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The Courts Government Entertainment Games News

Game Pirate Sentenced To Jail Time 136

A man charged in a case separate from the much-publicized anti-modder raids last month has been sentenced to ninety days in prison, another nine months of work furlough, and five years of probation. "Police seized over 1,000 pirated game discs during the raid on Brown's home, along with 'numerous' mod chips. Ric Hirsch, Vice-President of Intellectual Property Enforcement at the ESA, said, 'Sentences that include jail time send a clear message that violating intellectual property rights is a serious crime with significant consequences and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.'"
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Game Pirate Sentenced To Jail Time

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  • by glindsey ( 73730 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:48PM (#20731621)
    I hope they cleared a few of those pesky rapists and murderers out of the prisons to make room for the awful, awful crime of INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT!
    • Re:THANK GOODNESS! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:00PM (#20731807)
      I'm sure he'll get put in white-collar prison and not get mixed in with the gangbanging general population. He won't be taking the place of some murderer, but I do get your point about law enforcement and correction institutions' resources probably better served going after crimes with non-corporate victims.

      That said, I sort of wished they threw more of the book at this guy for pirating this stuff. Mod chips have a legitimate use by enabling the owner of hardware to use it in the way they see fit. The homebrew community and those who enjoy the protection that backups provide should hold a zero-tolerance policy to those who would use those tools to enjoy materials for which they didn't pay.

      My guess is that if the homebrew/backup communities weren't all driven underground thanks to the DMCA and corps with large legal budgets, they'd agree.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Loconut1389 ( 455297 )
        IMHO white collar crime should result in fines and possibly house arrest. Real crimes should land you in real prison. I think with as good as home arrest tracking devices are, they could let a lot of the lesser crimes folks out of jail and put them on house arrest with some other kind of punishment since house arrest, while totally a nuisance (on purpose of course) and wearing the bracelet makes sex less fun and all that, it still isn't the same kind of punishment.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          . . .wearing the bracelet makes sex less fun and all that. . .

          I happen to like handcuffs, thank you very much!
        • by IcyNeko ( 891749 )
          I just want to know... why is Rum always gone?
        • Re:THANK GOODNESS! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by eln ( 21727 ) * on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:44PM (#20732515)
          I think it should be dependent on the severity of the crime. A CEO who commits massive fraud that results in the loss of thousands of jobs has committed a serious crime and has adversely affected the lives of thousands of people. Should he really be allowed to serve his time under "house arrest" in his opulent mansion? How is that justice?

          I'm not saying that these types of crimes are best punished by putting these people in with violent criminals, but they should definitely serve time in a real prison. Separate the violent criminals from the non-violent criminals for safety's sake, but other than that the accommodations should be similar across the board.
          • true- i didnt mean to imply a totaly absolute/equal sentencing.
          • I would like to see a form of house arrest that happens at a state run apartment complex. Not a prison, but not a luxury condo either. Clean and furnish minimally, where those that would be living out their sentence in a mansion would be stuck. It would also make it easier to keep tabs as well.

            I often times wonder what the real punishment is when house arrest results in somebody being stuck in a really nice house, especially if this person doesn't normally need to work.
          • The point is that IP theft isn't wrong, it's just illegal. So we shouldn't really punish them, just technically punish them.
    • No Shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cromar ( 1103585 )
      I would love to see some RIAA high priests locked up (even for 90 days). Big media has truly done more to hurt us than any pirates.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        Yep. Sadly justice these days goes not to those who deserve it, but rather those with the best paid lawyers.

        If law enforcement would quit whoring itself to corporations to inflate their statistics with bogus cases like this, and actually took the resources used on this to track down, say, serial killers, rapists etc... The world would be a much better place.

        But apparently Jim Franklin at Scumbag Games wanting a slightly better Porsche is more important than anything with honest to goodness traumatized victi
    • now that we have admitted that digital copying equates to theft it's just a matter of time before the MAFIAAs win
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Im going to kill my use of my mod points. Here goes.

        This whole digital copying thing is a really horrible precedent to set in this country.

        I really want to know why they equate digital copying to theft , we pay for data bits and the electricity to get and send them as well as paying for the service to transport it. This completely ticks me off.

        If the person was selling "back ups" then I am all for having them arrested and they should be sitting in their home with out a internet connection or computer. I see
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Rapists and murderers? C'mon they had to leat those guys out years ago or there never would've been room for the EVIL potheads! We live in a post 911 world! The rules have changes and these poeple are the enemies of America! Money from marijuana sales go to support the 'terrists' it's a fact!
    • Well to the vast majority of people, rape and murder don't require much of a punishment deterrent - they are objectionable crimes simply from a human decency point of view, not just a legal point of view (obviously there still has to be a deterrent for the minority who are fine with raping and murdering).

