back to article Wikileaks: Canadian piracy arrests were favor to movie biz man

A report on TorrentFreak has linked the overdose death of a Canadian “cammer” (someone who records movies in cinemas on Webcams) to his arrest by the Mounties, even though his activities weren’t a crime in that country. According to a Wikileaks-published cable, Royal Canadian Mounted Police were reluctant to take an interest …


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  1. ratfox Silver badge

    Finger pointing

    The link from arrest to overdose is rather weak... And were it not for the overdose, this would be a non-story. The fact that the RCMP is not usually arresting cammers does not mean they should never do it. All in all, I am not schocked.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      False arrest?

      If the police arrested a man for something that was not a crime, then jailed him for not appearing in court, I'd say that's a story regardless of the consequence.

      IP protection is very important, we need to have that debate. A lot of Register readers keep the lights on by creating and selling IP. But that means we also see where IP gets in the way of innovation and making things better.

      Copyright industry lobbyists have been shockingly successful at changing the law, usually by secret back door lobbying that sometimes seems to tread on democracy. Look at ACTA or the repeated increases in the time copyright is valid for. Or the slow development of case law in america which has created an ability for plaintiffs to sue thousands of targets simultaneously without knowing who they are, then use the verdict to find and fine them without an opportunity to contest the original verdict.

      I'm not saying they are completely wrong, and nor am I suggesting we should take the leak at face value. But yeah, it's troubling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Arresting people as "personal favours" is not excusable and ALSO a story in its own right.

        "IP protection" is far less important than the people who benefit most from it --who are incidentally by and large not the people it was intended for-- make it out to be and who moreover already managed to extend terms and such several times over. Oh, and who react to just about any technological advance with ardour and outrage verging on religious extremism. This happened back with the introduction of the pianola, but also with, say, the introduction of the compact disk, that eventually brought them an unprecedented windfall because everyone bought not just new music but also their old LP collection as CD again. Yet they didn't have the foresight to not initially fight it tooth and nail.

        I think that, like the US patent system, copyright as it has become is essentially broken by overuse and overreach. Not entirely surprising that it's time and again the US that's pushing things along like ACTA but also by outright offering to rewrite NZ's copyright law for them--another recent cable.

        In both big music and big movies, the one thing that copyright doesn't manage is to put monies in the pockets of the artists themselves. Just look at the pay structure of a typical music contract. For movies there's even a special term for their special kind of graft. "Hollywood accounting." The monopolists have taken over (the relevant parts of) government and show us what happens when the lunatics are running the asylum.

        Before we can have a meaningful discussion we have to recognize this.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Yet they didn't have the foresight to not initially fight it tooth and nail.


          So cd burners becoming available to us ordinary people 10-15 years after cd roms was just a fluke?

          And in no way connected with a major IP holder and major player in the hardware business being one and the same? (hint i'd send you to their website - but it's been down for a couple of weeks lulz)

          CD roms was ok, cos we all went out and bought the beatles, floyd and doors all over again, writers was bad cos having got 1 copy, we'd never buy another.

          Concidentally this was around the time the focus shifted to IP from 'the artifact' - i bought vinyl, scratched it, then had to buy another - i was paying for the artifact. Now i dowloads it, I provide the media, which i can back up, and restore in the case of media failure - so i am buying some kind of license.

          a pox on em, thats what i say

    2. Ian Michael Gumby
      Thumb Up


      Its sad to see that your post which is common sense gets down commented for no real reason.

      I agree with what you are saying...

      The cammer knew what he was doing. If not the camming, but the redistribution of the video he took would be illegal. Even not, its something which he knew to be wrong.

      And there is no connection to his actions and his drug overdose. Unless Wikileaks wants to imply that the RCMP somehow caused him to OD.

      Thumbs up to your common sense post.

      1. Tom 13

        I frequently agree with you, but not this time.

        When the case involves "a personal favor" it isn't justice that is being served. The confinement for failing to appear in court as opposed to the original charges smells bad also. Too much like the fatally flawed process in the Miller decision. Yes in the Miller decision the accused was a piece of work that needed to be rotting in prison, but essentially depriving him of representation on appeal did not serve justice for all.

