back to article Minicam movie pirate gets record-breaking five years in prison

A member of the IMAGiNE piracy crew, which specialized in recording and distributing movies filmed in cinemas using camcorders, has received a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to copyright infringement. Jeramiah Perkins, 40, of Portsmouth, Virginia, is the second-to-last member of the team to be sentenced to …

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  1. Darryl
    Thumb Down

    Lucky they got this menace to society locked up for a good long time.

    In other news, an Iraq war vet got 6 month in jail for raping a teenage girl.

    1. LarsG
      Meh

      The length of the sentence depends on the strength of the lobby group and how much it is prepared to donate to political causes.

      1. Dire Criti¢
        Thumb Down

        It just amazes me...

        ... just how much public money is used to pay for the punishment and discovery of copyright infringers when Hollywood is so proficient at the creative accounting that denies billions of dollars to the public purse by way of overt (and unbelievable) tax avoidance.

        Who would believe that Lord of the Rings did not make any profit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It just amazes me...

          Yeah, but what they save in tax they pay out in bribes lobbying.

      2. Fatman

        ...length of the sentence depends on the strength of the lobby group ...

        Oh yes, the old adage at work:

        Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

    2. Naughtyhorse

      in other news

      iraq war

      1. wowfood
        WTF?

        Re: in other news

        Huzzah, glad to see those scum behind bars for the good long sentence they deserve. Fucking pirates, they're worse than rapists, and I'm glad to see that their sentencing reflects that.

        *Smashes head into desk repeatedly.

  2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
    Thumb Down

    "This group was the most prolific English-language movie theft group in history, and shutting it down was a huge step forward in helping to reassure consumers that the movies and TV shows they watch online are legitimate and secure, not stolen."

    Though I don't condone what they did because it is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights, nothing was "stolen". Noone was deprived of the ability to see the films they pirated, at most the copyright holder is out a little money (and arguably, not even that).

    1. Suricou Raven

      I'm going to steal from the MPAA too

      I'm going to spend some of my money on some electronic components for an art project I'm making. A staff, stuffed full of batteries and tipped with a 500W light bulb.

      I *could* spend that money on a DVD instead. But I'd rather have the staff.

      By MPAA logic, that means I'm stealing money from them.

      1. Zack Mollusc

        Re: I'm going to steal from the MPAA too

        I hope they jail you, too. Evil Thieving Bastard!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nothing was "stolen"

      Yes there was. The confidentiality and control over the intellectual property. If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either. If I then make it available to all and sundry I still haven't stolen anything, but you will probably not be very happy with me and I can be collared for making the theft possible.

      I am not defending how record and movie companies go about protection intellectual property (which is different to how they make a profit), but I hear this argument with data theft too and it's total BS. The party owning the information/material/song/movie suffers damage, and you caused it or contributed to it.

      If you get a pirated copy of a movie or scrape the MP3 sound off a YouTube clip for your music collection you know full well you have done something that isn't right because the creator doesn't get a penny for this. You can then argue that you would have never bought it or never gone to the cinema to watch it, or will buy it when you like it, the fact remains that downloading is illegal in some countries, and providing such material is illegal in most.

      Something doesn't become legal because you want it to be, try not to delude yourself. If you lose sight of that you may get yourself into trouble very quickly. What I do agree with is that record and movie companies are going about it the wrong way because they are busy perverting the laws to suit themselves (a bit like Google and Facebook work on changing your perception of privacy and so get you to let go of your rights), but until the laws have changed it's illegal. Full stop.

      Having said that, the fines are ridiculous. You get less for murdering someone, which makes me wonder what someone would get for murdering a record industry executive. Not that I would encourage that, but it's an interesting exercise in logic.

      Let the downvotes begin..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        faulty logic

        " If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either. If I then make it available to all and sundry I still haven't stolen anything, but you will probably not be very happy with me and I can be collared for making the theft possible."

        Depended upon what "all & sundry" did with my credit card numbers.

        If they sat and looked at them, no problem. If they passed them on to others, who sat and looked at them, still no problem.

        It doesn't stop me from passing them on to others to make purchases.

      2. heyrick Silver badge
        FAIL

        "If you get a pirated copy of a movie or scrape the MP3 sound off a YouTube clip for your music collection you know full well you have done something that isn't right because the creator doesn't get a penny for this."

        Your post was doing well until this point.

        If I scrape a song from YouTube, the creator misses out on a few pennies from me. However, if I buy the album legitimately - the creator receives a scant few pennies from me, which is a pretty shitty deal on a fifteen-twenty euro purchase.

        The people making the most noise are invariably not the "creators".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If I scrape a song from YouTube, the creator misses out on a few pennies from me. However, if I buy the album legitimately - the creator receives a scant few pennies from me, which is a pretty shitty deal on a fifteen-twenty euro purchase."

          Your post was doing well until this point.

          Firstly, how do you know how much the creator receives? I suspect you in fact don't, but are relying on "common knowledge". So the whole thing is based on supposition. It's also worth pointing out we're talking about the movie industry today, which is a completely different kettle of fish to the music industry, but hey.