      Selling/distributing someone elses IP appears to be a victimless crime to a lot of people though, so there is almost no moral deterrent. Thus the legal deterrent has to be large if you want people to be af
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This reminds me of a joke (now in my journal [slashdot.org]).

      There were three guys in prison... two muscular, bearded and looking really badass.

      One of the ruffians asks the other: "So, what did you get prison for?"
      "I killed 10 people - cut their arms and legs with a pocket knife, just for the fun of it. You?"
      The other guy answers: "I caught my wife with another man. Burned the hell outta' them".

      Then they stare at the third guy - a wimpy kid with glasses sitting in a corner. "Hey kid, what ya here for?"

      The kid answers in a
  • Whew (Score:5, Funny)

    by Selfbain ( 624722 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:52PM (#20731685)
    I feel safer now. Nothing scares me more than the thought of walking down the street and having my IP stolen at gunpoint.
    • by dintech ( 998802 )
      Hehe, excellent. It's amazing that we have problems with over-crowded prisons and these are the types of people we decide to put in there. I can see the logic with making him do community work to make up for the losses but jail time? Please. It's hardly going to be useful to society to have him in there.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      that because you don't make a living from IP. for some people, their IP is their salary, their savings and their pension. Now imagine having that stolen from you. still don't care?
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        that because you don't make a living from IP. for some people, their IP is their salary, their savings and their pension.

        I have a friend who's entire living is from "intellectual property", and you could pirate his artwork all day and it wouldn't affect him much financially. Hell, he has artwork that Disney keeps re-using without paying him for (in violation of contract), but the effort required to squeeze money out of Disney is more expensive than the payoff. No, if you're counting on that to be your "savings and pension", you're a complete fucking idiot. The only way to safely handle your retirement and savings is to put c

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )
        As a pirate all I can say is that I would never buy a console and therefor no games if I couldn't copy games on it in the first place, so while I'm enjoying the information there's noone losing money on me.

        I haven't downloaded movies in a long time but if I did I guess someone might lose "some" money because I guess I could occasional had rented one.

        Music are to expensive and worthless to buy, and there are so much free and great music out there (last.fm and scenemusic.eu for two resources.)

        Of course I also
      • Re:Whew (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @05:33PM (#20735897)
        that because you don't make a living from IP. for some people, their IP is their salary, their savings and their pension. Now imagine having that stolen from you. still don't care?

        I make a living from IP, and no I still don't care.

        The average brute who beats his wife and kids probably won't end up in jail for the first several incidents.

        Your average petty thug mugger who confronts people and takes their wallet and watch at knife or gunpoint rarely ends up in jail for more than a few hours, no matter how often they get caught. Despite the threat of violence, the theft of real property, and the substantial emotional distress they cause their victims.

        Your average retail convenience stores are shoplifted from on a daily basis. Real goods, that cost real money, being stolen for real. Every day. When the pricks get caught, how many of THEM end up in jail for more than a few hours? Practically none.

        So why should a guy who makes copies in a nonviolent way, that don't take anything real away from me, and potentially don't usually even mean a lost sale -- what exactly has he done that he should he go to jail when other criminals who do much worse things do not?

        Once we've got a policy of locking up all the brutes, thugs, drug dealers, thieves, and shoplifters then we can look at raising the penalty for crimes like jay-walking and copyright infringement.

        Now, of course, if this guy is at the commericial/industrial scale of infringement, complete with counterfeiting discs, and laundering the money made, then yeah, he's costing his victims and society enough to treated like a serious criminal and deserves jail time.

        But your average schmuck with an ftp server or some such nonsense ... give me a break. I'd rather be funding the police to track down bigger fish than that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 )
          I can provide a even better target for law enforcement, the treo that do by far the most harm to society, the treo that will take the most lives, the treo that will steal the most from consumers, the treo that will steal the most tax payer dollars, the treo who deservedly belong in prison more than anybody else due to the long term and severe harm of their actions. The corrupt corporate executive, the corrupt lobbyist, and the corrupt politician.

          There are thousands of them out there and working together t

        • by Jaeph ( 710098 )
          "Once we've got a policy of locking up all the brutes, thugs, drug dealers, thieves, and shoplifters then we can look at raising the penalty for crimes like jay-walking and copyright infringement."

          Yeah, so don't give me a speeding ticket either until they take care of the more important crimes.

          I really hate stupid arguments. Either laws count, or they don't.

