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Two Birmingham Men Are Arrested By UK's New Intellectual Property Crime Unit

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the new-law-&-order-show-already-in-pre-production dept.

United Kingdom 201

cervesaebraciator writes "The Guardian reports that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has arrested two men from Birmingham and have seized 'suspected counterfeit DVD box sets worth around £40,000, including titles such as Game of Thrones, CSI and Vampire Diaries.' The claim is that the men were buying foreign counterfeit copies and selling them online as genuine. London police commissioner Adriad Leppard offers commentary indicative of the thinking behind these efforts, saying, 'Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.' The article offers £51 billion as an estimate for the cost of illegal downloading to the music, film, and software industry, a figure they say will triple by 2015." Meanwhile, Netflix is paying attention to piracy via torrent sites as well. The difference is that they're using that data to decide what shows they should buy.

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201 comments

i don't get it (2, Interesting)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#44854243)

i don't get it. can somebody provide insights into why this is a big deal and is on slashdot? criminals break law, get arrested. what is the sizzle here?

Re:i don't get it (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854259)

The "sizzle" is that these laws are awful, as are all copyright and patent laws. People who expect monopolies over ideas and data maintained by government violence are the most entitled brats I've ever seen.

Re:i don't get it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854333)

Woah.. as much as I really hate the copyright kingpins... these guys were selling counterfeit items. They were making money off from other people's work.

It's not the same as the ridiculous crackdowns on people who download a fucking song and find themselves being sued for thousands in damages.

Re:i don't get it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854377)

They were making money off from other people's work.

They were selling a product that people decided to buy. All they had to do was copy the original data over and over, so no theft was involved; there were no damages.

I can't stand hypocrites who think that selling copyrighted works is magically harmful, but copying it freely is not. Either you are pro-freedom or you are not; if you support copyright, you support censorship and the loss of control over private property.

Re:i don't get it (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44854409)

They were mis-describing it when they sold it, if you read TFA. That's bad because it means that the purchasers weren't making an informed decision. By and large, counterfeit box-sets will have lower quality packaging etc than the originals. If they're just burns of TV-rips, then they may also have on-screen network watermarks and other artifacts missing from the official home release.

Plus the people buying it might actually have wanted their money to go to the creators of the show. Even if you're the neckbeard type who believes that all intellectual property is theft, you don't want to say that selling by deception is right?

Re:i don't get it (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854561)

Even if you're the neckbeard type who believes that all intellectual property is theft

You're trying to damn somebody you don't agree with by association. Enough with the propaganda. They are not a neckbeard and your implication that it's a fringe group that ignores so-called "intellectual property" is laughable. The vast majority of the population copies illegally, particularly the young. And it's close to 100% in the third world.

Pretty much the only people who take "IP" seriously are the legal copiers, the distributors, because current copyright favors them over everybody else in society. Including the creators.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44855133)

Wait a minute: Are you telling me it's "OK" to sell something you don't have license to?
Somehow, your duplicating a CD / DVD is worth the money covering creators' expenses?

People selling counterfet are the Real Pirates, and IMHO should be prevented from making illegal transactions.
It's the way it should be, because they don't have the right to make profit on it.

Private copying/borrowing and Fair Use is something else entirely, since it does not involve monetary (currency) transactions.
Btw, where were you in the 80s and 90s? This is old knowledge.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44855167)

Btw, where were you in the 80s and 90s? This is old knowledge.

Swimming in dad's scrotum, almost ended up in mom's rectum!

Re:i don't get it (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#44854431)

The people buying them intended to give that money to the legal owners. These people pretended to be that, so yes, they should be punished.

If they would have said that they were selling copies, then you would have been right and that would have been a different discussion.

e.g. If I buy a watch and I pay 10.000USD because it is a Rolex and afterward it isn't a Rolex, then I have been mislead and the Rolex company has been illegally taken away income.

If they say upfront that it isn't a Rolex (and even indicate it as a Rolox or Rollex or whatever) and I depart from my 10.000USD (or 10USD) then there is no problem.

So for me it has nothing to do with copyright.

Re:i don't get it (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#44854637)

Running "extra" parts off real assembly lines, in violation of contract, is commonplace and a source of much counterfeit goods.

The companies run the assembly lines under contract, and they are not supposed to run anything beyond what the property holder wants. They often do, and the "counterfeit" ones even have the trademark stamps on them. But aside from cutting into profits in violation of your contract to run the assembly line, in the case of replacement parts for cars and planes, they can use inferior, i.e. cheaper, metals, or be lax or skip testing, and ship it.

So even if someone told you they were selling a "fake Rolex", it might not be the product of someone else's development effort. And this all neglects trademark, copyrighted or patented look-and-feel, and all that other good stuff.

Re:i don't get it (4, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 10 months ago | (#44854747)

I think the point is that as the end user all you care about is that you get what you're paying for. Extra runs, or overseas imports (grey market items) are common place and I have no problem purchasing them when they are advertised (and priced) as such.

I did have a problem one day when I bought a Nikon lens from a reputable source and after finding a problem with it Nikon wouldn't honour the warranty claim because it was a grey import. I was pissed despite being the owner of several grey market lenses. I went back to the store and demanded they replace the product and told them I will call Nikon afterwards and check the serial number of the replacement too.

