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Former DrinkOrDie Member Chris Tresco Answers

Roblimo posted about 12 years ago | from the what-you-going-to-do-when-they-come-for-you? dept.

The Courts 888

Okay, former DrinkOrDie member and convicted warez dude Chris Tresco got his answers to your questions back to us, so here they are. (Note: Chris does not advise you to follow in his footsteps.)

1) How clueful are they?
by jeffy124

In your opinion, how did the each party (prosecution, your lawyer, and most important - the judge) look when it came to their understanding of technology? Did they know every nook and cranny, or seem lost in a maze of confusion? Do you think an understanding of the issues in question was a significant factor in court proceedings?

Chris:
That is a tough question to answer considering the organizational structure of the government's side of things. The prosecution works very closely with other units of law enforcement when it comes to technically challenging cases like mine. In my situation, the government prosecutors were very well briefed about how the technical aspect of the warez scene work. They are briefed by law enforcement agents who are very technically savvy and able to sift through all of the data that they are presented with at the time a warrant is carried out. With this data, the agents build a packet of evidence that the procecutors can look through and easily understand. They had a plethora of evidence on which to build a case against me and it boiled down that all the ones and zeros that the agents were able to pick through added up to copyright infringement in the prosecution's eyes.

The judge doesn't really see the technical aspect of the case. He sees a report of the evidence, which is written in clean English, and makes his decision based on that.

My lawyer isn't very technically adept, but lawyers are pretty bright. He was able to grasp the concepts of everything, if he wasn't able to, he wouldn't be my lawyer. :) Besides, I was able to coach him through most of it.

2) "The Bust", WarGames or Matrix?
by msheppard

What was "The Bust" like? Was it like _WarGames_ where they showed up in black vans and confiscated your computers and rifled through your trash? Or was it more like _Matrix_ where they called you in and presented all sorts of evidence they collected online etc.?

Chris:
I would say that it was a cross between the two. I will lay out exactly what happened to me:

I was sitting at my computer chatting with a fellow DOD member on IRC. All of a sudden I noticed my net connection died. When I went to walk out the door, a U.S. Customs agent met me. "Mr. Tresco, My name is XXXXX, I am with the U.S. Customs Department. Would you mind coming with me?" As I turned the corner, there were about 20 law enforcement officials combing the halls of my workplace. We proceeded to a conference room where I answered questions for the better part of the day while the agents proceeded to carry out their warrant. They were looking for specific systems that were on the warrant. They had IP addresses. Technically, they had the authority to take everything on the network that the computers identified on the warrant were on, however they followed the warrant pretty strictly, taking only the stuff on it. It was really the hardest day of my life. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. I felt like I was in a dream.

3) Was there a feeling that DoD was too big?
by crunnluadh

The incredibly large volume of warez DoD was trading must have been staggering. At any point in time did you or anyone else in DoD ever think that the whole ring was getting way out of hand? If so, what ever came from that or those discussions?

Chris:
In terms of percentages of releases put out by DOD in relation to the scene, we weren't doing all that many. We did, however, have quite a large number of ftp sites that were being heavily utilized. One of our private leech sites was larger than a terrabyte of games and movies. It was constantly being uploaded to and downloaded from. This should give you an idea of the amount of trading that was going on.

To answer your other question... I felt on a daily basis that things were getting out of control. There were times that I did actually quit, but only for a day or so. IRC always brought me back online. That was my biggest mistake. DOD was a warez group, yes... but imagine a bunch of guys/gals sitting around talking all day and suddenly you stop showing up... You start to miss that type of interaction.

4) Feelings?
by Sebastopol

Are you scared about going to prison? Do they prepare you in any way before you enter the facility, or do they just throw you in and that's it?

Just typing these questions make me uncomfortable.

Chris:
I am very scared to go to prison. I have never been in any sort of jail in my life. They prepare you in the sense that they tell you where and when to go, what you can bring, and what type of facility it is. The rest is done through books and my lawyer, who has been really great through this whole ordeal. I am fortunate enough to be assigned to a minimum security facility close to my home.

