back to article Movie pirate forced to ditch Linux

A BitTorrent admin convicted of uploading movie files is being forced to ditch Linux if he wants to use his PC. Scott McCausland (AKA sk0t), the ex-admin of the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker, was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith just …


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  1. c

    Won't it run under Wine?

    Seems like the obvious solution.

  2. Andy Hawes


    ....Obviously does not run it then =)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The solution


  4. Colin Guthrie

    Why is this in software?

    I don't see why this isn't some kind of hardware monitoring system that just plugs inline to connection? e.g. some specialist router or ADSL modem? Wouldn't be that hard and would be OS independent. Not that it wouldn't be too hard to route web traffic through an SSH connection etc.

    And if the user wants to use Ubuntu, why doesn't he just install VMWare and run his 'nux install through that. Windows would only be a shell round about it. Admittedly taking up half his system resources..... He'd still have to buy Windows itself but then until recently most PCs came with it whether you wanted it or not, so he may very well have a copy lying around anyway. And if not then he can always get a copy from bittorrent..... oh wait. Probably not a clever move.....

  5. Lyndon Hills

    Dual Boot?

    Okay, it won't do a lot for his uptime figures, but needs must.

  6. CharleyBoy


    Surely they are only "monitoring" his online activities?

    If so, he can stay offline with his pet ubuntu, or install windows - assuming he can afford it - and use that for his online whatever.

    As for him having, " served his time". Well, no he hasn't. He's served half his time - the bit inside. So, if he does not like the terms I suggest he go back inside and use the facilities there. If he doesn't like it he should not have committed the crime.

  7. umacf24


    Sweet One: Wow -- fines payable to Microsoft, these days

    Sweet Two: A half bright judge obviously heard that Linux is for hackers and thinks it'll make a difference. Cygwin, anyone?

  8. Gleb

    The Ultimate Punishment

    But in all honesty, how impossible would it be to disable a the monitoring software? Also, what happend to privacy? I'd love to know what the software was actually monitoring...

  9. Simon Booth

    The FSF should have fun with this

    I'd think that that champions of free software, the Foundation for Software Freedom should get involved with this.

    Although what skOt did was illegal it's surely similarly illegal to force someone to use a piece of software (windows) against their will?

    A very good analogy is to be found on torrentfreak - you got caught speeding so we're gonna force you to have a speed monitoring system installed. Thing is that it won't work in your cheap car, our system is only compatible with a chevvy so you have to buy a chevvy or not drive.

    Looks like that insanity rules in 'the land of the free'

  10. Steve Ousley


    How about just installing his beloved ubuntu under vmware? Set it up with bridged networking so it appears to come from the host machine, load windows and the monitoring software, then load ubuntu in the virtual machine.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He's on probation as part of a plea agreement. They're not forcing him to use Windows; the alternative to meeting the conditions of his probation would be to go back to jail and serve the standard term for the crime he was convicted of.

    Yes the criminal penalties for piracy are overblown. So are the criminal penalties for a lot of other things, the difference being most of the people who are convicted of those things don't have the support of a bunch of whiny internet users convinced that broken copyright laws are the biggest social injustice going.

  12. Craig Leeds

    Battle Royale

    Monitoring bracelet? wtf?

    Will it work like a Battle Royale neck bracelet?

    "ubuntu detected" "bleep bleep bleep" BOOM!

  13. Daniel Voyce

    Haha truely screwed!

    So funny, but I do feel for the guy.

    Reckon their software would run under wine? haha

  14. Nick

    Ohh Harsh...

    Ohh punishing a 'nix fanboy to use Windows? Any idea's if its going to be Vista? Sounds like the 21st century version of water torture to me.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >"... the two felonies that they gave me,"

    surely he acquired his own felonies?

  16. Tim Croydon

    VMWare... free. Buy cheapest copy of Windows XP you can get and run your favourite Linux flavour in VMWare or similar. Problem solved.

  17. Iain Porter

    Sorry, what?