They were apologetic. The lens was very cheap originally though.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44854881)

Fuck the "property holders", seriously. The equipment is there to produce, people are willing to produce, yet someone arbitrarily assigned the privilege to restrict others' behaviour is not letting production happen.

Re:i don't get it (2)

expatriot (903070) | about 10 months ago | (#44854959)

This is why Slashdot isn't worth reading anymore.
I clicked on this just to remind myself how silly the comments would be on this.

Re:i don't get it (-1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#44854999)

"I am old and comfortable now, and can't bear the thought of progress, because it might disturb my cosy and protected corner of the world."

you're not supposed to get it (5, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 10 months ago | (#44855081)

There's deliberate mixing of issues going on. This new unit is supposed to police "illegal downloads" and "counterfeit DVDs". There's a huge difference between a counterfeit of a physical item, and a digital copy. As you say, counterfeits can be of inferior quality. Counterfeits are fraudulently misrepresented as the real thing.

I have no problem with going after counterfeits. What I object to is calling this an "intellectual property" enforcement action, as if there is no difference between busting a counterfeit goods operation, and busting ordinary citizens sharing data. They should call the crime what it is, fraud, and not try to say the chief crime was copyright violation. Physical items were misrepresented. These items happen to be media that contain copyrighted data. Money was fraudulently collected, by deliberately fostering a misunderstanding of where that money was going. Some buyers may have figured out their game, but undoubtedly, many buyers thought they were supporting the artists.

Many people purchase physical media not because they are compelled to, but because they genuinely want to support the artists, and that's the only means the idiot industry has blessed. Yes, the industry grudgingly allows downloading for a price, but they don't like it. A purchase of physical media is really a donation to the artists. Let's not pretend that the content can't be easily copied for free. Pretending to collect donations for some cause, and then pocketing the money, is fraud and theft. Big Media loves it whenever that kind of crime is equated with simple downloading. Most file sharers are not trying to misrepresent the data in any way at all, or collect money. Unfortunately, there are plenty who try to use downloading as a vehicle to commit other crimes, such as injecting viruses into computer systems. And they get away with it because they know no one is busting people for that, not when the attitude is that the "thieving" downloaders got what they deserved.

Once again, Big Media has tricked government into wasting taxpayer money on trying to force their sick, dark fantasy world of total ownership of all content on the public. This new police unit should at the least be given a more accurate name, and its duties more carefully defined. Or it should be dismantled. Too much chance that they will now wade into file sharing, seeing rampant crime everywhere in activities that shouldn't be criminal at all. Police are wont to see crimes where none exist, out of sheer self-interest. They get to stay employed that way. They're real suckers for sob stories of alleged victimization of those poor little giant media conglomerates, I mean, starving artists, by mean, delinquent teenage pirates.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44855091)

That's not counterfeit. That's the genuine article, but stolen.

Re:i don't get it (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44854671)

how does that scam cost the economy as a whole anything though?

these guys were probably dodging VAT too though.

Re: i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854731)

As for the economy they were not hurting anything. The economy was just fine the money was just in somebody else's hand. They saw a hole in the market and filled it.

Besides, entertainment weather its music or movies or what have you should be free any ways. It was stories passed on person to person and should be again.

Re: i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854811)

It was stories passed on person to person and should be again.

Nobody, not even modern IP law, prevents you from telling stories for free.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854829)

It doesn't hurt the economy at all. It's just money in somebody else's pocket. They spend money just like the rest of us. They found a need in the market and they filled that need.

Besides, entertainment should be free. Music and stories were a way to cope with life back when there was no "entertainment industry". It was free back then and its an absolute tragedy that we have to pay for it now. While the people who make this entertainment should be compensated for their work, they shouldn't "robe" the people of their hard earned money either.

While movies are not music, if I wanted to support the artist i'd go to a live concert. The artists only make cents on CD sales where they make considerably more (still not much though).

Re:i don't get it (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44854911)

If they say upfront that it isn't a Rolex (and even indicate it as a Rolox or Rollex or whatever) and I depart from my 10.000USD (or 10USD) then there is no problem.

So if you can detect clearly enough that it is not original Rolex, selling counterfeit products is somehow okay?

There is still a free market to create and sell cheap watches. Just use your own brand name and don't rip off others.

Also many nice and reasonably priced products wouldn't exist if the makers didn't have protection for their trademark.

Re:i don't get it (2)

Camembert (2891457) | about 10 months ago | (#44854435)

They were making money off from other people's work.

They were selling a product that people decided to buy. All they had to do was copy the original data over and over, so no theft was involved; there were no damages.

I can't stand hypocrites who think that selling copyrighted works is magically harmful, but copying it freely is not. Either you are pro-freedom or you are not; if you support copyright, you support censorship and the loss of control over private property.

It is pretty hypocritical to state that there were no damages because there was no theft in the traditional sense of the word.
They make lots of money on the effort of the movie company without the latter getting any compensation. Why would that be fair or even that overused phrase "fair use"? It is not a case of someone selling their official dvds.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854445)

> no theft in the traditional sense of the word.

