back to article Warez land man 30 months in prison

An Illinois man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his part in an organized online software distribution conspiracy, the US Department of Justice announced late last week. That's warez, if you don't prefer the grandiose. After serving his time, El will get an additional three years of supervision by District Judge Ellen …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    way to go "justice"

    thank (whoever) they made sure to show people that taking profit from megacorps is MUCH worse than hurting normal people. PROFITS OVER LIFE ANYDAY go USA!!111onehuhwutnascar

  2. Alan Donaly

    Finally we got "the" pirate

    This guy must be the juarez king he must be one

    of the most guilty of all copyrighted materials

    thieves, a despicable desperado of warez. This

    is just plain funny at this rate your chances of

    being caught doing this are just about nil before

    you die from a sedentary lifestyle anyway. What

    were their qualifications for the arrest no friends

    or family not enough money for a lawyer what?

  3. Chris

    Yeah, sure

    So the Assistant AG says this guy has "participated in the distribution of approximately 20,000 copyright works over the internet, including video games, DVDs and music", and yet they agreed to let him plea to ONE count of CONSPIRACY to commit criminal copyright infringement. If they had the goods, they wouldn't have settled for so little.

    And that part about the FTP sites is pure BS. Every one of us has access to a number of FTP sites where we are "authorized" to upload "pirated" software. Every FTP site that allows anonymous uploading has "authorized" us to upload "pirated" software. I'm not saying this guy is clean, but there's a differences between having "access" or "authority" to do something and actually doing it.

    What I don't understand is why violent criminals (murder, rape, assault, etc) get less time than non-violent criminals. Is it because of the money? Our judicial system values corporations' money more than human lives?

    I also like how, in this case, they treat all "copyright works" the same. As if distributing a $50 video game is the same as distributing a $20 DVD, is the same as distributing one song off of a $15 CD (and that one song would sell for $0.99 on iTunes). Given the quantity quoted, and the lack of any dollar figures, I think it's same to assume that the alleged copyrighted works were mostly music files, which would come out to about 1,334 CDs if that 20,000 figure is accurate. But then again, what is meant by "participated in the distribution"? That he had access to it? That he was actively distributing it? That he provided it?

    This is just a ploy to make the DoJ look good to the U.S. corporations, to show that they're protecting their interests. Now if only they would do the same for the people they're supposed to serve...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wont stop people doing it.

    for every person that gets sent to prison, another 50 will be willing to fill his shoes in the warez circle.

  5. Andrew

    re: wont stop people doing it

    Another 50? Surely that is a rather conservative estimate!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eli El?


  7. Dave

    Is this...

    the same old DRM story with a difference face..?

  8. M

    "The Ether Net"


    Ethernet is a Warez thing???

    Oh %("%&*(%*()*** I'm running big networks of Ethernet..... I am in _SO_ much trouble the DoJ is gonna come and eated my cookie if I aint careful... I got millions of Ethernets... tehe




  9. Steven Foster

    Go USA!

    You show those Evil Pirates!

    They're doing far more damage than...say...Apple & Sony.

    Toss em in the slammer. Lock the door and throw away the key! Yeah!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "The Ether Net"

    I always knew my decision to stick with my trusty token ring would save my ass from the RIAA one day.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a sec

    Having read the first few comments, I had to go back to the article to re-read it because I thought I must have got it wrong.

    This guy is responsible for distributing music, DVDs and video games many of which weren't actually available to the general public at the time of distribution. Yet the early posters seem to think that he is some sort of robin hood character being persecuted by The Man. What the hell is wrong with you people? He has clarly broken the law, certainly been intimately involved with people who have stolen (and not just in the sense of copyright infringement) and distributed data that doesn't belong to him/them. This isn't just someone who got a dodgy copy of Windows of a mate.

    The access to FTP sites is probably little to do with the case (as pointed out we can all have have access to most of these sites) being a prolific uploader is though.

    Having said that the punishment seems rather harsh, but this is an American court so nothing new there then.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No nobody said anything about this guy being robinhood it's that he's nobody he's a shmuck I know ten people off the top of my head (everybody I know) who do more of this than this guy and they aren't serious about it. They (whoever bothers to bust guys like this) need to face facts they lost the war a loong time ago and doing this just makes them look more incompetent, small membered, and deluded.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ @Fraser

    I know people who have been involved in Warez they weren't in it for money and because of that they thought it was just a harmless bit of fun, a competition to outwit the other warez guys and the software companies and get free cool software (that usually they just installed and never used). It is a whole lot more serious than that.