          -Jeff
          • by vux984 ( 928602 )
            Yeah, so don't give me a speeding ticket either until they take care of the more important crimes.

            No. You missed the point. The point isn't the enforcement of laws, its the relative punishment for them.
            If you were thrown in JAIL for sixteen months instead of given a modest fine next time you got a speeding ticket, what would you think of that?

            I really hate stupid arguments. Either laws count, or they don't.

            I really hate people who don't read. I never said copyright infringement shouldn't count, or that we h
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This was a game pirate! Forget having your IP stolen at gunpoint, this man would have sailed up to you, hit you with a couple of cannon broadsides, boarded your ship, then stolen your IP, (possibly at gunpoint -flintlock pistol- but more likely at cutlass- or hook-point,) drink your rum, and then force you to walk the plank.

      Please don't trivialize game piracy by mistakenly thinking it's just a matter of having your IP stolen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If you hold me at gunpoint, IP.
  • Woo! (Score:2, Funny)

    by maihardu ( 1158633 )
    Now they're going to stop intellectual property theft with the threat of jail time! Just like they did with murder, rape, breaking and entering, counterfeiting, and all of those other crimes! I feel safer already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Since prison isn't a deterrent to any crime, let's just stop throwing money there and close them down, right?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Since prison isn't a deterrent to any crime, let's just stop throwing money there and close them down, right?

        Or just do the right thing and execute the criminals with the only exceptions being the ones whose cases are iffy.

        It's funny, isn't it? When a dog is considered a danger to the community we have no problem putting it down. It's an animal after all. However, when a human, another animal which supposedly has the ability to know right from wrong, kills/murders/rapes/whatever, we have no prob

        • My pro-Death Penalty argument is basically the same as your rabid dog argument. Sidestep the moral issue entirely. It's not about whether or not this person deserves to die or be killed, or whether or not we have the moral right to kill him or her, or eye for an aye, or any of that crap. It's simply that they have proven that they are unable to function in society, and so we preserve society by removing them from society.

          Permanently.

          The problem comes in when you understand that the legal system makes mistak
          • Your viewpoint and mine are exactly the same. I'm usually much more harsh when talking about this subject but I thought I'd tone it down this time.

            As you said, it's obvious that people who are constantly being arrested have not learned from their prior experiences. There is no reason we as taxpayers should have to continue to house and feed these people. We do not have the time or resources to keep coddling these people. To use a recent example, a man was pulled over in New Hampshire for drunk driving.
          • My pro-Death Penalty argument is basically the same as your rabid dog argument. Sidestep the moral issue entirely. It's not about whether or not this person deserves to die or be killed, or whether or not we have the moral right to kill him or her, or eye for an aye, or any of that crap. It's simply that they have proven that they are unable to function in society, and so we preserve society by removing them from society.

            Permanently

            You do realize, of course, that this is essentially the same argument t

            • Yup, me wanting a multiple murderer, rapist, child molester, litterbug to die makes me as bad, if not worse, than him. Shame on me. Also, you're quite correct, the death penalty, imprisonment, torture, etc are all used to perpetuate oppressive governments.

              Of course, so are taxes. Schools. Television. Art. Religion. Philosophy. Science.

              Funny how that works. It's almost like those are all tools, and people can use them to do good things, and people can use them to do bad things. And a good society would use t
        • by nuzak ( 959558 )
          > Or just do the right thing and execute the criminals with the only exceptions being the ones whose cases are iffy.

          Yeah, because there's never any iffy cases, especially when it's the state that's angling to put people to death as a matter of its own interest that decides whether a case was iffy or not. Independent judiciary? Don't make me laugh, the judges are usually elected, and even the ones that aren't are selected as idealogues by idealogues.

          Sure I believe some people deserve to die. I just tru
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:02PM (#20731847)
    A ton of policemen who could've done something useful (like finding some people who do actually rob and steal, in the actual sense of the law) for society were kept busy to stick a guy in the can who doesn't affect me or 99% of the population in the slightest.

    And for what? 90 days of jail. Whoo boy. He must be a really tough criminal! I dunno about your country, but 90 days is about what you get when you drive with the subway and refuse to pay the fine. For the third time. After being tried and told that paying the fee of 60 bucks is PROBABLY more interesting for you.

    In other words, the damage this guy did must've been somewhere around 60 bucks. At least we now have found a reliable value for IP.