That's because it isn't theft.
It's not "murder" in the traditional sense of the word either.
Buy yourself a dictionary.

Re:i don't get it (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44854945)

Buy yourself a dictionary.

Will a torrent do? ;)

Re:i don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854545)

It is pretty hypocritical to state that there were no damages because there was no theft in the traditional sense of the word.

How is that hypocritical? And that's not why I said there were no damages; there were no damages because all they did was copy and it had no effect on the original creators. Not gaining something != a loss, so you can't claim that that's harm.

Re:i don't get it (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 10 months ago | (#44854683)

Not gaining something != a loss, so you can't claim that that's harm.

So when an orange farmer gets hit by a late frost, all the blossoms die off, and the farmer no longer gains the crop of delicious fruit... that somehow is not a loss?

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854709)

> no longer gains the crop of delicious fruit... that somehow is not a loss?

Somehow? This idiocy is the root cause.

You never gained something to lose. That is correct. Your expectations were not met and you want to blame someone. That has no bearing on reality. You could have made extreme changes to the environment (build a concrete dome around it and heat it) to insure against this. You didn't choose to invest in this due to cost. That's a tradeoff. Your definition of gain and loss are woefully ignorant. So at least you have something in common with most industrial law.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 10 months ago | (#44854725)

So you plan to arrest the weather?

That's an inherent risk of doing that kind of business, and when your business involves making copies and selling them at huge margin then someone else making copies and selling them is also a risk.

Notice you only ever get "counterfeit" goods when the originals are sold with unreasonable margins... Designer clothes don't cost more to produce than generic ones, they are just sold for a much higher price. If they were sold at a reasonable price relative to their production cost then there would be no profit to be made selling copies.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Kijori (897770) | about 10 months ago | (#44855159)

What's your definition of "unreasonable margins", though? I would expect counterfeit goods to exist wherever the sale price is above the marginal cost of production; but since the marginal cost of production excludes things like design costs, that would suggest that anything where significant effort has gone into design would be vulnerable to counterfeiting. Does that mean they all have "unreasonable margins"?

Re:i don't get it (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854743)

So... the blossoms never existed to begin with?

Re:i don't get it (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about 10 months ago | (#44854437)

Well, I guess I'm not a hypocrite, since I think selling or freely copying copyrighted works is wrong. But it's absurd to claim profiting on someone else's work is not worse than just copying it. If someone copies a movie for free it's hard to justify the studio claims that they lost money because someone "would have paid for it" - who knows if the "consumer" would have bothered to watch it if they had to pay. But if someone copies a movie and SELLS IT FOR MONEY then obviously that question was answered and the studio has a valid point...

And I can't imagine how the hell you think preventing you from copying someone else's original work is censorship, let alone "loss of control of private property" - which is inherently idiotic because now you are trying to claim content both is and is not "private property". At least if it's not then it is (in non-commercial piracy cases, at least) a civil issue. If it *is* then it becomes the same as stealing a car and then would be criminal theft!

Re:i don't get it (2)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854559)

If someone copies a movie for free it's hard to justify the studio claims that they lost money because someone "would have paid for it" - who knows if the "consumer" would have bothered to watch it if they had to pay. But if someone copies a movie and SELLS IT FOR MONEY then obviously that question was answered and the studio has a valid point...

That's absurd. You didn't consider the possibility that the 'fake' products might be sold at a lower price, might be more convenient, or that the creators of the product haven't yet made it available in the country that the 'fakes' are being sold in.

Besides, not gaining something is not the same as losing something, so even if people would have bought the products otherwise, that does not mean harm was done.

Re:i don't get it (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 10 months ago | (#44854649)

the 'fake' products might be sold at a lower price

A lower price is still a price. "We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price..."

might be more convenient

This is the UK. How on earth is "some dude selling counterfeit movies" more convenient than the other gazillion ways to buy them?

the creators of the product haven't yet made it available in the country that the 'fakes' are being sold in.

Game of Thrones (one of the DVD sets counterfeited) is available on amazon.uk.

Any other pointless, incorrect hypotheticals? This was a specific story about counterfeit DVDs in the UK. I don't need to consider any "possibilities" because I actually RTFA. And if you now feel like actually going back and reading TFA, note that in another post (well, and really also in this one) I already said the other numbers quoted for general industry "loss" are stupid, and in fact should be a completely different discussion from basic counterfeiting.

Besides, not gaining something is not the same as losing something, so even if people would have bought the products otherwise, that does not mean harm was done.

If a movie studio (or game company, etc) spends $100M+ making a product and expects to get at least that much a return on sales but pirates copy and SELL the product for their own profit, that sure as hell does harm to the original producer of the content. If there are no laws or enforcement of that, there is no motivation to invest in large entertainment projects. I mean jesus christ. This is such a stupid argument. A movie in fact *is* entertainment, not some fundamental component of life. If you don't want to support the creator, don't watch it. How simple is that?

Re:i don't get it (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854741)

A lower price is still a price.

And? The customer might not have bought it if the price were higher.

This is the UK.

You spoke as if you were talking in general.

Any other pointless, incorrect hypotheticals?

How is that pointless or incorrect?