    "...was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith..."

    Five months in prison for sharing a film... Not that there's anything inherently broken about copyright law or anything.

  18. this

    Poor Blighter

    Cruel and unusual punishment indeed. But, how's he going to pay for an 'attorney' then?

  19. Ralphe Neill


    Clearly, the authorities understand that Windoze is a punishment!

  20. Stan Smith


    "while I a currently unemployed and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me"

    Uh, dude, you COMMITTED those two felonies; they weren't a gift from on-high.

    At least running Windows will let him buy a few decent games to play during his "time off"...

  21. Ru


    By way of punishment, he is required to purchase products from Microsoft? That's a rather nifty way of gaining new customers.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cruel and Unusual

    Doesn't the Geneva Convention on Human Right outlaw the use of "cruel and unusual" forms of punishment?

  23. John Ridley

    Fixed the quote for him:

    relatively unemployable with the two felonies that t/h/e/y/ /g/a/v/e/ /m/e/ I COMMITTED.

  24. xjy

    Cruel and unusual punishment

    Well, not so unusual perhaps, but definitely cruel.

    I'm still seething more than five years after being forced to change to Windoze from my Mac for daily work because of dongling constraints and new workplace corporate straitjacketing.

    Soon getting a new Mac with Intel though, so part the home part of the work problem will be solved.

    I feel so sorry for this guy - it's like a supporter of a heliocentric solar system around 1600 being burnt at the stake.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five months....

    Perhaps the severity of the sentence was related to the pain inflicted on others.

    If he'd shared "The Phantom Menace" he might've got 10 years.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ ClammyLammy

    You beat me to it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet connection sharing?

    Just a thought, but if they need to monitor the computer he is accessing the internet with then surely he just needs a second computer which he is accessing that computer with and telling it what to do on the internet.

    It fits the terms...

  28. Jason Hall


    Sorry ClammyLammy - but the good 'ol USA ignores the Geneva Convention nowadays.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it fair?

    Decide for yourself:

    "Scott McCausland [...] was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"

    "Nicole [...] Richie was nabbed last December driving the wrong way down a motorway. She subsequently coughed to a "driving under the influence of drink and drugs" rap, and was sentenced to four days' jail."

    The mind boggles. Clearly either:

    1. the cost of risk to life is less that the cost of risk to profit; or

    2. justice really does favour the rich.

    Either way it hardly seems fair to me.

  30. Glyn Heatley


    ".... I a currently unemployed and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me," McCausland told TorrentFreak.

    "I think that this whole situation is just one more way that they can impose their will onto me. I have contacted my attorney, and we are going to fight this," he added.

    Is it just me or is anyone else wondering how an "unemployed and relatively unemployable" bloke can afford a lawyer for this type of action? If it was a criminal defence case then he could get a public defender, but this is some sort of counter action, not defence. Like everyone else said, install your favourite virtual platform, run Ubummedtoo and shut up.

  31. Andy S

    a little insecure relying on software isn't it?

    Whats to stop this guy from buying a new hard drive and swapping it out as soon as the techs have installed the monitor and left his home? Surely unless it requires the pc to be on 24/7 it won't be able to tell the difference between the pc being off, and the pc being on with the monitoring software sat on an unused drive? Even regular (surprise) inspections could be handled with a little forethought (knock at door, switch off pc, open panel, swap cable to other drive, close panel, answer door) 20-30 seconds at most if set up right.

    Whenever the original drive is put back in, the windows installation won't be able to tell that the hardware has been used without it, vmware or a dual boot would leave traces that an inspection or the monitoring software might see. (your windows partition going from 300GB to 10GB might raise a few eyebrows)

    The only thing i could see working against that, is if some sort of hardware monitor has been installed. Can't imagine anyone creating linux drivers for something like that though, considering most networking companies can't even be bothered with wireless drivers.