5) If it wasn't about the money, what was it about?
by wackybrit

You were a sysadmin at MIT, so were probably pulling in a pretty good wage.. at least, probably better than 50% of the Slashdot readership anyway.

So if it wasn't about the money, what was it about? Prestige is one option, but people in these groups need to keep hidden, so that doesn't fit. Was it for the ideals? If so, what ideals are there in ripping off software?

I can understand why people who can't afford software rip it off.. they have stuff to do, and can't afford $500 for Photoshop or whatever.. but tell me why someone with a decent salary will work in secret to beat the software companies.. what is the motivation?

Chris:
My motivation had absolutely nothing to do with the software, the prestige, the civil disobedience, or the mysteriousness of it all. My motivation was purely and simply putting technology to work. I have always been a curious cat, like most of you that read Slashdot. I was basically the Sysadmin of DrinkOrDie. I love to make computers work together, build up networks, install services, lockdown boxes... you guys know the drill. I got very carried away with what I was doing and forgot to confide in my moral self. I knew I was doing wrong, and yes... to clear anything up... it is absolutely wrong to steal software from a company. Whether it is ones or zeros or bags of money, it is stealing. If for no other reason, it is wrong because of the license agreement. If you don't agree with the license, don't use the software.

6) questions from a fellow cracker
by Anonymous Coward

I am a cracker from a fairly well known group, living in the US. We take normal precautions (encrypted email/irc), but there are clear vulnerabilities that cant easily be eliminated (topsite accounts and the possibility of trojaned supplied software, etc.). The dod bust stunned all of us with the lengths of the sentences, which seem out of proproportion to the crime. I find myself asking more and more whether the risk is worth the fun. We are all in it for the commaraderie and the friends (and the access to files); of course none of us are making any money from it. My question is, if you had it to do over again, would you stay out of a group, and of the scene? Were there risks you took that you sholdn't have? What were they? Any advice to someone still in the scene who wants to stay but worries about being caught?

Chris:
If I had to do it over again, I would absolutely not get involved with the scene. The scene is technically organized crime... that is it. Mobsters have friends too, but would you want to go to prison for what you and your fellow comrades are doing on the net? Isn't it better to pay for the occasional piece of software you might want than to pay with 33 months in federal prison? I think so... And you say here:

"I find myself asking more and more whether the risk is worth the fun."

That is the wrong way to think about it. You are asking yourself if it is worth something to commit a crime. What you should be asking yourself is, if what you are doing is fundamentally wrong. If it is (and I would say that it is) then stop doing it.

To answer the rest of your question... The only pertinent risk was getting involved with the scene in the first place. You will get caught sooner or later if you continue doing what you are doing. My advice to you is to get out while you still can. Any precautions you take are easily circumvented. For example, email encrypted via PGP is only as strong as the people who get the email. If the government busts 20 people in your group, the odds of one of the people giving up their passphrase is pretty good. from that point, all the mail is readable. Encrypted IRC is not going to do it either. What if one of the people you are chatting with is an informant? Encryption becomes meaningless.

My advice: get out of the scene.

7) Plans for your stay?
by zbuffered

One of the things about jail is that you have nothing but free time. So what do you plan to do? Study for a new career? Work out constantly? Plan your escape? Learn to speak Sanskrit?

When you get out, you will have had 33 months of basically no real responsibilities. If you find a nice, cushy prison, you can get some real work done. Are you going to use this time to make your life when you get out of jail better?

Also, when you get out, what do you plan to do? Something in the computer field, or do you plan to change your path when you get out? If I were in your place, I think I'd just get fed up with computers and become a florist or something.

Chris:
During the time I am in prison, I will educate myself. I will hopefully be able to take some classes towards a degree. Since I love working with systems, I will hopefully be able to school myself in the art of business and compliment my technical skills. My passion lies with IT, I would love to take the education I get from prison (formal or not) and use it to better my career and make me a better person.

8) Rise of P2P?
by Rayonic

How do you feel about the rise of P2P and its affects on the Warez community? Do you think it makes it safer (safety in numbers?) or do you think that it'll bring down the fist of the law even harder?

Which P2P networks did you prefer, if any?