          Secondly, what is a few pennies divided by zero? The creator goes from receiving something to receiving nothing. It isn't right, as OP said, so why argue the point on this basis? If you don't pay, you are rejecting the principle that people should be paid for their work.

          Thirdly, year after year, people still voluntarily enter into such contracts with the recording industry, without coercion. It may be a shitty deal, but presumably it's better than no deal, which is why people sign. Someone with neither the talent nor the opportunity to make that choice, and with no particular insight into the costs involved in promoting an artist, seems ill-qualified to determine what is or is not a shitty deal anyway.

          The people making the most noise on this are in fact the pirates, who have an endless barrage of crappy self-serving excuses for behaviour which they know damned well is immoral, of which "well we're not depriving the artists of *much*" is perhaps the shittiest. If recording artists really are on the bread-line, as you imply, presumably those few pennies are pretty fucking important to them, no?

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            I dunno why I'm wasting my time replying to somebody that isn't even up to putting their name beside what they say, but...hey, I guess I'm bored.

            "Firstly, how do you know how much the creator receives? I suspect you in fact don't, but are relying on "common knowledge". So the whole thing is based on supposition." - that's right. People sign contracts, but don't tend to want to discuss said contracts.

            I can name you a bunch of well paid movie stars. I can even name some bit players in B-movies. But with notable exceptions of scriptwriters who got famous in their own right (the Joss Whedons of the world) and directors who tend to write their own stories (the James Camerons of the world), I can't name you one single scriptwriter.

            However...

            "It's also worth pointing out we're talking about the movie industry today, which is a completely different kettle of fish to the music industry, but hey." - it is easier to talk about the music industry for two reasons; the first is simplicity as in many cases the composer and the performer are the same person (at least, for the stuff I listen to) and it is simpler to find information on how much a person would receive based upon a standard contract. Let me ask you - if you are watching a film based upon a Japanese film based upon an animé (or manga) based upon a light novel, who the hell is the "creator"? There are so many fingers in the pie that it is going to be difficult to determine who to call "creator". Logically it would be the author of the light novel, but maybe a lot of the character designs were devised by the manga/animé team? The Japanese movie would then jiggle the story to better fit the duration/constraints of a film; and the Hollywood remake would ditch all the stuff that wouldn't make so much sense to an American audience and stick in things they think would be better. Who's the "creator" now? Who has the most influence on the final product - the scriptwriter, the directory, or the editor? That is why I referred to music. It's simpler to discuss.

            "Secondly, what is a few pennies divided by zero? The creator goes from receiving something to receiving nothing. It isn't right, as OP said, so why argue the point on this basis? If you don't pay, you are rejecting the principle that people should be paid for their work." - I'm tempted to call you penny wise and pound foolish. You have rather missed the point, so let me outline it for you. If I buy an album, at full price, and the actual creator receives a few pennies, in which screwed up version of reality is this right? The difference for them between a ripped off download of an entire album and a legal purchase is around 50p (if they wrote) and a quid (if they wrote and performed). Per song, we're looking at 5-10p apiece assuming ten songs on an album. Now think about how much you pay for a song download, and for an album. You seem to believe it is sufficient to say that people should be paid for their work. The point I was getting at was that people should be paid fairly for their work. Important difference - without them there would be no product, so why does the credit card company receive more than the songwriter? [go read the Guardian article linked on the second page of comments]

            "Thirdly, year after year, people still voluntarily enter into such contracts with the recording industry, without coercion. It may be a shitty deal, but presumably it's better than no deal, which is why people sign." - you might find this interesting: http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17

            "Someone with neither the talent nor the opportunity to make that choice, and with no particular insight into the costs involved in promoting an artist, seems ill-qualified to determine what is or is not a shitty deal anyway." - if you are referring to me here, then you are right that I have neither the talent nor opportunity to look to accepting or rejecting a recording deal. I can, however, read. Allow me to quote from the Guardian article: "Regardless of what royalty rate he's on, Skinner will still have to cover all recording and promotional costs from his share of the income.", and if that isn't enough to convince you that the musicians/band cough up for a lot of the stuff out of their share (just what is the purpose of the label if they don't take on some of these costs!?), the negativland article lays it out quite clearly. It is depressing.

            "The people making the most noise on this are in fact the pirates," - the pirates are the ones that lobbied congress in the US for the fee per stolen song to be $150K? The pirates are the ones that confiscated a child's laptop for a failed attempt at an illegal download, with the thing in question subsequently purchased legally before said confiscation? The pirates aren't the ones claiming that $58 billion per year is lost to the US economy (and this $58-lots-of-zeroes applies only to the US, scale it up for global damage) - though as Rob Reid points out, the claimed losses due to piracy - this $58b per year, is on par with the entire maize crop failing, plus all of the fruit crops, plus, well, pretty much all of the crops failing. [ http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html and http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/20/the-numbers-behind-the-copyright-math/ ]

            "who have an endless barrage of crappy self-serving excuses for behaviour which they know damned well is immoral," - funny, it's the same whatever side of the fence you look. Either way, the creator gets shafted.