If a movie studio (or game company, etc) spends $100M+ making a product and expects to get at least that much a return on sales but pirates copy and SELL the product for their own profit, that sure as hell does harm to the original producer of the content.

How does that relate to what I said? The amount of money the movie studios chose to spend is irrelevant to the point I made. They lose nothing tangible due copyright infringement. If these companies lose anything, they lose it of their own volition when choosing to make the products in the first place.

If there are no laws or enforcement of that, there is no motivation to invest in large entertainment projects.

You cannot say what a world without copyright and such would be like; you can only spew forth random speculations.

That said, I find it funny how a few sentences later you say that it is just entertainment...

This is such a stupid argument.

To you, perhaps.

A movie in fact *is* entertainment, not some fundamental component of life.

Yes, and? Who said otherwise?

If you don't want to support the creator, don't watch it. How simple is that?

If you don't want to risk not making more money than you spent assembling the data, don't do it. How simple is that? No government monopolies required!

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854763)

Unfortunately your answer requires no locking people in cages while the parent's does.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854749)

> and expects to get at least that much

How on earth do other people's expectations figure into this?
Expectations are based on a countless number of variables that amount to guesses without bounds.

Re:i don't get it (5, Funny)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44854459)

They were selling a product that people decided to buy. All they had to do was copy the original data over and over, so no theft was involved; there were no damages.

I can't stand hypocrites who think that selling copyrighted works is magically harmful, but copying it freely is not. Either you are pro-freedom or you are not; if you support copyright, you support censorship and the loss of control over private property.

Oookay. Now I can conclude that the views on piracy of some people here really have reached insane levels.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854721)

> I can conclude that the views on piracy of some people here really have reached insane levels.

I can conclude that you're a spokesperson for the typical ignorant public.

Re: i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854735)

You must be new to slashdot. Such views are the kool aid you need to drink to join the club.

At the end of the day, you just want to slap such people and say.. Look.. We get it.. You like to download pirated stuff. Plase spare us the pseudophilosophical nonsense rationalizations of it all!

Re: i don't get it (1)

sharklasers (3047537) | about 10 months ago | (#44854861)

Indeed. There seems to be some idea that it's the dumb, uneducated public who believes piracy is wrong and if they only did some research and opened their minds, they'd change their opinion.

Well I have done my research, lots of it, and weighted the different opinions and positions out there, and I still believe that despite the fucktard behavior of certain companies and organizations, it's still a reasonable concept that if someone is offering a product for some cost, and you are interested in purchasing said product, you should either pay for it. If you cannot, GO WITHOUT. There's plenty of free entertainment and good entertainment out there - it's just the push by the media to ensure you keep spending your money. If you can't, then don't. It's not that hard and it ensure you don't end up a hypocrite.

Re:i don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854673)

I can't stand hypocrites

You're stupid. There's a massive difference between someone selling another person's work for profit without them being involved or benefiting... and sharing a fucking song.

Sharing is a perfectly natural part of human culture - it has NEVER damaged an artist in the slightest, on the contrary it has boosted many careers. Stopping casual sharing requires pure unadulterated fascism and control.

Re:i don't get it (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854755)

There's a massive difference between someone selling another person's work for profit without them being involved or benefiting... and sharing a fucking song.

And that would be...? In the situation where the data is freely shared, the people downloading it may or may not have bought the product if they could not download it freely. The same is true of situations where someone sold them the data, but as the customers have shown they're willing to spend some amount of money, the chance that the customers would have bought the original product might be slightly higher. I see no "massive" difference.

How is selling the data so much more evil?

Stopping casual sharing requires pure unadulterated fascism and control.

So does copyrights and patents in general; they seek to control what most people can do with their own property, and copyright in particular can involve censorship.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854969)

They were making money off from other people's work.

They were selling a product that people decided to buy. All they had to do was copy the original data over and over, so no theft was involved; there were no damages.

I can't stand hypocrites who think that selling copyrighted works is magically harmful, but copying it freely is not. Either you are pro-freedom or you are not; if you support copyright, you support censorship and the loss of control over private property.

No it's not right. A song for yourself is not the same as selling a song you don't own; (selling it as one's own isn't addressed in this reply).
Posting as an Anonymous Coward says you don't even stand behind the hypocrisy you claim. So many analogies one could use as examples,
have your ever heard of anybody being arrested for possession of drugs with intent to give them away?

- and why I posted as AC :}

Re:i don't get it (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 10 months ago | (#44854897)

They were making money off from other people's work.

Slashdot thinks this is awesome! Look at how people are worshipping Kim Dotcom like some kind of hero.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44855101)

There really is no excuse for copying material and selling it as your own, making profit from it.
This is exactly the type of businesses they should go after, not making real customers' lives miserable for buying their products.

Re:i don't get it (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44854335)

I have no idea. Stories like this have been a stock feature in local papers here in the UK ever since home video recorders came onto the market, usually centered on raids on car boot sales or dodgy market stalls. Maybe it's the "selling online" thing? Though dodgy DVDs being sold as genuine online is hardly a new thing either and has always been something you've known you have to look out for on Ebay and the like.