    I have to mention that the article is unclear as to how the 20000 number was reached (was that 20000 uploads, uniquite bits of copyritght material or downloads?) but the fact that at least some of it was material that hadn't been released to the public puts it in a whole different light. This means that some sort of theft, hacking or industrial espionage was involved. The fact that there was one charge is odd, but the fact that the book was apparently thrown at him, in I think a rather unduely harsh manner, probably suggests that he was up to his neck in it. More info in the story would be nice. Sensible sentancing from the American "Justice" system would also be nice.

    With regard to him being a schmuck and/or a nobody within the warez community as you seem to suggest: Ignorance and/or social status within a clique doesn't go down well in court as a plea.

  14. A. Merkin

    128 Naughty-Bit Encryption

    Citizens; we need to take action to get equal justice for *real* crimes. Let's all post EULAs and copyright notices on our cars, homes and knickers to ensure the maximum criminal pentalties under the law.

    (D)isclosures (M)ake (C)riminals (A)ccountable

  15. Chris Totten

    They lost

    Back when DVDs were first coming out and the MPAA was freaking out about possible copyright infringement, an hacker was quoted as saying "For every one of you there are 16 million of us. Who do you think is gonna win?"

    In the same article, a software developer was quoted as telling the MPAA "Get over it."

    It would seem they didn't listen...

  16. steve lampros

    @ @ Fraser

    "small membered"

    man, that's a low blow.

  17. James Butler

    It's Not That Bad

    2.5 years in prison and 3 years of probation? That's way below the sentencing guidelines for violent crimes, for those of you unfamiliar with US law. The reality is, he'll probably do less than 6 months in the slammer due to prison overcrowding.

    Also, copyright violations of this type are supposed to be punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for EACH violation. So you don't need to worry about this guy. He got off quite lightly.

    Plea agreements (which led to the reduced charges) can happen for any number of reasons, but very few of them are the result of the prosecution having too little evidence. They undoubtedly seized his computer(s) for evidence, and it is not a question that some basic forensics easily determined the extent of his crimes.

    A typical plea agreement is the result of one of two things: (1) the defendant agrees to rat out his co-conspirators in exchange for a lesser sentence, or (2) the length of time it would take to convict a person in a jury trial outweighs the potential benefit to the community.

    Jury trials involving computer forensics tend to take a long time and they are very costly for the State to prosecute. There was no way they were gonna get $500k out of him to pay for the experts and other personnel they would have needed. In this guy's case, he probably turned over whatever he knew about the people who were running the FTP distro centers, and was rewarded.

    Re: Unfair sentencing ... what about Nicole Richie? Driving the wrong way on a Los Angeles freeway (!) while under the influence of pot, booze and cocaine, some of which was found in her car. She spent a total of 82 MINUTES in the LA County Jail ... not even long enough to get into her cell. Seems to me the guy in this story got a lot worse than that, and was/is less of a danger to society.

    Hell ... the JURORS in the Richie case sacrificed more than she did! It actually cost them their own money ($10/day doesn't quite match a normal income, around here ... and employers aren't required to contribute.)

    Discuss THAT inconsistency amongst yourselves.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It's Not That Bad

    I guess the UK readers are comparing British law where a planned GBH with a weapon causing a serious lasting injury is required to get you 30 months.

    Obviously we couldn't have lengthy sentences for that kind of thing in Britain or the police would never be out of jail.

    BTW Fraser, I couldn't agree with you more.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "but the fact that at least some of it was material that hadn't been released to the public puts it in a whole different light."

    Depends how you define 'released to the public', I would hardly call currying scene release movies 'industrial espionage'.

  20. Mark O

    RE: Hang on a sec

    It is all well and good to argue that the law has been broken.

    The problem I have with this story is that ANY amount of law enforcement resources are being used to persue this man, when we all know damned well that if one of us is mugged in the street then the chances of a conviction (let alone a 30 month prison term) are practically zero.

    Protecting corporate profits should not be the priority of law enforcement agencies, at least not while there are real crimes being commited against people all the time.

  21. Tom

    hadn't been released to the public puts it in a whole different light

    So he used torrent to downloaded some crappy movie video taped at a sneak peek, oh no the world as we know it will end! Maybe he uploaded it to a Warz FTP site too.

    I don't see anything about him hacking into ID and stealing a copy of Doom 4, or that he originated any of the "unreleased" stuff. It sounds like your standard warz kiddy stuff to me.

    Now if they want to go after the people run and spam sites like...

    "Download cheap softwares in a matter of seconds

    adobe suite 3 premium US $ 269.90 save: $1529.10"

    But that would be too much like work, go for the low hanging fruit.

  22. Was4Fun


    DRM seems to be working, purhaps they could add it to bullets and help stop illegal arms.

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