Chris:
In the context of the warez scene, P2P networks don't play any part. They are essentially mutually exclusive members. I think that people in the warez scene used P2P networks just as frequently and for the same purposes as the majority of P2P users. P2P and the warez scene do, however, relate in one fashion. Both networks utilize the internet as a means to illegally distribute copyrighted works. This will affect both entities in that the more illegal activity that goes on in general, the more law enforcement will be trying to put an end to it. This puts more heat on both services. Technology crimes are also a hot topic as of late. So popular that there are many organizations, like the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) at www.siia.net and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department of Justice at www.cybercrime.gov, whose sole purpose is to stop them from happening. Software companies really do lose money from piracy, why else would they support these types of organizations?

Oh. and I preferred ftp.

9) What is your opinion of free software?
by Billly Gates

If you plan not to pirate software again would you chose to pay for commercial apps or would you use free software?

Has your opinion changed about free software vs commercial software because of your unfortunate experience?

Do you think strong armed tactics by the BSA and upcoming drm will actually help spread free software?

Chris:
I generally try to run linux on the desktop where ever possible. That being said, I love free software, I used it when I was pirating and I use it now. I am composing this in OpenOffice btw. :)

I think both free and commercial software have their place in the industry. I also think that DRM and the BSA won't really have any effect on free software. People and businesses who pay for software don't have to worry about these features because what they are doing is legitimate. In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it. They would clear their name and be finally exonerated. With respect to DRM, I think this technology is mainly targeted at media right now. That being said, I don't think it will help spread free software. except for maybe free Ogg codecs and players. and a lot more Ogg-files.

10) Prove me wrong.
by _xeno_

I want you to explain if you disagree with the following and if so, why.

My understanding of this is that you were involved with the illegal distribution of copyrighted works, depriving the potential owners of money for the works (possibly - the reality may be "probably not," but...). You then received 33 months of jail time (or just under 3 years) which seems to me to be rather fair.

Based on the Operation Buccaneer information, you received counts of felony (criminal copyright infringement, probably), and conspiracy (to commit criminal copyright infringement, probably). (Both probablies are guesses based on the document.) This seems to be in line with what one would expect for charges against a ring of people whose sole goal is to steal massive quantities of software and redistribute them to as many people as want them at no charge. (The fact that there was no charge probably reduces the sentence to a degree, but the fact that it required specialized skills and involved a large collective of people acting together to commit criminal copyright infringement probably both outweigh that.)

So... why should I feel sorry for you? You got what you deserved. You stole from people and gave copies to as many people as you could. Based on the MIT press release, you illegal utilized systems you were supposed to be administrating for the purposes of illegally distributing software. As far as I can see, you got exactly what you deserved.

So - prove me wrong. Demonstrate that my understanding is flawed or that I am misunderstanding the crime. Demonstrate that it should not be a crime. Or - accept my view. Explain if you feel sorry for your actions and believe that you did indeed commit the crimes. Or come up with another response that does not fall directly between agree and disagree.

Chris:
Is this flamebait for the interviewee or what? :) I won't bite. Your question seems to start halfway through your rant, so I will start there.

You shouldn't feel sorry for me. I committed crimes that I shouldn't have committed. I stole from innocent companies and now I am feeling the repercussions. I am not asking for pity nor am I looking to be put up on a pedestal for what I have done. I am simply here to tell people what happened and that it can happen to anyone who takes part in this type of thing.

Addendum:

My nickname wasn't mentioned when the call for questions was posted, I guess I forgot to tell Robin. I was known as bigrar, BiGrAr on irc. If anyone wants to ask any questions besides the ones I have answered, you can send me email at nospam@rarcom.com. Actually you can take a look at my website as well, at www.rarcom.com (my hosting company is going to kill me). I am setting up a service there called the "Free Software Mirror Project". Through this site, I hope to start a huge mirror system for free software. When these questions are posted to slashdot, I am going to make the URL all text, so as to not completely slashdot my hosters. The mirror system is unique because it will work the same way the warez scene works. with couriers, suppliers, etc. Drop me a line if you possibly want to help me out with this.