Maybe it's because it's in the Guardian? There's a certain type of person who takes everything that paper writes as the judgement of God. But I'm not even sure why the Guardian decided to pick up on this story. If it wants to convince the public at large that people being arrested for flogging dodgy DVDs is a new and globally significant assault on civil liberties, then it's going to face an uphill struggle.

Re:i don't get it (2)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 10 months ago | (#44854479)

I suspect because they're the first arrests made by a new unit dedicated to IP related crimes. They were literally their first arrests as a unit.

Re:i don't get it (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#44854521)

Is it somehow controversial that this division made the arrest? I think the crime itself seems cut and dried bootlegging. Is this unit controversial?

Re:i don't get it (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 10 months ago | (#44854767)

Maybe its to do with the cost of policing this?
http://www.prospects.ac.uk/police_officer_salary.htm [prospects.ac.uk]

  Salaries vary between forces but the typical starting salary for police constables in England and Wales is £22,680 on commencing service and £25,317 on completion of the initial training period. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the typical starting salary is £23,259, rising to £25,962 after the intial training period.
Range of typical salaries after several years' experience: £35,610 - £40,020 (sergeant); £45,624 - £49,488 (inspector); £51,789 - £53,919 (chief inspector).
London weighting up to £6,501 and additional competency-related threshold payments are available for all ranks.

those figures are from 2012 but it does seem a bit of a waste of tax payers money for meagre returns. Regular police have been busting counterfeiters for years at Sunday markets much cheaper than a dedicated unit. HM customs probably seize more than that daily. How many stolen cars does it take to exceed these losses? Cowboy builders regularly take more than this from home owners yet they rarely get prosecuted.

Who benefits from this new special unit?

Not saying these two guys should get away with it, just a heck of a big sledge hammer to crack two very insignificant nuts.

Re:i don't get it (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 10 months ago | (#44854539)

i don't get it. can somebody provide insights into why this is a big deal and is on slashdot? criminals break law, get arrested. what is the sizzle here?

The sizzle here is that this is a sane application of IP law. We don't hear of such things much these days.

Re:i don't get it (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#44854595)

why this is a big deal and is on slashdot?

You must be nude here.

Here's why this story is on Slashdot:

  • 1) A Slashdot reader thought it was News for Nerds and posted the story.
  • 2) Some other Slashdot readers voted it up under the Submissions sections
  • 3) Some other Slashdot readers, like yourself, didn't read the Submissions section and didn't vote it down.
  • 4) A Slashdot editor looked at the votes and read the article . . . and then decided to post it.
  • 5) Putin wins.

That, is how a story gets posted on Slashdot.

It's the best of News for Nerds, because the folks who read the Submissions think it is.

You don't like the stories? Read the Submissions, and vote down what you don't like.

Re: i don't get it (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 10 months ago | (#44854639)

> You must be nude here.

Hey if people want to read /. in their birthday suit more power to them but sometimes there really is T.M.I (too much information) as your fetish for others to be nude here :)

Re:i don't get it (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 10 months ago | (#44854625)

Slashdot has traditionally been very anti-intellectual property, and very much against harsh punishments and waste of police resources for those who break the law.

Really though, I think most regulars here are a little less in favour of commercial piracy.

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854751)

"Intellectual property" is an oxymoron (US copyright is not granted on the basis that there are any natural property rights in works). The content cartels are very quick to scream "theft" and "stealing" about things that are NOT "theft" or "stealing", including both infringement, and uses that have been declared legal by the courts.

That said, if someone is making counterfeit copies during the copyright monopoly period of a product that is readily available, distributing them, and selling them as official product to people who believe that they are buying the "official" product, that is EXACTLY what the harsh punishments in the copyright, counterfeiting, and fraud laws are supposed to be for!

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854875)

The Police Commissioner is both ignorant and wrong for making ridiculous assertions with no factual basis .

He should first read the book the Great British Tax Robbery. Then http://www.icij.org/offshore.
Then he should be sending these IP tax scam thieves to the tower.

Tax robbery is already costing billions of pounds, and doing FAR more harm.

'Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.'

If he was clever, and it is confirmed that the 'entertainment industry is not paying hundreds of millions of pounds in income tax, then the priority should be elsewhere .. .

We are here to protect you (2)

Synon (847155) | about 10 months ago | (#44854271)

Who do I have to pay to get corporate police?

Re:We are here to protect you (4, Funny)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 10 months ago | (#44854947)

Police can be bought at any of these fine websites:

http://www.conservatives.com/ [conservatives.com]
http://www.labour.org.uk/ [labour.org.uk]
http://www.libdems.org.uk/ [libdems.org.uk]

Committed a crime against humanity and could use some support? Are you a mass murderer willing to pay for some publicity whore of a soulless cunt to shake your hand while telling the world of your indefatigability? Are you sickened by discrimination against people who want to kill jews in a hail of shrapnel on a crowded bus?

Yes to any of the above? You need George Galloway. Mr Galloway has over 10 years experience of representing his interests in elected office. Remember our catchy jingle! "If the cheque clears and you're not a Jew, there's no end of things George can do for you!"

http://www.votegeorgegalloway.com/ [votegeorgegalloway.com]

How does this hurt England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854281)

Ho does the pirating of some american TV shows hurt englands economy?