    3. joe.user

      Cause and Effect stupid

      Don't get arrested. Don't overdose to kill oneself.

      Personal favors for arresting someone? What the hell is going on in Canada besides Moose and Maple Syrup!?

  2. bugalugs

    not it les!

    " According to the cable, “RCMP officers stated that they arrested the individual "as a personal favor" to a CMPDA official”. "

    So this fule was camming all over red-lighting himself. He shouldn't have gone to prison but that he fatally over-indulged after his release can hardly be fairly slated to anyone other than himself, Shirley ?

    1. Danny 14


      So you see nothing wrong with someone being arrested twice for doing nothing illegal in your own country as a "favour" to an american company?

      So lets arrest you in the UK for buying and smoking a joint in a licenced cafe in Amsterdam. Or perhaps arrest your British wife in the UK for exposing her arms, head and shoulders on a UK beach because it is against the law in the U.A.E etc.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    He was arrested - twice - for NOT committing a crime.

    I'd be pretty depressed too...

    By the way, a drug overdose is a great way to "suicidate" an inconvenient person.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: He was arrested - twice - for NOT committing a crime.

      Interestingly this is the sort of argument that has been applied to Julian Assange.

      Did you pluck that neologism from some dark, moist personal place? The nearest my searches turned up was this:

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      That's the ticket!

      This is all a CIA plot which is directed by ZOG which happens to control all aspects of communication.

      Do you not realize how silly you all sound?

      The guy was a crim. He knew what he was doing was wrong. 'Camming' may not have been a crime, but putting his 'work' out on the net clearly is. Can you say copyright infringement?

      Get real.

      What's the odds that if you break one crime, you're not going to break another.

      BTW, what did the guy OD on anyways?

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Oh sure

    Some guy is dead in connection with some not even illegal activity in his country, but because it's called "piracy" somewhere else, let's get all high and mighty and say it's his fault that he brought it on himself.

    The callous disregard for loss of life always leads me to wish that those who wash their hands of it be subject to the same treatment. See how well you guys do after two arrests and some months in prison for walking while chewing gum, because what he did wasn't any worse, legally, in his country.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Oh sure

      YMLT look at the film piracy industry; it's associated with substance abuse, drug dealing, prostitution and a few other vile offences. That he took drugs is signally interesting. People who self medicate are prone to early deaths, and it has nothing to do with any form of commerce other than trafficking in drugs. I.e., end users tend to die of their habit, and that includes nicotine addicts.

      1. foo_bar_baz

        Yes and

        People who self gratify are prone to loss of eyesight and excessive hair growth on their palms. That includes people who do so in writing on Internet message boards.

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: Yes and

          Thank you for this beautifully crafted non sequitur, which completely underplays the risks associated with taking narcotics, including death by overdose. Next you'll be telling me that you know of people who died of death by overdose of typography... ...but you will not provide me with any data to support your argument, of that I am sure.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I can't help thinking

    that if he'd worked with the system he'd have received a suspended sentence at worst, and that would have been the end of it. As it was he probably should have had a psychiatric evaluation before sentencing, and closer monitoring/support on release.

  6. JimC

    It was a crime though...

    He was, after all, convicted. Without bothering to search out the originals it seems that it just wasn't a *specific* crime, in the same way that beating someone up with a remote controlled robot isn't a specific crime of beating someone up with a robot: it just comes under the more general heaing of assault.

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Convicted, yes, but...

      Not for Camming.

      Not appearing in court is an offense, no matter if the case should never have been brought to court.

      Had he appeared and defended himself, he would never had to spend any time in the slammer...

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        So that raises the question...

        ... why didnt he turn up?

        Im sorry but if im arrested and charged with something (whether its a crime or not) and im told to turn up to court on a set date to defend myself, i am bloody well going to be there to defend myself! Or have a damn good excuse for not getting there at the right time!