Thanks,

- Chris

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first prost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387837)

this one is dedicated to all the curry's banging it out on those fucking 10mbit bbb.se sites :(

dB ownz

Re:first prost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388103)

death to bbb & gavle sites...

vital? (-1, Offtopic)

hal313 (102254) | about 12 years ago | (#4387838)

vital web hosting? vital web hosting.com!

don't do warez (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387839)

don't do warez fp buddy

Bah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387842)

So /. glorifies criminals now?

Unbelievable.

I'm all for capitalism, but if this is what you guys are resorting to to generate ad views, it makes me physically sick to be an American. New Zealand, here I come.

Re:Bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387884)

youre moving to new zealand simply because slashdot ran an interview with some no-name moron? what an asshole

Re:Bah (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387973)

So once upon a time there was this merchant ship carrying live sheep from New Zealand to points westward. The ship went down in a storm, and only one New Zealander, one sheep, and the ship's dog survived. All three washed up on the shore of a deserted island.

Every night, the Kiwi, the sheep, and the dog would sit on the beach and watch the sun set, dreaming of rescue. After a few months of this, the Kiwi started to get powerfully lonely, and the sheep started to look better every day. One particularly beautiful night, the Kiwi reached over to put his arm around the sheep... at which point the dog starting barking and howling and snapping until the Kiwi stopped.

This went on for many weeks. Every time the Kiwi got ready to put the moves on the sheep, the dog went nuts. Finally, one day another ship went down and the only survivor-- a beautiful woman-- washed up on shore. The Kiwi helped the woman, dressed her wounds, gave her food and fresh water, and eventually she joined their little family. Every night the four of them-- Kiwi, woman, sheep, dog-- would sit on the beach and watch the sun set into the ocean.

Finally the Kiwi could take it no longer. He waited until the quiet, romantic moment just after sunset, leaned over to the woman, and whispered softly into her ear.

"Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?"

Re:Bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388092)

Did you read the interveiw moron?

Hello! RE: MICROSOFT HAX0RING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387867)

HellO! I would like to learn to haX0r micro$oft. Email me with infoz!

OUT

Re:Hello! RE: MICROSOFT HAX0RING (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387968)

+1 Funny. Obviously a mildly humorous troll, since there's no email address... Come on, guys. Lighten up!

Show of remorse (1, Insightful)

vegetablespork (575101) | about 12 years ago | (#4387874)

Required so that he doesn't get a stiffer sentence. I don't buy it--I don't believe you really think warez is theft, but I understand why you're parroting the party line.

Re:Show of remorse (5, Informative)

modus (122983) | about 12 years ago | (#4387887)

Actually, at this point it probably has more to do with an eventual parole application. He's already been sentenced to 33 months, no show of remorse is going to change that.

Re:Show of remorse (1)

CaptainAx (606247) | about 12 years ago | (#4388099)

There is no parole in the federal system.

Re:Show of remorse (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387921)

Yeah, I don't buy it eaither. If got almost 3 years for that, I'd be a bitter, raging maniac. This guy seems unusually well-composed for a person of his type in the position he is in.

I mean come on, I've read of rapists getting less time. You tellin' me that Adobe's profits are worth more than some woman's emotional/physical well being? What a fucked-up world we live in.

Re:Show of remorse (5, Interesting)

PunchMonkey (261983) | about 12 years ago | (#4387939)

Required so that he doesn't get a stiffer sentence. I don't buy it--I don't believe you really think warez is theft, but I understand why you're parroting the party line.

Or (are you ready for this?) Maybe... just maybe.... he really does think illegally distributing software is theft (and wrong).

OMG, is it possible for the "sysadmin" of a warez group to have morals and values? I think it is.

Re:Show of remorse (3, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about 12 years ago | (#4387981)

Or (are you ready for this?) Maybe... just maybe.... he really does think illegally distributing software is theft (and wrong).

No. It's copyright infringment. It's illegal. It may even be wrong.

It is NOT theft. Theft is:

(
Websters [dictionary.com] )1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny."

Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief.


Copying is not theft, its plain english.

Re:Show of remorse (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388006)

OMG, is it possible for the "sysadmin" of a warez group to have morals and values? I think it is.

If he had morals and values previous to this, he wouldn't have done it.