  32. A. Merkin

    Whine EMUlation

    A Wine/Whine SituAtIon... with the user acting as an observer of himself, in turn observed by the AuthorITive EntitIEs. NOW a quantum connundrum; attempt to observe crImE without freeDOME.

    FOSS has become WUSS, with FOrced WinDOW Vendor LOCK-IN for locked-in users.

    Hence, the solution is open source emulated in closed source, ruSSian d011 style, a vIPer in the garden of GATES.

    WINDOWS UBER ALLES - let freeDOME ring!

    (SETI gr33tz to AMFM; peace-out!)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems quite reasonable to me.

    If iPlayer users have to use Windows, I'm not going to lose any sleep over a criminal having to do the same..

  34. kain preacher

    drunk driving

    "Nicole [...] Richie was nabbed last December driving the wrong way down a motorway. She subsequently coughed to a "driving under the influence of drink and drugs" rap, and was sentenced to four days' jail."

    you think she got of cause she is rich ?? truth is its takes a 3 duis to get six months in jail.

    whats does that say??? wecarte more about protectingprofit then lifesr

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    While I'd agree that the punishment overall is a bit harsh--unless this isn't his first offense, I suppose he's lucky they let him use a computer unsupervised at all... Look at how Mitnick got shafted as part of the terms of his release. Surely it would be easier to just give him a fixed IP and monitor the traffic there, instead of some kindergarten-grade monitoring software that likely would be fairly easy to circumvent. And what does it do, throw an alarm if he launches bittorrent? Or is there some poor fool that did committed a worse crime than he did, and has to examine every packet transferred from his PC... Onion routing anyone?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    convicted felon gets sentenced to having to pay a convicted monopolist.

    What gets me is a convicted (copped a plea) felon gets sentenced to having to pay a convicted monopolist.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal system

    Nicole Richie: Teams of highly paid lawyers, PR people, publicists, handlers, bodyguards. A city that caters to the very wealthy, and bestows upon them a higher status than your average citizen. Endemic corruption and gladhanding.

    Scott McCausland: Just a dude I've never heard of, who lives in a conservative, backwater state, known for the inequity of their courts, endemic corruption, and catering to the rich and powerful. Probably public defender, probably didn't keep his mouth shut.

    Moral: If you're rich and have a daddy who's famous for writing some songs in the eighties, your $400/hr lawyer will give you the extremely good advice of "don't say a thing, don't admit to anything, and let me handle this."

    If you're just some poor hacker geek, WTF are you doing running an illegal enterprise out of your house?

    Corollary: Much like prohibition of alcohol and drugs, the prohibition on file sharing is gradually stratifying the population into varying degrees of criminality. The lower end of the scale will continue to be eaten as sacrifice to Lady Justice, and the higher-ups will continue to become immensely wealthy, only to be finally toppled by an eventual RICO case.

    Final conclusion? More laws = more people being declared criminals, leading to higher enforcement fees, weakening the economy, and removing skills workers from our national industries. Stigmatization of family members of the lawbreakers leading to generational criminal tendencies. Increased legislation, gradually placing more activities into the heading of illegal acts.

    1984, knocking at your door.

  38. Pete Burgess

    who gave you?

    "...and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me,..."

    I was kind of under the impression that *you* did this to yourself by uploading films rather than them giving them to you... Guess it's easier to blame someone else though

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But ...

    is there such thing called justice? Since when US has any fairness? The sad thing is, our gov is closely following.

    Like it or not, it is now the rich and powerful control group of slaves, which we call "government". Election is matter of vote either evil number one or evil number two. It doesn't really matter who you vote, you are voting evil.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A Merkin and AManFromMars are one and the same! At least, I don't understand either of them ...

    I'll get my coat.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't you get it yet?

    When are any of you going to understand in any capitalist system property rights are absolutely fundamental to the whole scam. There is no common ownership and therefore protecting private property is crucial.

    In fairness, he stole a $150 million picture made and financed by an independent film-maker. Lucas risked his own money on this film, no one elses. People have been jailed longer for not paying a 100 quid telly licence or 500 quid poll tax bill. I had to pay to see this film and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't either.