Disclaimer: I am neither English or American.

Re:How does this hurt England? (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 10 months ago | (#44854507)

In this case, fraud - they were buying counterfeits and selling them as if they were genuine. They were deceiving consumers into believing they were buying something they weren't. That's a definite attack on English consumers, even if it doesn't hurt their economy per se.

Re:How does this hurt England? (2)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 10 months ago | (#44854511)

It harms the bit of it that's reselling the genuine articles, as they lose out on sales, which has a knock on effect on various things, such as being able to maintain a profitable business, paying your employees, collecting VAT...on which point, I suspect the gentlemen in question were almost certainly not collecting VAT on their sales; so that's denying HMRC tax revenue. And I'm willing to bet they either weren't paying import duty on the DVDs or they weren't paying the correct import duty.

Re:How does this hurt England? (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854577)

How does that harm them? They never had the money to begin with.

Re:How does this hurt England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44855173)

Competition never harmed anyone, right?

Are you daft or just full of it (self-justification)?

Re:How does this hurt England? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 10 months ago | (#44854707)

They didn't pay VAT or import duties (which doesn't really apply since the products weren't real), costing the economy a miniscule amount and you're all "grr, thieving bastards" whereas you're fine with the *billions* Vodaphone costs the economy by not paying tax?

Re:How does this hurt England? (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 10 months ago | (#44855067)

How on earth did you decide I had no problem with Vodaphone?

Re: How does this hurt England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854773)

As if amazon or plat pays their taxes?! Instead of saying they are based in gibraltar or guernsey or some such place.

Re: How does this hurt England? (1)

ted leaf (2960563) | about 10 months ago | (#44854913)

and the fact that there is no british film industry,its just eastern hollywood,any profits go straight out of gb. anyone want to tell me how much tax warners have paid in gb ? i bet they have paid in tax about 10% in taxes of the billions they have extracted from the british public purse,they get local government help,central gov help,tax breaks and then just defraud the rest. i worked at leavesden studio while potter crap was being made but only being a thick local yocal gardener i cannot understand them when they discuss big business in the main meeting room with the windows open.

Re:How does this hurt England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854785)

Well, you're saying England, not Britain, so... are you Welsh? Ah, bloody hell....

Not really slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854321)

But since i'm here...

Doesn't the U.S. conversely have (had) like provisions for fair use sharing being permitted for shows not sold in our 'region'?

In the UK, 40,000$ in counterfeit stuff is going to be a nice cushy 10 yr sentence in a very nice UK jail where they will likely play video games all day. And probably have holidays and do community work.

Re:Not really slashdot... (3, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44854367)

No, neither the US nor the UK has any provisions saying that "if a show isn't sold in this country, copyright doesn't apply to it". Even if it did, that wouldn't apply in this case, as you can buy DVD box-sets of all of those shows in the UK.

Of course, there are instances where copyright holders take a relaxed view of whether or not to pursue people from territories they don't operate in downloading their stuff. Anime's probably the biggest example here; the odds of being sued for torrenting fansubs of an anime show that isn't licensed in the West are next to zero (though the people who upload them in Japan can and do get prosecuted over there). Even if the show is licensed, you're still much less likely to get hit than you might be with Western shows. The main reason why? Overseas sales are so marginal to the business model for making these shows that it's not worth the cost of cross-border prosecutions. Plus watching the popularity of torrents is, as referenced with Netflix in the summary, sometimes an indicator of which shows are worth licensing for a Western distributor.

But that isn't to say that they couldn't go after people in the West downloading their shows, or even that it hasn't happened. We've seen a harder line on people torrenting Ghost in the Shell material (certainly to the extent of chasing fansub groups, if not individual downloaders) - possibly because GitS is a bit more "made for export" than the norm.

Re:Not really slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854429)

Thanks for the informative response =)

51 billion?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854325)

an unauthorized/unlicensed download does not equal a lost sale. is it that hard a concept to comprehend?

Re:51 billion?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854353)

an unauthorized/unlicensed download does not equal a lost sale. is it that hard a concept to comprehend?

Not at all. But it's a very convenient concept to ignore when you're grossly exaggerating your losses...

Re:51 billion?? (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 10 months ago | (#44854451)

is it that hard a concept to comprehend?

It is a terribly hard thing to make a man understand a concept when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it.

Re:51 billion?? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 10 months ago | (#44854457)

Yup, that number is just unbelievably stupid - it's basically equal to the entire world entertainment industry, so they are claiming without piracy they's make 2x the revenue. Yeah, right, dream on...

But on the other hand, this article overall was NOT about "unauthorized downloading", it was about pirates arrested for SELLING COUNTERFEIT DVDs, which is so obviously not a debatable copyright issue it's getting pretty absurd. Do these two mostly unrelated issues have to be conflated EVERY TIME by the media (and slashdot)? I guess both the mainsteam media and slashdot deserves what they get (which should be ridicule from both reasonable ends of the issue) if they want to use obvious criminal activities to argue for or against these made up statistics...

Re:51 billion?? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44854519)

an unauthorized/unlicensed download does not equal a lost sale. is it that hard a concept to comprehend?