    • Devil's Advocate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PlatyPaul ( 690601 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:27PM (#20732215) Homepage Journal
      For what it's worth, the police involved were doing their jobs and doing them correctly and efficiently. Sure, you can disagree whether or not IP infringement (in whatever form) should or should not be a crime, but as of right now it is one. A police officer, presented with a crime in plain sight, cannot (and, I would dare to argue, should not) ignore it because they disagree over whether or not it should be a crime.

      Their job is to uphold the law. They did so. There is nothing wrong with that.

      If you're angry, then I seriously suggest that you write your Representative(s) [house.gov] and Senators [senate.gov].
      • It might come to your surprise, but I agree. The officers involved could not act any other way. They have to do what the law dictates, if they didn't, something would be very wrong with the state of the nation.

        What was wrong was that their workforce was diverted to such petty crime while there are other, more serious, crimes being unprosecuted because of a lack of funding.
        • I'm not really in a position to say how "most" police departments are organized. However, it is my understanding that, like any organization, police departments are usually broken down into divisions that each deal with their respective speciality. Such as "the bomb squad", "special weapons and tactical", "narcotics and drug enforcement" and, last but not least, "internet crime". In fact, according to TFA this particular investigation was performed by a division called CATCH (Computer and Technology High-Te
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pla ( 258480 )
            I mostly agree with you, however, one peeve:

            police departments are usually broken down into divisions that each deal with their respective speciality.

            I have no problem with that - I even approve, if it means the police involved in any given specialty might know the difference between, say, art and a bomb.

            I have to disagree, however, that it doesn't mean some crimes get ignored in favor of what they choose to go after. As long as I can look forward to seeing a single spam email in my inbox every morni
          • Oh god I cant believe Im saying this. Parent should be modded up. It sheds a lot of common sense onto this battlefield of arguments.
          • Are you kidding me? Of course the cop on the beat isn't the guy to look into this. But how about sending those people after spammers, scammers and botnet builders? I.e. after the criminals that do affect not only 0.1% but 100% of the internet userbase?

            Personally, I'd say that's where they are better used.
      • by rtechie ( 244489 )
        Ever hear of the phrase "selective enforcement"? What you are talking about is a fantasy. In reality, police quite carefully pick and choose what laws they are going to enforce based largely on what's easy and what makes them look good.

        Are the police constantly writing jaywalking tickets or busting businesses for tax fraud? Both crimes are commited near-constantly everywhere. In fact, most Americans commit multiple felonies every single day. If the police actually enforced ALL the laws the whole population
      • The police in my town, San Francisco, recently concluded a two year investigation on Sex in Strip Joints. Apparently the officers concluded that there is indeed sex going on in strip clubs. They spent many man-hours undercover stuffing notes into thongs and getting BJs in the back. It took two years and probably more than a million dollars to discover this.

        And how is the regular San Franciscan's life affected? Well, I would guess there's more hookers on the street and more Johns driving around because the s
      • Nice bit of idealism there. I approached a police officer a little while ago to ask about some illegally parked cars (in a turning lane no less) that were directly across the street from this officer who was sitting in his car doing nothing. This location also happens to be 1000ft from the police station and the city courthouse. His excuse, which I expected to get, was that "we don't want to loose their business". That is the mentality of the police in my neck of the woods. It isn't this bad throughout all
    • Don't forget he's also sentenced to pay a $100,000 fine. Now where do you think that money is going to go?
      • If it was me, nowhere. I'd stop working and live off wellfare while creating the better MPack trojan on the side.

        Sorry for being blunt, but that's all that comes out of sentences like that. Why should anyone TRY to scrape together 100k bucks? That takes about half a lifetime, unless you're a lawyer or rich by default. Working a lifetime for those leeches? Just to prolong their existance?

        Most likely, I'd take my last few cents, buy me a good arsenal of automatic weapons and find their headquarters. Go out wi
    • And for what? 90 days of jail. Whoo boy.

      If the Feds had made the bust he would be serving far more time on the felony charge. The Feds are more than willing to play host to the Geek who thinks that jail is for others but never for him.

  • should not serve jail time. Also, I have no comprehension of why owning mod chips should be illegal.

    That said, he did break the law when he pirated games, and it is entirely just that he should be brought up on charges. However, the punishment should fit the crime.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      He didn't go to jail for owning mod chips, or having "over 1,000 pirated game discs" in his house. If you RTFA, you'll see he pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeit trafficking. That's right, he was selling mod chips.

      No one ever goes to jail for just having pirated materials (regardless of the law against it in some countries). The only people who get in trouble are people selling/distributing it.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        That's right, he was selling mod chips.

        Not mod chips! Oh no!
      • >If you're going to pirate, don't do it for profit. I can't support piracy for profit, sorry.