            "of which "well we're not depriving the artists of *much*" is perhaps the shittiest. If recording artists really are on the bread-line, as you imply,". Lesson one: understand the concept of "irony". Lesson two: understand the concept of "sarcasm". Then try again.

            The point, as it obviously needs to be stated again and again to you is how little the artists receive from our purchase.

            I dream, and hope, of a time and place in the future where digital downloading will be simple, affordable, and not tied up with licence bullshit [you have a song, I have money, who gives a damn what countries either of us are in]. A track will cost, say, 50p. 10p will go to the hosting service provider. 10p will go to the transaction handler. About 30p (how much would the VAT be?) will go to the band/artist. That is per track. They'll be looking at around £2.50-3 per album sale, which is surely better than the current standard arrangement. You'll notice that the record companies are not even mentioned. This probably explains all the screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth from them at the moment. They'll want to resist the option of musicians selling directly to their fans with every fibre of their being. It's just a shame they are so shamelessly fucking up "copyright" in the process of rescusitating their dying business model.

      3. Ejit

        " If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either."

        Indeed you have. You have stolen my wallet and contents. Regardless of whether or not I recover all or part of my wallet and contents and regardless of how long you have deprived me of there use, you have committed a theft.

        What happens to the credit card info thereafter is FUD.

        Making a copy of a protected work may well be actionable in most jurisdictions but it is not theft.

        1. Adam 1

          @ejit, I agree his analogy is flawed because taking your wallet deprives you of the ability to use its contents even briefly. But the larger point is still valid. If the wallet wasn't grabbed but instead he memorialised them while you were making a purchase from someone, you are probably closer to a representative analogy.

          If I understand this correctly, this criminal is responsible for 40% of the English movie piracy yet he only got a $15000 fine and a 12 years sentence. This does seem lenient for that level of infringement. Why then do we bankrupt people downloading 25 songs?

          This copyright math (tm) makes bloody quantum theories a walk in the park. I guess I should leave it for the experts.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I agree his analogy is flawed because taking your wallet deprives you of the ability to use its contents even briefly. But the larger point is still valid. If the wallet wasn't grabbed but instead he memorialised them while you were making a purchase from someone, you are probably closer to a representative analogy.

            Nope. By memorising my CC number you certainly haven't committed a theft. You've just learned something! Learning is good mmmkay.

            I'd still have my card number. All's well.

            Many companies, their employees and several close family members and friends already have precisely that information and they haven't stolen anything either. If you or any of them were to pass my card number on to a third party, you still wouldn't have stolen anything. If said third party then USED THE INFORMATION to take my money WITHOUT MY CONSENT, then AT THAT POINT that third party WOULD have committed a theft/fraud as something of mine would have been taken and AT THAT POINT you could be implicated as a conspirator (but you still wouldn't have stolen anything)... Do you see?

            You really need to lay off the RIAA koolaid... you've had WAY too much already! It's rotting your brain.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Nope. By memorising my CC number you certainly haven't committed a theft. You've just learned something! Learning is good mmmkay."

              There's a point where you have to come down from your ivory tower and realize that someone who *wants* access to your CC number is probably going to try and steal from you if they get it.

              "koolaid"

              Quite. Good luck, kid. I notice you didn't post your CC number so we could all learn something, so you have the germ of a hope of future cluefulness right there.

        2. Steady Eddy
          Headmaster

          " If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either."

          Indeed you have. You have stolen my wallet and contents. Regardless of whether or not I recover all or part of my wallet and contents and regardless of how long you have deprived me of there use, you have committed a theft.

          Wrong. Theft is defined as permanently depriving someone of something. If I take your wallet and return it, it's borrowing. If I take your car, and return it, it's taking a vehicle without consent, which is specifically a crime. If I take your car, drive it recklessly with no regard, damage it, and return it, it could be considered theft.

          1. wowfood

            So if I were to rob the corner shop, and then return the goods I stole, I wouldn't have commited a crime?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "return the goods I stole" => there was no theft (e.g. Theft Act 1968)

              " if I were to rob the corner shop, and then return the goods I stole, I wouldn't have commited a crime?"

              Laws can vary depending on where you are. Relevant law in the UK may include wording such as "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it" (see e.g. Theft Act 1968 and similar).

              Please note the explicit use of "permanently depriving".

              If you were to take (not rob) some goods from a shop without paying for them, and then return the goods (which you hadn't necessarily stolen), it would be interesting to see what the police and (if it got that far) the courts made of it. If there was no intention of permanently depriving, it cannot possibly be theft, according to the wording above. IANAL.

              In the UK, if you take someone's vehicle without the owner's permission, and allegedly plan to return it and are then nicked, any resulting prosecution will not be for theft.. A separate offence, "taking without the owner's consent", had to be created to cover those circumstances, because it's trivial for the accused to claim that there had been no intention to "permanently deprive" the owner of the vehicle.

              Maybe the FACT etc people need an offence of "copying without the owner's consent". Oh wait, there already is a law covering exactly that. Copyright law (where applicable).

      4. Fatman

        RE: Let the downvotes begin..

        You asked for it

        downvotes+1000

        Hey el Reg, please add this to his downvote total, as you only let me downvote him once.

  3. C 7

    Just think...