Really? So if you were a creator of TV show, would you like the profits come to you through the official distribution channels, or would you like that profit to go into third party hands, without you getting a dime?

Re:51 billion?? (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 10 months ago | (#44854579)

What does that have to do with what he said?

Re:51 billion?? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44854863)

Hey, I'm just humbly following the general Slashdot practice of not reading any comments I reply to. ;)

Re:51 billion?? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 10 months ago | (#44854955)

Spain? When was the last time you looked at a map?

Re:51 billion?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854695)

Just like how eating at a restaurant and not paying is totally not a lost sale.
You are still consuming a product not meant for you.
You are the equivalent of someone going in to eateries, eating entire meals, then throwing a few bugs in it and saying "EY YOU I AIN'T PAYIN" and leaving with a smug look on your face.

Your argument only applies if you made a REPRODUCTION of something they "uniquely" own.
A reproduction is competition or broken laws in the cases where copyrights might apply to it. (in the case where the reproduction directly ripped content from it)
This is not a reproduction, this is a direct copy and resale.

It matters absolutely not that they weren't going to buy it in the first place, fact is, THEY CONSUMED IT REGARDLESS.
They went in to the eatery, they took a meal, rammed it down their throats, and left without paying.
I don't know about you, but I would be mighty pissed if my business was being literally stolen from me.

Yes, the business model ITSELF is at fault, but you can't just say this crap and justify it, it is absolute bullshit and you damn well know it.
The industry refuses to adapt, it tries to destroy digital distribution, and it even tries to get legal stuff banned, but that argument is still bullshit.
Now stop repeating this fucking argument unless you are willing to actually interpret the damn thing correctly.
You are both on the same coin of Wrongness here, just different sides.

Re:51 billion?? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 months ago | (#44854843)

Hey, my old company once had a man arrested by exaggerating the amount he cost us by hacking. The FBI said they wouldn't get involved unless the amount was over $50,000. My company came up with a figure of $200,000 lost, apparently out of their ass. Much, much later the guy (who was guilty as hell and did exactly what he was charged with doing, he just thought he would get away with it because he was a total prick) got his conviction overturned and the amount of loss was retroactively restated to $4,000. Part of which includes my time cleaning up the mess he intentionally left, so I feel kind of insulted.

51bn pounds? (1)

blinkwing (1687842) | about 10 months ago | (#44854347)

What are they smoking? Because I'd like some of that!

because the people want it. (5, Insightful)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 10 months ago | (#44854351)

"It not only damages the UK economy, but substandard goods and services can pose real threats to consumers too."

if it's actually "substandard" then it means it's not a copy of the original because there is no original to copy. meaning they were selling the latest seasons of the shows which aren't on sale yet. if you want the latest season of game of thrones, you are going to have to wait until 2014.

the industry needs to learn that when there is a demand, someone will fill it. if you aren't filling that demand, someone else will.

Re:because the people want it. (1)

asamad (658115) | about 10 months ago | (#44854369)

exactly and wtf with the cost of a season...

Re:because the people want it. (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44854397)

Yes, if the industry really wanted to cut down on piracy for movies/TV shows and games, there are two very simple steps it could take, neither of which would involve paying for new laws and both of which would likely be more effective than legislation, particularly in terms of getting at that particular subcategory of piracy where a torrented version actually does equate into a lost sale.

1) For movies and TV shows, cut the gap between cinema release/TV air date and the media going on sale in a "to own" format. Yes, this would be bad news for the multiplexes (though these do tend to market themselves on the basis that they have better AV equipment than the average home anyway) and yes, it would mean lower TV revenues. But hey - if you really think that piracy is costing you THAT much, you'd do it, right?

2) Get rid of region encoding and gaps between international release dates. People don't like knowing that a product is being sold in other countries before their own. Get rid of that gap in the window of legal availability and you'll take a way a lot of resentment and temptation. Some leeway needed here in territories where translation is needed - but just make the English (or whatever the original language is) version available anyway and say "translated version to follow".

Re:because the people want it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854975)

Son, you just don't understand our way of life.

I done been farming movies for the best part of my life. Just like my daddy and his daddy. You think you can come in and modernise my business? I'll bet you've never been up at the crack of dawn to tack on costs to a production that causes an otherwise profitable movie to return a loss - allowing me to welch out of paying writers and actors their expected bonuses? I'll bet you've never had to work your fingers to the bone, in an office in all weathers, looking for new ways to hold on to traditions and ways of life that are too profitable to let slip away.

Son, like I said, this is our way of life. 'aint no jumped up Internet man going to tell us how to run our business. Now git, before I have the FBI shoot up your place.

Chris Dodd

Easy job (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 10 months ago | (#44854421)

Easiest job ever, search online through shopping review sites and ebay feedback for 'fake' etc, Buy item. Arrest if selling a lot of fakes.

Numbers. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#44854443)

I tried to look up the size of the UK music, movie and software industries for comparison. Music wasn't too hard, but I'm getting wildly conflicting results for the movie industry in my googling. It's hard to work out - most of their income comes from overseas distribution, and as with any movie production the official net income is worthless due to dodgy accounting. That's before considering the government subsidies and tax breaks the industry gets to 'promote british culture.'