        Is anyone else picturing Blackbeard and Captain Hook standing in line at the IRS with their 501(c) [wikipedia.org] forms in hand, discussing their tax exempt status?

        "Arrrr, we be a powerful Recreational Club we be!"
        - "Avast ye lowly deckswabber, we make a fine Fraternal Beneficiary Society we do!"
        "So it be a life of Charitable Givin' for ye?"
        - "Aye! Donate me hearties, Yo ho!"
        "Well blimey, if I don't stuff that in me ca
      • by bit01 ( 644603 )

        ... counterfeit trafficking. That's right, he was selling mod chips. ...

        "counterfeit trafficking" is not "selling mod chips". You're being dishonest pretending it is.

        ---

        DRM'ed content breaks the copyright bargain, the first sale doctrine and fair use provisions. It should not be possible to copyright DRM'ed content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malkavian ( 9512 )
      I get the sneaky suspicion that he wouldn't have been raided, and hauled up if he hadn't been selling the pirated games.
      Personally, I pay for all the games and stuff I have, but I'm indifferent to people using copies. Where I do draw the line is commercial infringement. I actively dislike the making of money from an infringement setup. For that, I think 90 days is fair. It's not throwing the book at him and making him out to be the root of all evil, and up there with the terrorists.. It's saying "You'v
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )
      That said, he did break the law when he pirated games

      And that is most likely also what the verdict is about. Notice how the modchips are mentioned, but nowhere that it's illegal to have, store, own or sell them?

      However, the punishment should fit the crime.

      Personally, I'd say that's about achived. He had "over 1000 Pirated Games" and got 90 days. Now, in many legal systems you'll find a system that trades "daily earnings" against a day in jail (provided you cannot pay or refuse to pay). I.e. 90 days jail is
    • non violent criminals should not serve jail time

      and when it is your house that has beem stripped, or your identity stolen, what then?

  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew@@@thekerrs...ca> on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:03PM (#20731871) Homepage
    By the sounds of it:

    Brown was facing 10 counts of felony offenses, including grand theft, computer crime and trafficking in counterfeit products. In August, Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeit trafficking and today received a one-year sentence, the first 90 days to be spent in prison and the rest in work furlough. He was also given five years probation and a fine of $100,000, and will be required to pay $10,000 in restitution to the ESA.

    Which sounds to me like its for selling pirated copies of games. I don't see an issue here. Don't sell copies of games, and you've got a lot less (or maybe nothing at all) to worry about.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      That's fair enough - selling them is pretty retarded, and does elevate a usually-civil offense to a criminal one. Jail time, though, seems even more retarded.
      • Jail time is an actual deterrent for white-collar crimes. If they don't get it, then it becomes a business decision - can I get away with making more money than the fine will be?
        • by dave420 ( 699308 )
          What about for repeat offenses? Get caught once, a slap on the wrist and some community service? Try it on again and then you go to the big house? That seems a bit fairer.
  • The people in charge (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Atrox666 ( 957601 )
    The people doing this don't give a rat's ass what your opinion is.
    The only way to make them stop is to insist with all force necessary.
    If you're not willing to get your hands dirty to stand up to this scum then no one HAS to care what you think..so why bother shaking your little fist and writing scathing condemnations?

    Cut word lines
    Cut music lines
    Smash the control images
    Smash the control machine.
      - William S. Burroughs
  • Clarification (Score:3, Informative)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:13PM (#20732013) Journal

    Brown was facing 10 counts of felony offenses, including grand theft, computer crime and trafficking in counterfeit products. In August, Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeit trafficking and today received a one-year sentence, the first 90 days to be spent in prison and the rest in work furlough.


    It's important to note that he was a "mod chip seller," not a normal Joe who downloads pirated games and then plays them on his modded consoles. The grand theft charge was dropped in the plea, of course.

    U.S. law makes copyright violation a crime -- for the distributor. It has yet to pass laws against the distributee. And won't, otherwise you could be prosecuted for buying a plagiarized book at the bookstore.
    • Selling != Fair use and this shows that well. It's one thing to make backups of your games to run on a modded box, it's a whole other to sell them later on.
    • When mod chips are outlawed, only outlaws will have mod chips?

      More seriously, I doubt that the mod chip market is lucrative enough to entice sellers to risk serious legal troubles to sell the things, so let's hope this is just a token arrest. It does sound like it was more for the actual piracy of the games than the mod chips, thouh.
    • Mod chips are not copyrighted content (their design is, but I'm pretty sure these people weren't violating that copyright). Mod chips are anti-circumvention devices.