    How many movies Americans could have seen in the theater with the amount of tax money being paid to prosecute and lock these guys up.

  4. Sooty

    Shirley

    The best quality cinema copies are created by the cinema staff themselves, a good camera setup in the projection booth and audio captured directly from the sound system. I assumed they were done in less copyright conscious countries though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shirley

      Indeed.

      I find it hard to believe that any camcorder "thief" has been capable of producing the camcorder copies floating around. To be more exact, I would really like to buy the same camcorder he has.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Shirley

      The best quality cinema copies (i.e. before release on DVD/BD) are the promo copies of the films. It took them a while but the distributors are now quite good at extensively water marking in various methods these films so they know exactly where the film leaked.

      Unfortunately for the movie industry, many leaks are before this stage where the watermarks are applied and therefore can only be leaked by insiders.

  5. jonfr

    I don't trust the MPAA

    I don't trust the MPAA. They lie and lie a lot it seems.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "reassure consumers"

    Thank goodness for that, I've been unable to sleep for worrying.

  7. The_Regulator

    Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

    I have zero interest in watching a movie recorded on a camcorder in a theater full of people where you do not even have direct audio half the time and when you do it sounds like somebody shoved the microphone where the sun doesn't shine then connected it to the source......Bluray FTW!!!

    I guess the general public does not feel the same way as this as these guys were able to sell their pirate warez to others in order to buy some extra servers etc.....I guess the question I would be asking myself is was it REALLY worth it???....Have fun in jail and keep that soap on a rope held tight boys!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

      a few years ago when films took a very long time before DVD release cams were more popular, but now? why bother.. the DVD/Blu-ray comes out after a few months, if you still can't afford it then use the cheaper option of waiting until its on the TV...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

        My local town only had a cinema built towards the end of last year, prior to that the nearest was a 30 min motorway journey to a big out of town complex. Even when I have been to the cinema, it's expensive, full of noisy people throwing things, generally uncomfortable seats. I've been in cinemas where the picture was blurry, flickered, and/or the sound too loud and so washing out half of it.

        With a drink and a snack it will cost more than buying he blu-ray! And you cant even pause it to nip to the toilet! It's no wonder people watch cam copies.

        Even now i have a local cinema, I'd much rather sit comfy at home, with my finely tuned system, watching a high quality version... there's no need to make people wait months for the DVD/blu-ray release!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

        >use the cheaper option of waiting until its on the TV...

        Of course I don't begrudge ITV showing films with advert breaks... but what puts me off is the shoddy fashion in which they cut the film for the breaks, slicing into the movie at the worst possible dramatic moment, often taking a few milliseconds off the last word of the dialogue. Very off putting.

        Come the big finale, the big explosion or poignant conclusion, The End, fade to black, music swell and WALLOP! Some idiot starts yabbering away about what is on next. Its is like eating a good meal and then someone stuffing a bar of soap in your mouth when you are still savouring your last forkful.

        It's interesting that the main sponsor is 118 118... anyone with a smartphone / PC can get the information that 118 118 charge for for free, so I assume that the adverts are aimed at people without internet. Maybe they assume that everyone with the internet has either downloaded the movie already or bought the DVD from an etailer, and therefore won't be watching it on ITV.

        The consumer isn't treated with respect, so asking the consumer to show respect by not 'pirating' is hypocritical. I go to the cinema, I buy DVDs when they are reasonably priced.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

          Showcase Cinema Deluxe in Cabot Circus, Bristol: Please fix the squeaky ventilation fan in one of your screens!

          I did have enjoy watching The Town there, very late in its run and at a late hour of the day: Myself and four of mates were the only people in that screening. Superb!

          £3.75 for 75cl of plain water? 'ck off!

    2. Burch
      Mushroom

      Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

      Oh. Prison rape jokes. How novel and in the best possible taste.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

        Oh. Prison rape jokes. How novel and in the best possible taste.

        Old fashioned as well. Soap on a rope is no longer allowed. They have shower soap dispensers...

        .. mounted only a foot off the floor.

  8. MrXavia
    WTF?

    Now I am glad they were arrested and punished, criminals should be punished...

    But surely community service would be a better punishment than Jail time along with compensation of some kind?

    Jail time is not a sensible punishment for non-violent offenders...

    And no matter what the MPAA say, Piracy is not Theft, it is copyright Violation, sometimes criminal, but you are not physically taking something off another person, your only reducing the potential income of the copyright holder slightly....

    And anyone who thinks this was a good punishment is an idiot...

    1. Christoph
      Devil

      Don't be silly, everyone knows that every time a little old lady watches a pirate movie the entertainment industry loses BILLIONS and BILLIONS! It must be true, they've said so themselves, and after all they would know.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Flame

        And

        never forget that the movie industry rarely if ever makes any money from movies

        In large part due to their tax avoidance schemes.... "oh no Harry potter took £3 billion at the box office" but by creative accounting , the studio declares a loss for tax purposes.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Big Brother

          Re: And

          But just think... now these people have been arrested and convicted the FBI can interrogate them about all the Terrrerists they've been funding with their ill-gotten gains!!!