        Not turning up implies either guilt or total disregard for the legal system, neither of which is going to win you any brownie points with the judge or the jury.

        1. Ole Juul

          Only two implications?

          "Not turning up implies either guilt or total disregard for the legal system, neither of which is going to win you any brownie points with the judge or the jury."

          A little imagination and one could come up with a few more reasons. For instance, one could imagine someone being sick. Perhaps even suffering from an illness that effects the mind. I have a feeling that people who commit suicide at such a young age are not mentally and emotionally well - perhaps you disagree.

          1. lglethal Silver badge

            Read my post again...

            Thats why i said "or have a damn good reason!"

            If someone is ill (and i mean properly ill, a sniffle is not going to keep me out of court trying to defend myself). Then im quite sure that the court would be far more understanding.

            But lets face it, youve been threatened with going to prison for commiting what the police believe is a crime. Anything short of being at deaths door would not stop a normal person from turning up to court to try and defend themselves. And if your at deaths door, you should be at the hospital, and i guarantee that being in hospital is a good enough excuse for not turning up at court, and so he would not have gone to prison then.

            Additionally, there's nothing in the story that says he committed suicide. It says he OD'd. The majority of OD cases are not delibrate attempts at suicide, its usually someone getting a bad batch of their favourite drug or getting a batch which is significantly stronger then they were expecting.

            Everyone has a choice. He had the choice to turn up to court, and prove that what he was doing was not a crime, and then he would have walked out a free man. As it was he chose, for whatever reason (and we can all only speculate on that), not to turn up. He was sentenced for that.

            And attempts to link the OD to his time in prison are disingenuous at best...

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Lobbyists not able to get the law modified? Go through the rear entrance!

    A "personal favor" which "enhances" the law to the profit of some "intellectual property" control association (which incidentally also makes up its justifications using enhanced figures).

    Not surprising.

    But what's the quid-pro-quo? Dining & Wining? Freely available sexual partners? Brown envelopes?

  8. bugalugs

    To all the downvoters

    Whatever the charge and whatever the reason for his incarceration, responsibility for his subsequent tragic death by overdose cannot fairly be laid at anyone's feet but his own !

    If he had won the lottery would we be recommending arrest by the RCMP to all poor people?

    1. Ole Juul


      You're quite right, the connection is flimsy. However, sending someone to jail is sometimes damaging if the person has mental issues. I guess the point would be that now we can see that he likely needed a different kind of help.

    2. John G Imrie


      You have all the empathy of a copyright troll.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: To all the downvoters

      An appeal to all the people who don't agree with you, eh? Were you expecting a blaze of upvoted glory and everyone to see how "clever" you are? If so, you'd probably want people to *not* read your remarks.

      Wrongful arrest, being summoned before a judge for a non-offence, being put in the slammer for not accepting this dose of "justice", and then being pushed over the edge. These are all classic harassment plays by people who shouldn't have any authority at all.

      But for all we know, you dress up in a selection of police and military uniforms and march around your own house, and so probably wouldn't understand notions like "abuse of power".

      1. bugalugs

        brave AC !

        I do not dress up in uniforms. Not even a cloak of anonymity.

        My comments owe more to experience with injecting drug-users than any regard for the aims of the film industry, tolerance of corrupt police practice or an excess of respect for an admittedly fallible court system. If I'm down a hole on this one, it's because correlation is not neccessarily causation.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge


          "Not even a cloak of anonymity"

          Your mum must have really disliked you to name you "bugalugs".

          1. bugalugs

            @Tom38 re @bugalugs

            I'm sure Mum had her reasons, but would you or your 37 older siblings even try to understand ?

  9. JaitcH

    What was he convicted of or was he bailed twice?

    The Canadian Courts take themselves very seriously and it is quite likely even though the original offence was a nothing, failing to appear IS taken very seriously, even in Quebec, and is often treated as a contempt of court type offence.

    The RCMP won't like to be considered to be doing a CDPMA a 'personal' favour as it supposed to treat all people equally. Mind you, it's kind of hard to get hold of them as they use telephone answering machines a lot. The RCMP office for Toronto is about 40 kilometres out of town!