He's just repeating the values that the people putting him away want to hear.

A 10-year-old could sound more convincing than he does anyway

Re:Show of remorse (0, Troll)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | about 12 years ago | (#4388110)

OMG, is it possible for the "sysadmin" of a warez group to have morals and values? I think it is.

I think it is too. Morals and values with which distributing software does not conflict. The question is, is it possible for Microsoft and their sycophantic, Stockholm-syndrome suffering lackies to have morals and values?

Warez is NOT theft! (4, Informative)

Robber Baron (112304) | about 12 years ago | (#4388041)

It is illegal copying and/or use. Theft implies that the owner was deprived of his property. Oh and please don't trot out the old saw that warez use "steals" revenue from software manufacturers! That would only be true if the warez user would have otherwise purchased a licenced copy had a warez version not been available. It is wrong for anyone to make assumptions about the purchasing habits of individuals...a tactic often used by the aggrieved parties to inflate their "losses". In order for say...installing a "warez" MS Office to be theft, the install would have to be accompanied by backing a large truck up to a loading bay in Redmond and...

That being said, I'm starting to introduce some of my clients to the concept of GPL software and they're liking the concept of not having to pay the "Microsoft tax". The hardest part is getting past "What's the catch?" when I tell them that an Open Office license has no cost attached to it.

Morality Propaganda (5, Insightful)

Srin Tuar (147269) | about 12 years ago | (#4388050)


Though what he did was illegal, I just dont feel it to be immoral. Sharing information or music or ideas just doesnt raise the sin-o-meter at all.


The fact is that something which is not naturally immoral (sharing) can be made to give people pangs of guilt through conditioning. The "IP" establishment thinks that if they continue to pound into peoples heads that "Copying is stealing" and "Sharing is evil", then people will actually start to believe it. (In fact it does work to a limited extent) What will actually happen is that the harder they push the party line, the more people will see through it, and the harder they enforce the rules, the more people will protest them (or realize they exist at all).


At some point in the future, the whole copyright cartel is going to falter. Its not human nature to hoarde information, opinions, or ideas. It is in our nature to share ideas that we have discovered, and hopefully our economies will have enough time to get out of the way and figure out new business models before its too late.

Re:Show of remorse (0, Redundant)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | about 12 years ago | (#4388072)

Man you still don't get it do you? The "information wants to be free" crap is over. Its still is and always has been wrong to steal software. And warez has always been theft.

Re:Show of remorse (1)

CaptainAx (606247) | about 12 years ago | (#4388073)

He was convicted, he plead guilty and as a result he proffered everything he did to the government. They aren't going to change his sentence as a result of what he says here. He'll have to be consistent with his statements of remorse otherwise he might be accused of violations of Title 18 section 1001 (perjury). Warez isn't theft. Theft is depriving someone of some tangable product. They will make up a name for this eventually.

Surprisingly good answers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387895)

It seems that this is a young man who really has been brought face to face with his crimes, and -- recognizing that what he did was morally and legally wrong -- is ready to atone. (Of course, this interview will be part of the record when applying for mitigration of probationary status and, should he apply for it, pardon, so I didn't expect to see Kevin Mitnick-style answers anyway.)

Kudos all around.

Re:Surprisingly good answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388100)

You don't get it. Once you are caught, you must tow the party line. This guy doesn't really believe he was stealing from "innocent companies." Come one, wake up.

WARNING: PetsWarehouse is no longer Slashdotted! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387902)

Sorry for the offtopic post, but this is important.

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Upcoming NY Times headline (5, Funny)

Alric (58756) | about 12 years ago | (#4387903)

Convicted Software Pirate Supports Linux!

In other news, Microsoft donated more free computers to needy children on Thursday.

Re:Upcoming NY Times headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388098)

microsoft does donate computers to children idiot, and they have been for years.

I'd like to see lunix donate some free hardware.

Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387904)

Take care of yourself Chris, lots and lots of love and appreciation!

Just like Al Capone... (5, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | about 12 years ago | (#4387911)

Actually you can take a look at my website as well, at www.rarcom.com (my hosting company is going to kill me).

you can order a "slashdotting" from prison.