      2. Darryl

        Reminds me of one of my favourite Ted Talks

        The 8 billion dollar iPod

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          I wish I could upvote that a gazillion times. Copyright violations are an offence, but the fines levied to try and rescue a totally busted business model are even more offensive..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >Reminds me of one of my favourite Ted Talks

            That was very good!

            Hell, people could argue that the move in fashion from prog rock to punk cost jobs, because punk didn't require as many sitar players or as much of the studio engineer's time. We live in a strange world where people are (in theory) rewarded for inventing labour-saving devices, yet politicians are desperate to be seen to be creating jobs.

            ...

            If I didn't have to work full time to live, I'd love to lend a hand on a film set- be it serving meals to the cast, carrying kit, or creating props and concept art if my skills lay in that area.

        2. Doozer
          Thumb Up

          In reply to TED Talks

          I liked the line from the talk...

          "[The first MP3 player] was a big Christmas hit, because what little hoodlum wouldn't want a million and a half bucks-worth of stolen goods in his pocket?”

  9. Khaptain Silver badge
    Unhappy

    And what about the bankers

    The current financial crisis has ensured that thousands of people have lost their homes, their jobs have been taken any hope that they had of living a reasonably comfortable life has been completely destroyed. In this day and age it is almost the equivalant of having your death warrant signed.

    Those that created and profited from this situation have lined their pockets, bankers, wall street traders, insurance companies etc and strangely enough none of them go to jail. Ok one or two puppet figures got slapped.

    And yet for some strange reason the powers that be decide to put someone into jail for 5 years for a crime for which no one will ever suffer. Although it might actually mean that one of the film studios bosses next yacht might only be 28m instead of 30m long.

    Justice seems to have lost all meaning.

    Society is pushing itself towards the edge of a very nasty situation. I just hope that I can avoid getting caught up in the backlash...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And what about the bankers

      Actually, I have seen corporate crisis plans in major cities that have started to incorporate riots as a medium level risk rather than the "low" it used to be, and a number of the bigger ones are working on developing mitigating strategies.

      We're not out of the recession, not by a long shot, mainly because the root causes have simply not been addressed. The US has engaged in quite an impressive effort of diversion where the entire planet is angry with tax havens instead of with Wall Street for causing yet again a global crisis (it's not exactly the first time). From a PR angle it's impressive, also because the US has a few of those tax havens itself..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And what about the bankers

      Justice applies to the rich and privileged.

      Steal a £5 you are a common criminal.

      Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

        .. and a knighthood ..

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
          Meh

          Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

          .. and a knighthood ..

          Loose £45 Billion and loose your knighthood (but keep your pension).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Justice seems to have lost all meaning"

    "I just hope that I can avoid getting caught up in the backlash..."

    Wise words. But it's not going to be easy. In the UK, when the backlash from the active part of the 99% does finally get serious, it may make the 2011 riots pale into insignificance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zccrskOqQ [Call IT Democracy : Bruce Cockburn]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      The solution is to privatise the prisons ..

      "it's not going to be easy. In the UK, when the backlash from the active part of the 99% does finally get serious"

      There is already in place a state security apparatus designed to contain such an eventuality. Privatised prisons and bogus ant-terrorism measures designed to harass the non-citizens not yet in prison... link link

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The solution is to privatise the prisons ..

        >ant-terrorism

        Phase Four?

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070531/

        Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the desert inhabitants

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2025 copyright notice

    Warning.Under Section 3A of the 2018 SOPA copyright infringement is a CAPITAL OFFENCE!

    Could happen the way things are going.

  12. David 45

    Over-reaction

    Sentence is way.....WAY.....OTT and out of all proportion to any alleged harm. Worst "crimes" than this are punished with a lot less severe sentence, which makes no sense to me. Hollywood and their cronies would doubtless like to hang them - and probably in public too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Over-reaction

      The hanging / executions are always done in the utmost of secrecy as the state doesn't want to be seen to do something often on a par with the original criminals crime.

      How many people does a country need to execute in a year to be considered a bad regime, is there a cut off point ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 years is not bad

    10 years would have been better but I guess he'll learn a lesson or two in 5 years in the slammer.

    1. Joe Montana
      FAIL

      Re: 5 years is not bad

      The only thing he will learn in jail, is how to commit other crimes. He will be in there with all manner of criminals, he will gain new criminal contacts and be taught all manner of illegal money making schemes. When he gets out of jail, he won't be able to get a legitimate job due to have a previous conviction, and so his only source of income will be the opportunities presented by his new knowledge and contacts.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I received an email...

    ...from a friend in the police, a few years ago.

    It was one of those chain emails that was being passed around the force and I no longer have a copy, but it went to the effect that, looking at the harshness of the possible sentences, you were much better off committing the likes of murder, rape, pederasty, and fraud rather than downloading a film off the internet, like.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Very true.

    "The only thing he will learn in jail, is how to commit other crimes. He will be in there with all manner of criminals, he will gain new criminal contacts and be taught all manner of illegal money making schemes. When he gets out of jail, he won't be able to get a legitimate job due to have a previous conviction, and so his only source of income will be the opportunities presented by his new knowledge and contacts."