      "Grand theft" would never have stuck. Grand theft refers to tangible items. What did he actually steal? Nor "computer crime," given that the offense itself didn't involve the use of a computer. "Trafficking in counterfeit products" would be selling copies of pirated items, but not the selling of the mod chip itself.

      Unless this guy was selling th
  • Absurd! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:21PM (#20732127) Homepage Journal

    violating intellectual property rights is a serious crime with significant consequences and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    Murder is a serious crime. Rape, assault, illegal weapons possession, robbery, car jacking, drunken driving,those are SERIOUS crimes. Intellectual property theft especially on the scale that this guy was doing, is a financial crime. You don't lock him up for 90 days, you assess him a huge ass fine and hold his house as collateral. WTF are we burdening an already overloaded prison system with crap like this. Yeah, the guy broke the law. Pay your fine, play nice, 5 years probation, story ends.

    -Rick
    • Re:Absurd! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SplatMan_DK ( 1035528 ) * on Monday September 24, 2007 @02:19PM (#20733131) Homepage Journal

      Murder is a serious crime. Rape, assault, illegal weapons possession, robbery, car jacking, drunken driving,those are SERIOUS crimes. Intellectual property theft especially on the scale that this guy was doing, is a financial crime.
      Actually, some would consider "financial crime" a very dangerous kind of crime.

      Why?

      Because "financial crime" undermines society itself. Look around you. The whole world is depending on the monetary system to work. And it only works as long as we - the users - trust that system. As such, "financial crime" is extremely dangerous for society because it destroys one of the most important foundations we depend on: money!

      The most serious "financial crime" is counterfeiting money. It is punished extremely hard, because such activity is a serious threat to society. If we can't trust money, the world will stop functioning. Like... really! stop functioning!

      The second-worst "financial crime" is forgery of documents where money is involved. The reasons are exactly the same as above. If you forge a check/document/contract in order to acquire someone else's money, that activity is a threat to an important foundation in society.

      We can continue to describe the many different grades and shades of "financial crimes", but if you think about the logic behind it, it kinda makes sense. The reasons for having harsh punishments for such crimes are all similar: It is a kind of crime which is very destructive for society as a whole.

      I am not saying that software piracy is as bad as rape. Nor am I saying that I agree with the course of action in this particular case. I am simply trying to explain the logic. Some laws are made to protect the individual, other laws are made to protect society as a whole. Are the former more important than the latter? Is there any reason to protect the individual, while society falls apart?

      That is the reason for harsh punishment of "financial crimes". You don't have to agree with these reasons - but I hope you will at least give it some thought.

      :-)

      - Jesper
      • by bit01 ( 644603 )

        The reasons for having harsh punishments for such crimes are all similar: It is a kind of crime which is very destructive for society as a whole.

        No it isn't. It's destructive to those who have lots of money.

        And your implied claim that illegal copying is very destructive for society as a whole is silly. If anything it's the reverse, with illegal copying being a great boon to society at large, creating enormous value for billions of people.

        Very unlike financial fraud where a small group of people bene

        • No it isn't. It's destructive to those who have lots of money.

          I am not a rich guy. But I assure you, not having money would be very destructive for me and my family. I would not be able to acquire food for my 2 year old daughter without money. Or pay my rent. Or my electrical bill. Or my gas and water supplier.

          On the other hand, nobody would want to deliver me any gas, water, electricity or food if they weren't paid to do so. Most of the employees at these companies would probably stop working the instant they realized they would never receive a paycheck for their

          • by bit01 ( 644603 )

            I phrased it badly. Your post implied that all financial crimes, including those associated with copyright violation, are very bad, and all should attract large penalties. I was arguing that it's more complicated than that; like at the moment where we have large scale unlicensed copying going on while still having a high degree of confidence in the money supply and only certain wealthy individuals threatened.

            To put it another way; the total amount of money in circulation is rather large. To significantly

            • Now we are getting somewhere. :-)

              I was arguing that it's more complicated than that; like at the moment where we have large scale unlicensed copying going on while still having a high degree of confidence in the money supply and only certain wealthy individuals threatened.

              fair enough. I understand that argument - though I do not entirely agree.

              To significantly compromise confidence in that money supply a significant fraction of it has to be threatened. Small scale financial crimes don't fit that definition and so shouldn't attract significant penalties.

