteen months is not a huge amount of time. I'm sure at the first hint of jail overcrowding, this is the guy that will get the early release.

      What always makes me wonder about these crimes... what did he think was going to happen? I guess this sentence is good if it stops other, completely clueless, individuals from do
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        What always makes me wonder about these crimes... what did he think was going to happen? I guess this sentence is good if it stops other, completely clueless, individuals from doing this same thing.

        He probably spent too much time posting on Slashdot, arguing about how IP should be nobody's property, got modded +5 Insightful so many times that he thought he could use the same arguments in a court room.

        I'd like to think that, anyway :)

  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:41AM (#24733501) Journal

    If those NES games had been songs, however, he'd be several million dollars in the hole and jailed for two-digit number of years, not months.

  • Prison? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know why you'd imprison him though. I mean, it's a "white collar" crime and there's no threat posed to society by him simply through physical contact.

    I'd say enough people are in prison already without adding copyright related criminals into the mix. I agree he should be fined (since his crimes were essentially financial ones) but I don't see the point of prison.

    • I don't know why you'd imprison him though. I mean, it's a "white collar" crime and there's no threat posed to society by him simply through physical contact.

      There is a threat of him committing the same crime again, isn't there? Not likely to do so while he's in prison. I don't know where this idea comes from that any crime involving physical violence is necessarily worse than any non-violent crime. Perhaps this doesn't apply in this case, but lets say you have a guy who steals $1,000,000 through "white c
  • jail != prison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yold (473518) on Monday August 25, 2008 @02:43AM (#24733529)

    Ahh, the wisdom of Florida's courts. This is probably the most harmless white-collar crime ever, and yet the man gets 15 months in prison. No better way to turn an ordinary citizen into a hardened criminal. If it was jail, it would be a little more understandable, but since he is going to a Florida prison (among the worst in the country), may God have mercy on him. Minimum security prisons (if DOC is nice enough to send him to one) aren't a cake-walk either.

    Seriously, fine the man, put him on probation with a suspended sentence before sending him to prison for an utterly victimless crime.

  • I think even the most "software should be free" person out there would agree that this is proper if all of the reported facts are accurate.

    But then again, I don't think it's particularly mysterious as to what the general consensus here is on the subject -- individual, not-for-profit sharing is okay. Making money from it is not. It is the very definition of "software piracy."

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:12AM (#24733677) Homepage

    ...it sounds like a neat little device. Come to think of it, I may have seen a few of these things in malls and flea markets or something similar not long ago. I believe one version of such a device offered a bunch of really old games like Atari 2600 games, and there have been others.

    This man did not make these devices. He did not load the software onto the devices -- they shipped to him that way. He sold devices he imported. While for many people born and raised in the US, it would seem very obvious that such devices would be of dubious legality, to this guy it's hard to know whether or not he knew it was wrong to begin with. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" -- okay... especially if you're the President of the United States violating the nation's Constitution. But seriously, this guy just bought and sold. He may not have had a full understanding of what he was selling and that it wasn't legal in the U.S. (It this device legal in other countries? That would be interesting to know!) Supposing this guy had no knowledge that these devices were actually illegal in the U.S., and had no prior offenses, don't you think it would be more fair to simply have the profits seized?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by houghi (78078)

      This man did not make these devices. He did not load the software onto the devices -- they shipped to him that way. He sold devices he imported.

      I am going to use that as a defense. As you did not say you were not a lawyer, I am going to assume you are one.

      So here goes: I did not make these drugs, I did not put the crack in the bags -- they shipped to me that way. I only sold the imported stuff.

      Yep, that will work great. :-D

  • well done america, another dangerous criminal behind bars.

    seriously aren't your jails over flowing with enough non violent criminals. 390,000 amounts to pocket change for the game industry, so much so i'd argue it's petty cash. it should be enough that he has this huge debt to pay, top it off with 15 months community service every weekend (cleaning the freeway verge or some shit)

  • It would nearly be no effective punishment. Now that would be the crime for me :) I mean it would be like you could rob a bank and the worst that happened if you got caught was you had to give the money back, hehe.
    I think the sentence is fair, the financial reward of the crime was removed and the guy deserves some time. I mean this is above and beyond lending your friend a copy of your stuff for "off site backup". He was out to make a profit and doing pirating in large scale.
  • No, it doesn't seem steep. Rather, it seems like a slap on the wrist. Piracy for profit isn't even comparable to what the rest of us do.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:16AM (#24736479) Homepage Journal

    Regardless of the subject of my comment, there is a saying:

    There's no greater flattery than imitation.

    - this can be rephrased like so: There's no greater flattery than copying. Really, it's the same thing. But I guess there is no greater flattery than a payment.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"

Working...