    This is VERY true, VERY! I myself am not a felon, but I know several. They didn't do horrendous crimes like murder or rape, but they did do crimes that justify a felony. However, today, literally January 2013, they have not a chance of finding a job, NONE! I have discussed with a few of them in hopes to keep them out of jail on what NOT to do, however, what I tell them comes off sounding naive...and rightfully so.

    Shockingly, I was told similar to what Joe Montana mentioned, shocking in the sense that they might be better off going back to prison for "extended studies". I asked the person if that was wise, the response was "McDonalds won't even file my application." In today's world, there is no hiding or changing names or any other benefit one might of had 50 years ago when seeking a fresh start. The amount of rehabilitated inmates has been dropping year after year, for obvious reasons.

    Shit happens. Crimes do occur. That will never end. However, will a day come where there is so many ex-cons with no chance at a fresh start that being a ex-con in itself will be a crime? The amount of convicted criminals grows proportionality to those that have not been convicted, and there is a lot less convicted criminals than those that are convicted.

    In a nutshell: If you think you might go to prison, in today's world, you should seriously consider running. Because when you get out of prison, technology has made the chance at a fresh start virtually nil no matter how badly you want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very true.

      Hello MyBackDoor

      " I myself am not a felon"

      With a handle like yours, I'm relieved to know that.

      (sorry!)

  16. toadwarrior

    They deserve punishment

    They were definitely doing something wrong and deserve punishment but 5 years seems a bit much. Would it not be better to simply ban them from any internet usage for that time, probation and a hefty but realistic fine?

    Even if they were responsible for a significant chunk of pirated movies, 5 years out of society means they'll probably have to result to living off the government when they get out or more crime and people get less time for violent crimes and I just don't think someone should get less time for harming a human than recording movies even if I don't like piracy.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: They deserve punishment

      I agree with you but good luck explaining to the freetards that just because copyright infringement isn't theft doesn't somehow mean that it's right. They're too busy portraying themselves as Robin Hood types and suggesting copyright infringement should carry any sort of punishment, even when it's sensible and proportional, will likely get you more downvotes than you can count.

  17. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    Hopefully they'll be sent to a prison with regular Movie Nights...

    ...and a string vocational/educational program including Audio-Visual training - especially Movie Projector Operator, Videography, and Video Editing skill sets.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    WTF?

    5 years for copying a film!

    Then how long did the directors of Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and Captain America: The First Avenger get for making the tripe?

    20 years?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5 years for copying a film!

      >Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and Captain America: The First Avenger

      Ripley, Ellen: Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy those DVDs, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out.

      Burke,Carter J: That's the plan. You have my word...

      Ripley, Ellen: Then I'm in.

      ***

      Burke,Carter J: It was a bad call.

      Ripley, Ellen: BAD CALL???? THESE VIEWERS ARE DEAD BURKE!!!! DONT YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOUVE DONE HERE?!?!?!

  19. Suricou Raven

    Career change, and I suspect the NET act?

    Once he's done five years, plus gained the criminal flag of unemployability in legitimate occupation, he should have the skills and connections to start on a life of real crime.

    The article doesn't specify an exact law, but five years happens to be the maximum term specified in the NET act - and as the conviction was criminal, that was probably the law involved. That explains the tough sentence: That's the term for commercial, for pro-profit copyright infringement. Under the NET act though, the idea of commercial copyright infringement is broadened to also include supplying infringing works with the expectation of recieving other infringing works in return (which is common practice in the scene, there access to exclusive sites is made available only to those who can supply new releases quickly) and automatically makes it a criminal offence (Not merely civil) when the combined value of infringing works exceeeds $1000.

    I'm susprised he got the maximum sentence, considering it was a guilty plea - judges usually go a little easier on those. I can only guess that the prosecution were under some pressure to push for the toughest sentence they could get.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. running

    If I ever get my hyperdimensional bridge working, its going on the Net with a "How to build a get out of jail free device" quickstart guide, for all those who want a fresh start.

    Confucius he say, Karma's a b*tch.

  21. Criminny Rickets
    Trollface

    Downloading Movies

    Speaking of downloading movies off the internet. Since I already paid to go see the Hobbit in the Theatre only to find they have filled it with a lot of filler so they could split it up into three movies, does this mean I can legally download the other two parts off the internet?

  22. Martin
    Thumb Up

    I'm not exactly sympathetic to the perpetrators here.

    It's not like it was a once-off offence, or committed in the heat of the moment.

    This was a well-organized, professional scam, with a team of people involved. They had no dubious moral justification - this was a deliberate series of criminal acts, committed to make a profit.

    If they had instead executed a well-organized insurance scam for several years, or set up an insider-trading ring which ran for several years, they'd probably get similar sentences. To my mind, this is in the same sort of league. Deliberate, dishonest, consistent criminal behaviour for the sake of profit, and with no moral qualms whatsoever.

    Send 'em down.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: I'm not exactly sympathetic to the perpetrators here.

      > This was a well-organized, professional scam... committed to make a profit.

      I doubt it. Who wants to watch a "CAM"? Probably more politically motivated, if only a mis-placed sense of cool.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: I'm not exactly sympathetic to the perpetrators here.