You, sir, are truely badass.

Re:Just like Al Capone... (-1, Troll)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | about 12 years ago | (#4387924)

i think it's bigrar's asshole that's more likely to get "slashdotted" while he's in the joint...

Re:Just like Al Capone... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387945)

as someone who spent 18 months in minimum-security, I assure that the above comment is not flamebait.

Re:Just like Al Capone... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388036)

Heh. I put in 8 months in minimum. I didn't get punked but it almost happened three times in the first two weeks. BiGrAr, if you're reading this: LEARN TO USE YOUR FISTS. Fight like a berserker. You need to establish yourself as Not A Punk early, or else (quite literally) it's your ass.

Happy about a BSA raid? (5, Interesting)

Entrope (68843) | about 12 years ago | (#4387912)

In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it.

That totally ignores the disruption, effort, and other impact that such an "audit" (sometimes just a jackbooted search without any warrant) has on the company. When you come down to all the commercially licensed software that is used at the "average" company, it becomes an enormous hassle for the IT staff to:

  1. Figure out who is using what
  2. Produce the proofs of purchase or whatever else is necessary
  3. Convince the auditors that there is no additional commercial software being used
The payware mafia are proud of saying that most audits are based on tipoffs from disgrunted ex-employees -- which scares most companies because, no matter how hard they try, they will have some disgruntled ex-employees. It doesn't have to be a tip based on fact, it just has to be believable enough to warrant an audit.

Re:Happy about a BSA raid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387965)

This guy is clearly an idiot. Nobody would be happy about a BSA raid. It is the same dumb argument as saying you shouldn't have a problem with me searching your entire house without a warrant for illegal materials, because the only reason you wouldn't want me to is if you have any.

Plus, copying software IS NOT THE SAME THING as stealing software. Unless they actually took the physical media from someone, thereby *depriving the other party of something*, which clearly did not happen, it is by definition not stealing. Copying is a different matter.

Like I said, that guy is an idiot and I am glad he is going to jail.

Re:Happy about a BSA raid? (5, Insightful)

Deagol (323173) | about 12 years ago | (#4387982)

When he said "happy about it", the "it" in question was the DRM stuff. If all software were DRM-enabled, and a company was audited, you could basically just say "Hey, it's running, so it must be registered and legeit, so bugger off!"

A world of DRM software might reduce revenue for the BSA. "Poor, poor BSA!"

Re:Happy about a BSA raid? (2)

Etrigan_696 (192479) | about 12 years ago | (#4388058)

Just recently taking a job in IT, I've been thinking about this heavily. What if the Brown Shirts kicked in my server room door and threatened me unless I could produce liscenses for all the software in there?
Some of that crap dates back...What? FOUR IT managers ago? Two Office buildings ago.... At a couple of the workstations out in the workshop, they've got 386s and Win3.1...Just enough to let them run the purchasing database front-end...(and something that doesn't need a fan - which would be gummed up and on fire in days). Many companies go through this! WAUUUGH!

I wish I had enough money to write my own laws and have my own army to enforce them.

Who knows what survived the moves and the re-organizations, the buyouts ...etc. etc. etc.

Maybe I'll be joining Chris here in a "Federal Pound-me-up-the-ASS Prison"...

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387916)

I can't believe they left out all the difficult/fun questions that were asked. If slashdot ever wants to be taken seriously, they should questions other than "what's your opinion of free software?"

Get the guy to answer and become squeamish. That's what interviews are all about

Free Software Mirror System? (2, Insightful)

nenolod (546272) | about 12 years ago | (#4387917)

The mirror system is unique because it will work the same way the warez scene works. with couriers, suppliers, etc. Drop me a line if you possibly want to help me out with this.

Hmm, it seems to me that you're making another warez site, and you are using the phrase "Free Software Mirror System" to cover it up. The other possibility is that you're trying to do warez with free software, which is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. So, before you do that, make sure you absolutely have boundaries set for yourself and know exactly what you're doing, because the feds might not see it as a free software repository but as a warez site. And what do you mean by "Free Software"? Is it software that you got for free and posted to the system, or is it truly GNU software. You have to be sure to make it clear to everyone that it is GNU software, and to make sure that the illegal software doesn't mysteriously appear. So, I would say, it's in your best interests to stay on the ethical side of things right now, and that seems kind of borderline.