              Here is where we disagree.
              If someone I know gets away with plain old-fashioned counterfeit and never gets punished for it, my faith in the monetary system will degrade. Even if he only counterfeited a small amound, lets say 1000 USD. By comparison these 1000 USD are no threat to the monetary system. The threat is the perception that it is acceptable to counterfeit money, or the perception that one c

              • by bit01 ( 644603 )

                Sorry to be harsh, but I'm not going to bother replying. Your post is a incoherent mess, full of half-truths, truthiness [wikipedia.org] and fill. Pretty much every sentence in it is either factually incorrect, an arbitrary assumption, logically inconsistent or not responding to the points they purport to respond to. I'd suggest you learn about logical fallacies [nizkor.org] and logical argument [wikipedia.org] in general. Ideally, learn about the scientific method [rochester.edu] also.

                ---

                Like software, intellectual property law is a product of the mind, and can

                • Sorry to be harsh, but I'm not going to bother replying.

                  What a great way to kill a debate.

                  Your post is a incoherent mess, full of half-truths, truthiness and fill.

                  That is an easy statement for you, since you decline to elaborate which portions you consider to be "half-truths". Gosh, it almost sounds like Microsoft yelling about the Linux community violating patents ... which they refuse to identify. Wow. Your trustworthiness is much higher than mine, I can certainly see that. Thank you for the lecture. You sir, are a real inspiration for other people.

                  A debate is all about sharing knowledge and views. If you disagree with me, fine

      • On my way into work this morning I heard a news story that reminded me of your post. A woman in Wisconsin has been convicted of fraud, forgery, and embezzlement, to the tune of over $400,000.00. I was trying to find a link to the story on a local news site, but I haven't had much luck, sorry. If I remember correctly, she got 30 days in a minimum security facility, a monetary fine (I can't remember how much) and probation after that. As opposed to this kid who's damages probably wouldn't amount to even $40,
    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      [...] illegal weapons possession [...]

      Really now, I'd agree with "illegal weapons usage", but possession? That reminds of prohibition laws...

      • by RingDev ( 879105 )
        Ohh, don't get me wrong. I'm a firm believer in the 2nd amendment. I have no problem with legal guns. But there are a lot of gun crimes in the US, and the vast majority of those are not performed with legally owned guns. So the more you can inspire people to keep their guns safe, and the more limitations and pressure you can put on the illegal gun market, the safer the streets will become.

        At least until Bush unveils his plan for the new Unitarian Republic of America, at which point the streets will most lik
  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:32PM (#20732273) Homepage
    If you're going to pirate, don't do it for profit. I can't support piracy for profit, sorry.
    • in the 'old' days, it was difficult to get in trouble if you were not benefiting from the piracy you were engaged in. Big content providers and Developers/Publishers HATED this, so they yelled about it until the legislative branch heard it and now it doesn't matter if you make money or not.

      while some people won't see a difference between making money off of this and being a Robin Hood type, I think the punishment should match the crime - making money should get you in more trouble. Believe it or not, the
  • over 1,000 pirated game discs
    I wonder if there actually were 1,000 discs, or if the ESA is making up similar statistics like the RIAA did.. Maybe it was only 77 dual layer DVD discs, not 1,000 650MB CD's. That would be fun all over again.

    Actually, that was a pointless rambling.. I sincerely doubt the ESA would do something so laughably foul.

    • Brown was facing 10 counts of felony offenses, including grand theft, computer crime and trafficking in counterfeit products. In August, Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeit trafficking and today received a one-year sentence, the first 90 days to be spent in prison and the rest in work furlough.

      If he was making these copies to SELL, then yeah, I could imagine over 1,000 CDs. At $5~10 USD each (average street vendor price), that adds up to some serious cash fast, especially if you can start run

  • Unbelievable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CXI ( 46706 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:36PM (#20732349) Homepage
    The comments (so far) on this story are unbelievable. If you don't want to buy the game, then don't buy it. If you don't want to pay for the game but you steal it to play it anyway (or sell/distribute it illegally), then suck up the consequences.

    Real, actual, non-fictional people's salaries are based on the fact that if people play these games (or music, or movies) then they will pay for them. If you don't like the way the market works due to levels of compensation, etc. then feel free to get your media from those that offer it freely or at a rate you agree with and who base their economic plans on that fact.

    However if it's a commercial product and you steal it, then go to jail and shut up. You broke the law. Quit whining, quit the straw man style "rapists and murderers" blathering and learn something for a change. If you advocate open source and freely available media, quit giving our community a black eye by encouraging theft and cheering on pirates. If the new media model is going to work, it will work by being a better model, not by undermining the current system we have. Undermining rather than supplanting only encourages harsher laws and more intense DRM which will make the transition harder to accomplish in the end. Like I said, unbelievable.
    • um, most of the comments about 'rapists and murders' are comparing the sentencing, not the actual crime so it's not really a straw man argument.