Re:Numbers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854849)

Britain has a culture now? I thought it was all just boiled food and bad teeth.

even criminals have criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854497)

dunno. can one make a "counterfit" digital bit? prolly not.
nevertheless, these arrests are a good thing: afterall one can get the (see above) real thing for free. claiming to be a legit reseller ("these dvd are real") is bad. it's bad because it hurts the "producer" (claim "real dvd") and the buyer (sucker him/her to pay for something they could get "free"). the second one is just a moral bad, not a legal bad.

Re: even criminals have criminals (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 10 months ago | (#44854643)

> can one make a "counterfit" digital bit?

What, you didn't get the memo about the TCP Evil Bit? :)

£40,000? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854543)

That's about half a DVD according to "Piracy" metrics.

They have caused a damage of £40000 from a total damage of 50billion. Let's assume those are American rather than continental billions (or the numbers get even worse), and we get a factor of about a million: they do about a millionth of the harm in the UK, which means that about one out of every sixty citizens of the UK runs a business at least as bad as those guys. But wait, they were two, so it's one in thirty.

By golly, the Brits sure are pirates.

What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 10 months ago | (#44854553)

This is precisely what copyright laws are supposed to prevent - the bootlegger making money by illegally selling multiple copies of someone else's content.

The problem with Copyright is the *AA has been trying to use these laws to penalize the filesharer (who makes a single copy for themselves) as if they were full-blown bootleggers. The "making available" argument is bunk because if you take the number of illegal copies made via filesharing, and divide by the number of people doing the sharing, the math says there's one illegal copy made per offender. Ergo each offender is responsible for one illegal copy. Totally different from the bootlegger case where the single bootlegger is making thousands of copies available (the buyers are not guilty of anything because they paid for what they thought was a legal copy).

That's why copyright fines are so high - to discourage bootleggers who are trying to sell thousands of copies for profit. Not to bankrupt for life someone trying to make a single illegal copy for himself. The law really needs to distinguish between these cases.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854859)

The problem with Copyright is the *AA has been trying to use these laws to penalize the filesharer (who makes a single copy for themselves) as if they were full-blown bootleggers.

TNX FOR TEH VALUABLE NEW INFOS

Piracy is good! (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 10 months ago | (#44854593)

I would like to be the devil's advocate. In TFA, the IP cop says

Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries

Violating IP is now a crime instead of an offense in the UK? I note that we always consider the lost money stream and jobs at companies holding IP, but not at the actors that violate it. After all the two men selling counterfeit DVD created two jobs (their own), and generated revenue. Of course that revenue cannot be taxed, but the IP holder is big enought that I assume it used some fiscal tricks to avoid paying taxes too. In the end we talks about a law that guard revenue for big players, locking any other actor out for decades, and I wonder whether it is economically efficient. Even if it is, I wonder if it benefices the general interest, which is the reason why we make laws, and the only point that makes them legitimate.

The argument that IP holders could be innovative is weird, as IP holders seems very resistant to any technological change (except perhaps in the porn industry).

Re:Piracy is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854963)

I would like to be the devil's advocate. In TFA, the IP cop says

Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries

Violating IP is now a crime instead of an offense in the UK?

An offense is a crime - the words are synonyms in this context. IP is a class of legal protections which have different rules but yes, copyright violation can be a crime as well as a tort under CDPA 88. It is a crime under section 107 [legislation.gov.uk] to violate copyright as your business, or even non-commercial violation if it is "to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright".

Woah, big numbers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854619)

Did you know that piracy increases lifespan by 5.7 years on average, boosts the national GDP by 3.2% (4.1% adjusted for inflation), and increases overall subjective happiness by no less than 18.5%?
Writing random numbers is so easy. I don't know where they pulled that "£51 billion" crap out of, but they're welcome to shove it back in there.

Over 100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854711)

http://www.mpaa.org/resources/3037b7a4-58a2-4109-8012-58fca3abdf1b.pdf
The industry has never been bigger so piracy cant be a real problem.
Its only piracy if you call it that. If you call it a right to retain entertainment for private consumption it could be seen as a cost saving. Think how much a family could save a year.
(Pulling number out of my ass)
5 people * $10 * 365 days * 2 times a day = $36500 and that ONE family. Think how much a whole country could save!
You could call it a tax on entertainment or a culture trying to push their values and interest thru video.

sorry but... (1)

etash (1907284) | about 10 months ago | (#44854717)

does someone really BUY the dvd boxset of the vampire diaries? Now I do watch the series mostly out of habit now, but buying it? I mean seriously?

That's the problem, right there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44854765)

some of our most creative and productive industries

* Game of Thrones
* CSI
* Vampire Diaries

Ouch.

"thousands of jobs" (1)

Peet42 (904274) | about 10 months ago | (#44854835)

'Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.'

Technically speaking, as some of the people selling these DVDs at car boot sales etc. use that as their main or only source of income, enforcement puts thousands of jobs under threat. It all comes down to a value judgement of whose job you think is more important - the guy letting you get a cheap copy of "Game of Thrones" with Chinese subtitles, or the several layers of middle management in the "Entertainment industry" responsible for the enforcement of DRM.

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