Re:Free Software Mirror System? (1)

$0 31337 (225572) | about 12 years ago | (#4387974)

I totally agree with the parent. I like the fact that he wants to work with free software but setting up a warez-like scene for GNU software is just lame. The point of having "0-Day" warez is to be the first group to release it. If Class releases a rip of a game and Fairlight releases an ISO, thats it. Nobody else is going to bother to release it because it's already out. Suppliers aren't needed either unless he thinks of a supplier as the person that actually codes the program.. otherwise anyone that rips a link from freshmeat becomes a "supplier". As for the courier aspect of it, all he means is someone that runs a server that has some storage space for GNU software. So to rehash, Supplier = Coder, Courier = Freshmeat. Great... Another freshmeat.

Thanks, Chris! (4, Insightful)

mosch (204) | about 12 years ago | (#4387935)

I must say, I'm extremely impressed by Chris's responses. I find the standard rationalizations pathetic and sad, it's refreshing to see somebody advocating honesty on slashdot.

The standard rationalizations that I'm complaining about are, in no particular order:

  • I steal because it's too expensive.
  • I steal music because the RIAA is "evil".
  • I steal software because it helps the company I'm stealing from.
  • I steal because I don't believe in intellectual property.
  • I steal music because the CD only has one song I like on it.
  • I steal as a test drive.
  • I steal music and movies because they are just corporate shit, not art.
  • I steal because the artists don't get much profit from purchases.
  • I steal MS products, because MS is "evil".
and so on and so forth.

Thank you Chris, for taking the unpopular position that copyright infringement is wrong.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (2)

Jobe_br (27348) | about 12 years ago | (#4387977)

Amen. Nice to see a comprehensive list of all the bullshit reasons people put forth to justify their actions. Actions that are, have been and will continue to be simply wrong. Morally, ethically, judicially, whatever - they're wrong.

Dude, I steal because I like it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387994)

I steal software, music, movies, and games becuase I like stealing. It doesn't cost me much, it's easy and relatively safe via the internet (unless you're at the head of a large pirating group), and I'm poor. Why do inner city residents rob liquor stores? Because they're poor. Why do I steal 1s and 0s? Because I'm poor and can't afford to pay for them.

Stealing is merely the cheapest way to get what one wants, and I'm cheap.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388001)

Thank goodness I don't steal, I just copy!

Re:Thanks, Chris! (1, Flamebait)

isorox (205688) | about 12 years ago | (#4388027)

No, I dont steal music. I may copy music while unauthorised to do so, however stealing music involves walking into virgin megastores and picking up a cd, then walking out.

At no point during copying a cd/taping the radio/downloading an mp3 are you removing anything from anyone.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (4, Insightful)

ChannelX (89676) | about 12 years ago | (#4388047)

Nice rationalization. You most definitely are removing something from someone. The work is copyrighted....not the medium. Walking into a Virgin store and stealing the cd is stealing twice....the medium and the work. If you download an mp3 file that you don't own the cd for you are stealing. Pure and simple. That form of copying isn't covered under fair use.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (0, Troll)

isorox (205688) | about 12 years ago | (#4388078)

No its copyright infringment, it's legally and (potentially - depending on the exact form. Copying a cd after you lose yours isnt wrong) morally wrong. It's not theft. Get a dictionary.

Re:Thanks, Chris! - PSSHHHT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388028)

Morality is so very overrated. Go get laid and lose the holier than thou bullshit.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388037)

You fucking thief.. I've seen that list of rationalizations on all kinds of web sites. Did you really think up that whole list? No. You just read a bunch of stuff on some slashdot postings and you're just repeating it, without giving anybody credit.

I hope slashdot takes down this infringing post until you can pay someone royalties!!

Pirate!!

Re:Thanks, Chris! (1)

Telastyn (206146) | about 12 years ago | (#4388059)

I don't steal, I just save myself the trouble of finding a friend with a legitimate copy, and trying theirs on their computer.(which btw is ALSO illegal under nearly every EULA)

Re:Thanks, Chris! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388062)

Here's my rationalization.