    At the end of the day he's just another crook and should be treated like one. So many of these comments read as special pleading whereas if we're all equal under the law he's no different from a mugger or purse-snatcher. Unless of course we're saying all victims of crime are unequal too. How fucked up is that?

  42. Morely Dotes

    Not merely a felon, but a moron

    Two computers - one really crappy one picked up at Goodwill for $20 running Windows 95 and the monitoring software (permanently browsing any web page that auto-refreshes from time to time). One decent one running Ubuntu.

    Problem solved - and the Goodwill PC with Win95 is cheaper than any current version of Windows *without* a computer.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why not virtualize windows under Ubuntu? Then it runs where it belongs. In a window.

  44. Brian Jones


    *whine* I committed TWO felonies and cannot afford to buy windows, so instead I'm talking to my lawyer about fighting these charges that the man has laid upon me!

    don't lawyers cost money?

  45. Rob

    "two felonies that they gave me"

    He violated the law apparently, but it was the legal system (not him) that attached the felony convictions to his record. Yes he was rewarded the felonies for his actions but by no means did he give them to himself no more than a powerball lottery winner gives himself $500,000,000.

    The young lad is correct in his choice of words while some of the Internet crusaders are left with the taste of footwear in their mouths.

    It boggles the mind how copyright infringement is a felony while other crimes (such as DUI) that put lives at risk are not. Why is this you ask? Look at the people who make the laws in the United States. I can guarantee you quite a few of them have at least one DUI, maybe more, on their criminal record.

    I received this in an email a few years ago and it's quite amusing. Of course I cannot verify any of it but nonetheless here it is:

    "Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees, and has the following statistics:

    * 29 have been accused of spousal abuse

    * 7 have been arrested for fraud

    * 19 have been accused of writing bad checks

    * 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

    * 3 have done time for assault

    * 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

    * 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

    * 8 have been arrested for shoplifting

    * 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

    * 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year...

    Can you guess which organization this is? Give up yet? It's the 435 members of the United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line."

  46. simon

    Maybe its time for him to give up the PC

    and actually spend time watching all the crap he's been downloading/uploading.

  47. frank denton

    Re. A Merkin

    A.Merkin and amanfrommars are not one and the same.

    A.Merkin is amanfrommars's apprentice. He's not very good as yet but I'm sure he'll improve with time.

    Then I'll get two encoded messages to work on in the lonely evenings, woohoo.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Script Kiddies and Establishment Stooges

    First of all, this is Scott McCausland, why are all of you script kiddies giving him advice on wine, VMWare and dual-boot. Why don't you go ahead and ask him if he has tried rebooting.

    Secondly, what he did was not against the law or a felony. It may have been "illegal" (against precedent, or the previous decisions of judges) but not against the law. I've read the law, have you? Just because The MPAA says that someone is a pirate and that what they have done is against the law does not make it so.

    Get your heads out of the sand and wake up. Look into the history of intellectual property law than decide for yourself. Copyright law neither encourages creativity nor benefits the creator of copyrighted works and was never meant to. The only time that copyright law in the United States is actually broken is when a profit is gained from the distribution or sale of the copyrighted work without the consent of the copyright owner.

    This is not a personal property issue, this is a fair-use and basic liberties issue. Per copyright precedent it is illegal to sing a copyrighted song in your car to yourself particularly if it is not playing on the radio or some other media that has a copyright license paid.

    Most people need to read more.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forced to buy software not so bad

    It's no worse than being forced to join a cult (AA) for a drink-driving offence.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scott McCausland, Heres some news for you...

    Both Linux and Windows run exactly the same when the bloody computer is switched off.

    You did the crime, you admitted to it and agreed to go to prison for 5 months in your plea bargain. You agreed to the terms of your supervision order and now you are crying into your unwashed t shirt because you have to use windows if you want to use a computer.