      I agree with the "conscious criminals" statement, however..

      If they had instead executed a well-organized insurance scam for several years, or set up an insider-trading ring which ran for several years, they'd probably get similar sentences

      No. They would now be working for someone in Wall Street. That's the difference between "bail" and "bailed out".

    3. Jedit
      Pirate

      "This was a well-organized, professional scam committed to make a profit".

      True, but for the amount of effort involved, I don't think $15000 is a good return on the MPAA's investment.

  23. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Since the group were making money from the pirated films then i think the fines are appropriate but 5 years in jail? Jail should only be used for people who are a danger to society and need to be locked up, not for someone who made some poor quality copies of some hollywood tat.

    How much tax payers money does it cost to lock someone up for 5 years? I bet its a heck of a lot more than the $15000 fine he has to pay.

    1. pixl97

      costs

      It's between $50 and $60 a day in the U.S., $15k doesn't even cover 1 year. His prison time alone will cost over $100,000, that's not counting the costs of the trial.

  24. g e
    Holmes

    Wow. Harsh

    For a 'crime' that was _prevented_

    So no loss actually occurred yet he has to pay restitution for no damages on top of the farcical sentence for not actually harming anyone for conspiracy to do something which causes next to no harm (unless you believe the MAFIAA). He likely even paid for the cinema ticket, too.

    Seriously. BUY SECOND HAND.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the creator doesn't get a penny for this"

    tl;dr: the record company get around 60% of the purchase price of an iTunes download, the performer gets 10% if they're lucky. See any problems with that?

    Longer: Do you know how 'much' the creatives get from a legitimate purchase through official channels? The following numbers are for music and are several years old; if anyone has current ones for music, or similar figures for movies, they'd be most interesting.

    "iTunes downloads cost 79p per track. Writer/publisher get 6p, Performer 6-8p, Visa/Mastercard 7p, Apple 12p, and Record Company almost 50p. Sod that. Help yourself to my songs & share them with your friends" (formerly at http://www.tomrobinson.com/records/music/index.htm)"

    He's got similar info for the split for an iTunes album in a Guardian article which still is online at

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/12/post149

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: "the creator doesn't get a penny for this"

      So downloading is ok? Then they get nothing ...

      presumably the performer is an adult and knew the contract they were signing, and they are ok with this state of affairs ... Disagreeing with the business model is not An acceptable reason to help yourself for free.

  26. Redundent Asset
    FAIL

    Cinema is dying

    And quite rightly.

    After recently going to see the Hobbit at the local cineworld I doubt I will be returning for the second film. After getting in on time for the showing I had to sit through nearly 30 min of back to back ads for surface tablets phones and other crap. What happened to paying for a movie then it starting at the time advertised? Instead its hefty ticket price followed a crap loads of ads then don't pirate ads then trailers then the film.

    Would have been better waiting for the Blueray at least then I could have skipped the guff and would not have been stuck in a room that I can only describe smelled like fart sweat.

    1. Mick Stranahan
      WTF?

      Re: Cinema is dying

      Bollocks.

      If you don't like the cinema-going experience just don't go FFS. Nobody is forcing you. As you say, just buy the BD down the road. Take a look at recent box office numbers for Hobbit and Skyfall and you'll see "cinema" is far from dying which is good news for the millions of us who go regularly and enjoy it.

      As for the rest of the pissing and moaning, if you do something you know to be illegal you have to live with the consequences even if you think the punishment is excessive. If you disagree, campaign to change the law.

      Is the law perfect? No. If sentencing always proportionate? No. Is incarceration productive in the long run from a societal point of view? Probably not. Do we as adults know these things before we step over the line? Yes.

      Grow up.

    2. stanimir

      Re: Cinema is dying

      The cinema is not dying but you have to get drinks, e.g. Bloody Mary/Whiskey,beers invokes toilet visits, so not recommended and enter 15minuts after the declared time.

      Actually if I go to see a movie and don't get proper (and enough incl. during the projection) drinks I consider it wasted time.

      On the topic: 5years for copyright infringement is totally out of proportion. ("Piracy" happens in the high sees) and who the heck watches CAM?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That sucks

    He should have gotten at least 7 years in the pen.

  28. igottheflag

    Freetards huh?

    I love the excuses of freetards for stealing movies, music or whatever else they feel like taking. Do artists get a bad deal from music corps? Sure.. so lets make that better by stealing the few cents per song they would get if we weren't a bunch of thieving chavs.

    And oh.. wow.. the big bad movie industry.. they definitely deserve everything they get.. because, you know, even the cameramen and makeup artists get the same millions as everyone else.

    What surprises me is it's always someone elses job to pay for a movie, thus generating the guilt-free concept that it's okay to blag a copy because they're making money hand over fist without my contribution.

    I said this before and I'll say it again.. some people deserve groups like the MPAA and these guys are some of them.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get some perspective FFS!

    They copied some content - nobody died, no babies were eaten, no women were raped, no old dears got battered for their pensions, nobody lost an eye.