      This guy had a lot of illegal copies of software which he definitely should be punished for but he got raided because he was modding hardware - the software copies they found were extra icing. SHould this guy have gotton 90 days in prision for modding the hardware only? No, but he would have and that's wrong because modding and piracy are not mutually exclusive...
    • "If you don't want to pay for the game but you steal it to play it anyway (or sell/distribute it illegally), then suck up the consequences."

      Playing a game and NOT PAYING FOR IT is no different then NOT BUYING IT. The logic here is just brutally stupid. I pay for games I deem worthy of my money. Everything else who's quality isn't up to snuff gets doesn't deserve my money.
  • Sentences that include jail time send a clear message that violating intellectual property rights is a serious crime with significant consequences and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    Sure it will! To the 20% of pirates who speak English [softwarebu...online.com], anyways.
  • > Police seized over 1,000 pirated game discs during the raid on Brown's home, along with 'numerous' mod chips

    Hmmmm. You mean he wasn't doing it just for the intellectual challenge of legally reverse-engineering it to understand it?

    Marge Simpson: Now I've heard everything!
  • but (Score:2, Funny)

    by Pasajero ( 164368 )
    I don't know you, but the paranoid in me likes to make 25 backup copies of each game I own, just in case...
    • by obarel ( 670863 )
      ... and sell them for safe-keeping.
      • by freakmn ( 712872 )
        I prefer to call it asking others to help with off-site backups, which are periodically tested for quality. In exchange, I offer a banking service, where I hold onto some money for them, until we terminate our agreement. It's so friendly and utopian.
  • Mod Chips? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @03:30PM (#20734213) Journal

    OK, I suppose I'm a little behind the times and I apologize for that. I also don't wish to start a flame-war here and I do believe that some people have pretty heated opinions about this.

    There are mod chips for my Prius. [xanga.com] There are performance mod chips for lots of cars [speedydelivery.co.uk]. While they may invalidate an owner's warranty (in some cases) one has purchased the car and is willing to install it and take a chance that maybe, perhaps, they either won't pass their vehicle emissions inspection or they may wear the car out a little sooner.

    So why is it illegal to make or sell a mod chip to make a game console work differently? If it invalidates one's warranty, well that's the chance you take--you cannot take the console back and get warranty service on it.

    I cannot see or understand a law that would prevent you from doing a mod on your PSP or X-Box. After all, you bought it; if you mod it it's yours so who cares?

    • Exactly. For just about every sector of commerce, people understand that your hardware property is YOUR property. Your Prius is YOURS, not Toyota's, and you can do what you see fit with that hardware.

      Yet, for video games, music, and movies, the DMCA gives that industry the unique ability to call your modification of the hardware a CRIME because it bypasses copy protection. Being able to play backups and imports is basically the result of sidestepping copy protection.

      But, you know, since I want to play a Jap
  • by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @04:40PM (#20735225) Journal
    To those who are "flying the Jolly Roger," RTFA guys:

    [He] was arrested in June for selling pirated games and mod chips over Craigslist and other online sites (emph. added)
    That was criminal copyright violation ("infringement for personal gain") long before the DMCA ever defaced the law books. He had a 1000 CD's ready to sell, and a stock of circumvention kits to go with it to enable his business.

    He was a counterfeiter. He should be thrown in jail with the rest of the drug dealers, prostitutes, con men and other smalltime ne'er-do-wells until he sobers up. This kind of thing must be pursued and stopped for the health of the industry, and the rule of law in general.

    This is going after the dealers instead of going after the junkies, and it's the right way to go. I applaud the San Diego police (and prosecutors) for going after folks are causing true harm.

    On the other hand, the punitive fine ($100,000 - ten times the awarded damages of $10,000) seemed absurdly steep. Without knowing the man's means, it's hard to believe that this was a fair judgment. It's a warning sign when the jail time and the punitive fines are so completely incongruous.

    --
    Toro
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      The reason the punitive fine is steep is because its so freagin hard and rare to catch people like this, so the only real way to work it out is to send a "message" by being rough on the punishment, hoping that you'll stop others in the process when they learn about it (which is debatable, but its the rational behind such judgements).

      Though it does make sense. Copyright violations are a bit like underage drinking, especially for stuff like games. It has very very high peer approval, so people don't "feel" wr
      • by Torodung ( 31985 )
        I don't think an absurdly steep punitive fine applied to a counterfeiter is going to have much effect on the P2P crowd either, but thanks for the clarification. I hadn't seen it as a deterrence action.

        --
        Toro

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