    To state it is cruel and unusual punishment to have to use windows when it is wankers like you who spell their name using a jumble of letters and numbers who are half the reason why windows is so bloody awful for the rest of us to use.

    It might destroy your precious Hak0r street cred to have to use a windows box but the rest of us who have to use PCs at work all day have little or no choice. It might be crap, covered with more patches than a chain smoker with a hundred a day habit who is trying to quit but it installs on most things, programs I use and equipment I buy work with it and it dosnt take three weeks to configure it to run.

    Why not split the difference and buy a mac. Everyone knows people who own them carnt do fuck all with a computer but download music from itunes and draw nice pictures with photoshop.

    If Nicole Richie only gets an hour an a half in prison its because she showed a little more imagination and had a whole lot more fun in her crimes and spent a lot less time bitching about her sentance than you did. I mean come on where is the exitement in uploading files to the internet compared with getting shitfaced on drink and drugs and then driving the wrong way up a motorway.

    Here is a suggestion for what to do for the next five months. Read some bloody books and take in some culture, watch some TV and ween yourself into the real world, rent a few DVDs, buy a games console, open the curtains, draw the blinds and tidy up and clean the house, learn to play a musical instrument, pen a number one hit song, solve world hunger or even come up with a solution for world peace. Why not even get laid or at the very least enjoy five months of wanking but for fucks sake grow up and get a life and stop waisting our time because there is more to life than what operating system you use on your PC

  51. Neil

    vee have vays of punishing you....

    ...although the chap who talks about dongling constraints surely has more to worry about.

    Obviously the solution would be to simply pull his net connection. Whatever OS he has, he can't get up to much offline.

  52. Law



    That rich brat Nicole Richie gets slapped rist for driving the wrong way down a motorway while high and drunk....... yet somebody uploads a film and he is forced to get in to bed with satan (windoze), jail time (??) and have his privacy ripped away from him!! I seriously don't get the legal system.... it used to protect people, now it just protects companies! I would scoff at the american legal system, but ours is barely any better!

  53. Luther

    Copyright is socialistic

    "When are any of you going to understand in any capitalist system property rights are absolutely fundamental to the whole scam."

    When you buy a DVD, that disc is *your* property. Individual property rights would imply that you can do whatever you want with your property, including make more copies. Under copyright law, a DVD is not private property.

    "There is no common ownership and therefore protecting private property is crucial."

    Technically, copyright is not property, but a government-enforced monopoly. When you have something that is not inherently scarce, ownership of that thing is nothing but an artificial construct designed to siphon off more money to people who already have too much.

    "In fairness, he stole a $150 million picture made and financed by an independent film-maker."

    No, I'm pretty sure Lucasfilm and Fox both still have their film. And for the record, I only paid about $20 for it.

    "I had to pay to see this film and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't either."

    Maybe because he has a spine and wants to stand up for his rights which he *would* have under a free market? Keep in mind that he probably did pay for his copy. He went to jail for giving copies to other people.

  54. William Bronze badge

    Ludicrous punishment.

    12 months prison sentence for file sharing? Just on the news the other day was some bloke who walked free with just 36 hours community service for child abuse, with one child as young as 18 months.

    If the law courts on the governments carry on criminalising the general population whilst letting the real criminals go they will have a bloody revolution on their hands. Except in the governments eyes we would all be terrorists instead of revolutionaries.

    The $ is worth more than life. And that stinks.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Monitoring bracelet? wtf?

    Will it work like a Battle Royale neck bracelet?

    "ubuntu detected" "bleep bleep bleep" BOOM!

    You gots to love a good Japanese Action Movie, and that One RULZ!!

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrorist v. Revoulsionary

    In the eyes of the government whose authority is challenged, all Revolutionaries are considered Terrorists. This is why the "War on Terror" that the US has waged is so generally damning. If you resist the government authority you are branded a terrorist. Sad when the the US government is defined as "Of the People, By the People and For the People". Maybe that should read "Sheeple"....