  10. Criminny Rickets
    Thumb Down


    What really galls me is that I had to read this story about my own country on a UK news site. I have yet to find this reported on a Canadian news site.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    I don't care what the 'crime' was purported to be ...

    ... doesn't anyone care about the really big point ; “RCMP officers stated that they arrested the individual "as a personal favor" to a CMPDA official”? Mounties now prostitute their services do they? Sad, so sad.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    even so,

    Depressed people don't turn up for important things. And by important, I mean self-important because when it comes down to it, we're animals and sensible animals don't do paperwork, let alone go to court.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Don't you see a real point behind the story? Police arresting and charging innocent people "as a personal favour"?

  14. Glyph
    Black Helicopters

    personal favor?

    If a member of the RCMP is doing personal favors using the authority delegated to him by the people, *that* is the story. Lock the briber and the bribee up!

    Major issue aside, here is my conspiracy theory. They can't punish people for not breaking the law, so they call in a favor (illegally) to get a cammer arrested. They have already approached said cammer and offered him X (money, drugs, whatever) to not show up to his hearing to have the charges dismissed. The whole point being to get potential cammers to associate the penalty for failing to show up to court, with the perfectly legal activity they are contemplating. The OD was probably just a result of too much money and too high a tolerance, but if he threatened to go public with the deal, perhaps he was in fact "suicidated".

  15. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    Of course I know nothing about Canadian law. However, I am astonished to find a Register article on WikiLeaks that does not make reference to Julian Assange's personal hygiene or general flakiness. Surely the embarrassments of The Great White North deserve as much cover as Uncle Sam's.

  16. sisk

    Outrage should be felt

    The OD is his own fault, unless the Mounties were shoving pills down his throat.

    That said, there should be a significant amount of outrage from this. Not because the guy died (which is tragic), but because he was arrested when he hadn't committed a crime as a personal favor. You know what we call that in the states? Police corruption and false arrest. The Mounties who made the arrests and all other officials involved should be shown the door and thrown in jail, in that order.

  17. Mectron

    Now that big ladden is dead

    Maybe the USa could dismantle the real no.1 terrorist oganisation. you know one that has ruined more life then 9/11.... the MPAA/RIAA

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      What about the original 9/11

      9/11 1973 when the good old US of A overthrew the democratically elected Allende government in Chile and put Pinochet in power. A bit more 4,000 people killed. It would be nice to see something done about the world #1 terrorist organisation ... the CIA!

      Posting AC because I fear the black helicopters!

  18. FanMan

    Totally foxed

    I really am baffled. Why on earth would anyone want to go to the trouble of downloading, then watching, a "cammed" film?

    Next time I go to the movies I'm going to try to capture the thrill by filling my ears with bread pellets then putting a few wraps of clingfilm round my head. (With holes in to breath. Of course. Shut up.)

    I'll report back, if you like.

  19. Eddie Johnson
    Black Helicopters

    File Charges

    If suicide is illegal in CA as in the US then I'd say those Mounties are accessories to murder.

    Not that they'll ever be charged, or even reprimanded.

  20. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Personal favour??!?

    That's a story worth further investigation. I wonder who's paying whom to stay schtum in canadian media? (Hint: It often happens with threats like "If you run this story we'll pull all our advertising")

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Made up laws?

    "The fact that the RCMP is not usually arresting cammers does not mean they should never do it."

    Yes it does, it is the police's job to enforce the law. There's no laws against camming in Canada. It's as simple as that. I would not want my local police making up their own laws they'll decide to enforce, and if you think about it I don't think you would either.

    Anyway, as a few others have said, I think the overdose is a non-issue ... I mean, it's a shame, but nobody forces a drug abuser to overdose. (Well, OK, I'm sure once in a while someone's knocked off that way). But, the police should absolutely not be doing personal favors for anyone, particularly when it goes beyond law enforcement to repeatedly arresting someone who ISN'T breaking the law. THAT is a big deal.

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