    Some film content got copied and shared - big deal. When you pay £30 for a family of 4 to see some reconstituted shit in 3D and £6 for popcorn, I don't feel overly sympathetic to the movie studios if some people watch a copy of their content for free.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    political prisoner

  31. Gareth Perch

    I heard (from someone that used to work as a projectionist) that cinema's make very little, if anything from the ticket prices, which is why the food and drink costs so much.

    My home setup is far better than the last Odeon I visited. I complained and got free tickets (although I haven't been back since to use them) because the room was uncomfortably cold (the air con was broken), the bass speakers had blown (distorted sound), you could see the shadow of the fixings holding the screen up through the screen, there was banging going on during the film (they were fixing the air con) and there was the standard problem of bleed through of the bass from the screen next door. Couple that with the usual games of chance: will there be idiots on mobile phones or other disrespectful people spoiling it for others and along with the cost, hassle to get there and back and the fact that the blu-ray release isn't far behind these days means I haven't been to the cinema for years. I wait for the blu-ray and buy that instead. I considered The Hobbit to check out the new technology (I'll only consider IMAX these days, as the higher price usually means a better experience and less idiots in the audience) but at this rate I'll probably end up waiting for the blu-ray of that too. The only film that I feel may have been worthy of the full cinema experience that I waited (and waited) for the home release of was Prometheus.

    From what I've seen, the sort of people that are content with a cam copy would definitely not have paid to see it at the cinema. It's hard to believe that people still accept that level of quality. I'd blame the (lossy) MP3 generation, but (from what I've seen at least) it's often their parents, especially those who are poorer and less technically savvy that find this method of delivery acceptable. Then they claim the movie is rubbish because (unsurprisingly) the fuzzy copy they saw didn't show off the $100,000,000 special effects. On the other hand, perhaps that makes for a levelling of the playing field, requiring a decent story (something quite rare in Hollywood, where proven revenue streams and sequels are king).

    Perhaps Kickstarter for movies is the future - I'm looking forward to Elite: Dangerous in 2014. That's where a fair chunk of my cinema money has gone (and on blu-rays, once the price is acceptable - early adopters are burned for double dips and extortionate over pricing e.g. the Alien box set, The LoTR theatrical set - I've learned my lesson and will wait from now on). Have I deprived Hollywood of a sale?!

  32. Lord Zedd
    Thumb Down

    So, no good films then? – Ed

    Ed, please keep your personal opinions out of articles. This is a journalistic website, not a blog.

  33. Cyberelic

    'Won't get fooled again'

    Went to a cinema a while ago, big screen, fancy seats, free nibbles in the waiting area etc.

    The sound was absolutely appalling, so load and booming and banging. The movie seemed to be slightly out of focus, there was motion blur, and most importantly was several degrees too dark. All the darker detail was all stuffed right up.

    Went to another cinema, in a different part of town more recently. Smaller place, much steeper slope to climb, really ridiculous prices for food and drink.

    Even more of an assault on the ears, noticeable damage to the screen, similarly badly projected, detail all dark and blocked up.

    NEVER EVER AGAIN will I go into a cinema. They are just total nasty rip offs.

    Whatever the movie, I can wait for the bluray to come out, where I can watch it in a civilised fashion.

    P.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was it worth it?

    The all important question: Was it worth it?

    It would appear that some folks are dying to go to prison.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Was it worth it?

      Well, once he has a rap sheet, he can finally become a true rapper.

  35. Dragon Leaves
    FAIL

    Fascism

    When the guys with the money gets the guys with the guns to do what they want it's called Fascism. When an online pirate gets more time than a bankster defrauding billions, its Fascism. Oh, what has become of America?

  36. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Stop

    Not just movies

    In the (UK) press the other day there were articles about how the rise in digital downloads, both legal and not, when compared to the reduction in CD sales is virtual proof that illegal downloads are crippling the music industry.

    No mention that we're in an effing recession, transport (rail and petrol) prices are shooting up massively above inflation and along with rising food and fuel bills a lot of people have better things to spend money on than overpriced and, subjectively, all too often poor quality music.

  37. ratfox Silver badge
    Devil

    Doublespeak

    "…helping to reassure consumers that the movies and TV shows they watch online are legitimate and secure, not stolen…"

    This reminds me a lot of the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage whose stated goal was to reassure users that their Windows software was not pirated. Completely ignoring the fact that mostly, end users and consumers don't give a shit about whether their copy is legitimate, they just don't want to be assumed guilty.

  38. Leigh Geary

    I took my son to see Rise Of The Guardians at the local Odean. There were three showings of the 3D version and only one showing of the 2D version. I paid 21 quid (with the glasses) for tickets, nearly 3 quid to park and then got 8 quid lifted out of my wallet for a hot dog and a small water. I can't see how these pirates managed to keep copying the films myself :) It's an expensive business!

  39. mark 63 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "nothing was stolen"

    "nothing was stolen"

    "they charge too much"

    "they dont understand the market"

    "cinema tickets cost too much"

    "it didnt come out here same time as us"

    "tickets are cheaper in US"

    winge winge winge

    Get a fucking grip freetards - you are stealing, even if you dont sell / pass it on.

    Even if you dont stop - just admit it to yourselves, stfu in guilty silence and stop trying to defend your actions

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