  57. This post has been deleted by its author

  58. Hig Hurtenflurst

    Law | Ass

  59. asher

    Ultimate Punishment

    Send me to prison...cut my balls off...but for the love of god have mercy...don't make me use windozeeeeeeeeeeee

  60. Sean Nevin


    I'd sooner stop using my computer for half a year than have my CPU run a single line of Microsponge code.

    Oh, and Greets to A. Merkin! Welcome to Earth! Don't worry, you'll pick up this "English" thing eventually...

    OR are your purposes not to learn IT on purpose, and hence establish QuantuM AEther links? Either way, Sally Forth, Under skies of Stars and Lightning!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leave the US ...

    He shouldn't have done what he did. So much is true. Copyrights are permissible because there are also copylefts. One should only redistribute copylefted material freely and ignore anything that's copyrighted.

    Nothwithstanding, the sentence clearly shows that the US has become some kind of brutal police state.


    Absurd. Move to another country, find another employer there, or do as I do, and limit yourself to doing projects online. I make more money than I used to, and I live in a very low cost of living area, 100 dollars/month for a beautiful 2-bedroom flat, and the women are neither American feminazis nor total sluts. What would I be doing in that shithole of an American heavy-handed police state. So-called felonies don't count anywhere else. Nor do "credit reports" or any other police state instruments.

    The guy is talented. He can solve problems. There's lots of work for him outside that American police state. Just leave that shithole.

  62. Astarte

    You pays your money and you takes your choice

    Smile, it's a democracy - you have no choice.

  63. bwildasi

    Forced Ditch: Here's A Gold Shovel

    According to his status as a self-induced monitoring subject, he should take advantage of the opportunity and create a serial "killer app" for a home arrest monitor program that runs on Unix/Linux. He can lead the effort by example, and then market and sell it back to his captors after his term is complete. Who knows he may make millions around the world of law enforcement.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright For Dummies

    This post is addressed to the author of "Script Kiddies and Establishment Stooges" and Luther of "Copyright is socialistic."

    Obviously the two of you need to read copyright law a little more in depth because it appears that neither of you understand a lick of it. If YOU create a work, copyright protects it entirely and gives you ALL the credit. Since you both fail to understand DVD copyright, allow me to use art as an illustration. Leonardo DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa. It is HIS painting. If he sold it to you personally, you have NO rights over that painting. Just because you own it does NOT give you permission to copy that painting and distribute the copies. Michaelangelo sculpted David. It is HIS sculpture. If he sold it to you personally, you have NO rights over that statue. Just because you own it does NOT give you permission to have miniatures made and sell them.

    It is the same with DVDs. George Lucas created the motion picture. It is HIS film. He sold it to you indirectly (or better yet, he licensed it to you to view). You have NO rights over the motion picture on that DVD. You CANNOT copy it and distribute it freely nor sell the copies. The companies that print the DVDs must obtain a license from George Lucas before they can do such. If the film is out of date, those companies must seek a license from whomever holds the copyright to that material. Printing it on DVD and selling it infringes upon Lucas' copyright, just as copying Mona Lisa or making miniature statues of David would be infringing upon the copyright of the holder.

    Imagine you sketched a comic book character and posted it online as your avatar. Next thing you know, I have taken that character and made posters and t-shirts and a comic book, etc. I have stolen your property and infringed upon your copyright. YOU created it. It belongs to YOU. For me to do ANYTHING with YOUR character, even if you don't do anything with it yourself, I MUST receive your permission to do so (a license). If I sit at a fair and offer to do drawings for people and someone comes up to me and asks me to draw a Marvel character, for me to do so I have infringed upon their copyright. I am making money off their character and exploiting their character.

    You do NOT own the DVD you purchased. That DVD is a license to VIEW only. The printing companies had to obtain a license from Lucas to imprint the DVDs. Otherwise his film could sit in storage and never see the light of day, but that would not benefit Lucas in the least. So he licenses these companies to imprint the DVDs. You, in turn, are licensing the DVD for your viewing pleasure. Anything beyond this is copyright infringement and you are guilty of breaking the Law. Whether you steal a piece of gum or you steal a million dollars from the bank, you are still a thief and deserve the same punishment under the Law.

    The author of "Script Kiddies and Establishment Stooges" claims to have read the Law, but I suggest that he read it a little more closely. He is indeed right that most people need to read more - including himself. Go to and read up on copyright and intellectual property rights (something I took in College). There is also something known as "poor man's copyright," which I learned about in Art and Animation school. If I draw something, I can put either the original or a photocopy of the original into an envelope and mail it to myself. When I receive it, I must not open it. The date it was mailed will be stamped on the envelope. If someone steals my work, I can take it to court, give my unopened and dated package to the judge so that he can open it, and inside will be my original creation.

    Luther is dead wrong in claiming that the DVD is his own private property and sorely fails to understand copyright laws. According to Luther, because he buys a Windows CD, it is his private property. I suggest that he read the End User License Agreement that accompanies the CD. The CD is licensed to you to use. Nothing more. You have NO rights over that CD or the software contained on it. Likewise, you have NO rights over the DVD or the motion picture that is contained on it. Upon buying it, you entered into an agreement to license it for your viewing. Nothing more.

    If you care to argue further upon copyright and intellectual property laws, I'll be more than happy to start quoting sections, paragraphs, and lines to you. But seeing as how I do not frequent this site and only happened upon it by chance and thought I would correct your wrong thinking and understanding, I doubt I will get the chance to do such. Understand that Scott McCausland DID break the Law, but he shouldn't be forced to use an OS that he doesn't care to. If they want to monitor him, it is THEIR responsibility to get that monitor written so that it runs on Linux.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whine / WINE

    For the love of #$%@....

    (1) He got caught being an idiot. We all know that this kind of activity is frowned upon in by US authorities. Any hack worth a nickel should be able to upload a file and not have it trace back to you.

    (2) He agreed to the plea agreement!

    The only person I feel sorry for is the victim of Nichole Richie or Paris Hilton's next Saturday night drive home.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cryme and Punyshment

    Doesn't that constitute a cruel and unfair punishment?

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Ohh Harsh...

    "Any idea's if its going to be Vista?"

    Don't be silly, the monitoring software won't have yet been updated to support Vista (or 64bit XP).

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He should move to Antigua...

    ...where it may soon be LEGAL to copy/distribute/sell content bearing a USA copyright. Not certain if it is necessary to become a citizen of Antigua in order to freely ignore USA copyright.

    Yah. This article is 4 pages of tiny text.

    Upshot is that the USA stands in violation of several recent WTO rulings, and the country of Antigua may be granted WTO permission to ignore certain USA intellectual property protections. So...move to Antigua...reproduce anything you wish...sell it to the citizens of any country except the USA.

  69. Aubry Thonon

    Weasel words...

    "Under copyright law, a DVD is not private property".

    Actually, if you read the licence/legal blurb that deals with CDs and DVDs (both software/music/movies) you will find that you OWN the DVD itself... just not what's on it. That's right - while you now own a small piece of plastice, you are effectively only "renting" the software/music/movie on it until such time as the owners of that information (the RIAA, the MPAA, Microsoft) decide they want to revoke your right to use it.

    And the most they have to do is provide you with a blank CD/DVD in return.

    Really. Read the fine print. It's an eye-opener.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor Fish Fecies

    Good grief, upload a film and recieve a felony?

    Sounds a skosh over the top to start with, so yeah I agree "they" gave him the felonies, shouldn't be more than a misdermeanor imo.

    Then force someone to use windows? I thought we had cruel and unusual punishment provisions in our sentencing, guess not :(

    Hang in there man, you'll be back in a few months, and yeah, I think you were supremely corn-holed but thats the system, fight where you can, and keep your pants up where you can't.

  71. Stewart Rice

    The real point of the article...

    The guy pleaded guilty to uploading a torrent in breach of copyright... fine.

    He was sentenced to 5 months inside, which he served... I don't see a problem yet.

    He was also sentenced to 5 months house arrest, with a monitoring order... I don't see him complaining about it.

    He was NOT sentenced to pay any kind of fine... why should he then be to spend money in order to serve the rest of his sentence?

    His guilt is not the issue, here. The issue is whether or not the judge(s) can add extra requirements onto a sentence for no reason.

  72. Larry Adams

    @ Leave the US

    Just a reminder... For a US citizen, and I'm assuming sk0t is, to travel anywhere in the world, he must have a passport, or for Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, be able to prove that he has applied for one... I'm not sure someone on probation is allowed to have a passport.

    IMHO... sk0t should just shut up and stay off his computer until his probation is up...


  73. James Cleveland

    He needs

    The somethingawful freeware that you cannot livewithout thread.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More than one way to skin a cat.

    Three thoices based on your ethics;

    1. use M$ or face further legal problems and/or;

    2. use a knoppix/ubuntu installation using wine/VMware or DVD-R


    3. hack the software(?) and claim trojan defence if caught!

    There are some v-good distro's which can be installed on a USB stick with various anonymiser/security software e.g. tor which doesn't leave any footprint or evidence of your surfing habits. Simply unplug and go. ;)

  75. M Neligan

    Re Copyright for dummies

    In the paragraph re Leo and Mike: would it not be stupid to pay a large sum for a work of art and not obtain the right to make copies? The analogy with a film would be where you buy the actual film and all rights to it.

    I think nearly everyone knows that when you buy a DVD, you are just getting some kind of licence to view it - and even that is restricted to private viewing (in one part of the world!). Despite this, I have noticed some advertisements telling us: "Own it now on DVD".

    Use of the words "steal" and "theft" is inappropriate here because they normally describe an action that deprives an owner of his property, not just a copy of it.

    US law appears to favour money-makers: the length of time after which copyright for books expires was lenghtened in the US - so you can find works in Australa's Project Gutenberg that would be "theft" in the US.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright For Dummies...

    Everything else not withstanding, the most relevant point being made (given that he plead guilty to the crime) is the following:

    "Understand that Scott McCausland DID break the Law, but he shouldn't be forced to use an OS that he doesn't care to. If they want to monitor him, it is THEIR responsibility to get that monitor written so that it runs on Linux."

    Of course, if the plea agreement stipulated the use of a Windows monitoring tool, he hasn't got a leg to stand on...

  77. Azrael

    I'm just tired

    ...of this all.

    He probably did wrong. He may be a fighter for the rights we should have, or a dirty thief. I don't really care.

    He probably got punished way harsher than he should have. I don't really care.

    What I *do* care about is the hypocracy. I mean... who really knows the laws? I do, but the general population doesn't.

    And yet every time I put in a DVD that I paid money for I get a little video (that I can't skip) telling me that copying movies is a crime. Um. Obviously whoever made that video either doesn't know the legal status of copyright infringement or they are intentionally misrepresenting the situation to their own benefit.

    We're going to keep having cases like this where people argue over whether someone has been treated unfairly or not until the general population *knows* and *understands* the laws involved - including the *reasons* for them.

    Personally, I think the people forcing me to watch their dubious legal statements should be fined for misrepresentation or whatever would be appropriate.

    Once we start protecting the consumers we can then (justifiably) come down harshly on those that abuse copyrighted content. Right now it's just hit and miss, with both sides playing dirty.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


  79. Nathanael Bastone

    This is absolute pig's swill.. (is that how you spell it? )

    And I suppose they wont give him the source code to compile it on linux either.

  80. Cambrasa

    How Pointless

    Easy solution: 1) Buy a new laptop. 2) Sign up with a mobile broadband plan using a friend's name. 3) Sign up with a VPN provider located outside of your country (and therefore outside your jurisdiction).

    And you're back in business. The police will never even know about it. Fools.

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