Copyright infringment is not theft.

If I copy some bits which, in their particular sequence, can represent a movie, song, or piece of software, I have not deprived anyone of anything.

I believe that stealing is immoral and I don't do it. I believe that sharing is moral and I do it, even if misguided media moguls and their pet legislators think it should be illegal. The ready availability of free entertainment and software has never prevented me from spending money on entertainment when I can.

Why should it be illegal to enrich my life as long as it doesn't adversely affect anyone else?

Re:Thanks, Chris! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388068)

what about I steal because it's cheaper? ...

um, I question his sincerity (5, Insightful)

krog (25663) | about 12 years ago | (#4388070)

sure, it's nice to hear him speak "honestly" about it all, but to me it sounds a lot like an AA member being "honest" about himself -- almost like he's reading off a sheet.

I don't blame him. if it were *my* sweet virgin ass going into prison, you can bet I'd start racking up my Good Behavior and Remorse early too. but I don't think it's really coming from the heart...

Too little, too late (0, Troll)

mungtor (306258) | about 12 years ago | (#4388083)

Are you people actually simple enough to buy this, or just really searching for something positive to focus on? I've read all his answers twice, and it was like his lawyer was standing behind him telling him "remember to say that you were wrong and are sorry in every answer."

I just don't belive for a minute that he is actually sorry. He's just sorry that he got caught, and is trying to gain some favor with his eventual parole board.

Re:Thanks, Chris! (1)

Hawkins (219795) | about 12 years ago | (#4388087)

Hear, hear! It's always nice to hear from other people in IT who aren't morally depraved pinko commies ;)

Re:Thanks, Chris! (4, Funny)

Rupert (28001) | about 12 years ago | (#4388097)

You'd probably be surprised at the number of people here who would agree with your statement that copyright infringement is wrong. It's unfortunate, then, that we get divided over how wrong it is. How much did Chris really cost the owners of the software he was illegally sharing? Almost certainly not as much as they claimed.

I realize that Chris has to be careful with his public statements, but there's really no need for him to be praising the BSA. "Innocent men have nothing to fear from the law", it is said. Howeverm the BSA is not a law enforcement agency. It earns money by threatening an expensive audit - requiring you to prove your innocence.

Bitch or butch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387938)

That's all we really want to know.

Was this drink or dies business-plan? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387941)

1: Warez lots of software.
2: ?
3: Prison!

Bravery... (2, Insightful)

Q3vi1 (611292) | about 12 years ago | (#4387944)

I think it takes a fair amount of guts to be able to come out and tell people about an experience that basically changed one's life. I think, given time, he might have chosen to stop working with DrinkOrDie, but he ended up getting nabbed before his morality caught up with his uncertainty.

Crock of shit (5, Insightful)

kableh (155146) | about 12 years ago | (#4387948)

Software companies really do lose money from piracy, why else would they support these types of organizations?

Prove it. You're telling me that if a high school kid who messes around with with Photoshop occasionally downloads a pirated copy off IRC, that Adobe loses 500 bucks?

Don't get me wrong, piracy is basically theft. I make it a point to buy software that I find useful, especially in the case of shareware, because I have a moral obligation to myself to do so. But this is the same flaw in logic the music industry uses to brand us all theives and legislate against us for the "good of the artists".

Re:Crock of shit (1)

ChannelX (89676) | about 12 years ago | (#4388021)

Prove it. You're telling me that if a high school kid who messes around with with Photoshop occasionally downloads a pirated copy off IRC, that Adobe loses 500 bucks?

You can say that they aren't losing money really if the kid is just fooling around with the software and wouldn't buy it anyways. Its like saying that unless you're going to make money off of it why pay?

On the other hand does that really matter? The kid is using a copyrighted piece of software illegally. It really doesn't make any difference what the use of the software is.

Dude, that's gonna turn some heads (5, Funny)

therealmoose (558253) | about 12 years ago | (#4387950)

Blockquote the poster:
I am setting up a service there called the "Free Software Mirror Project"
I'm no lawyer, but a convicted warez dude setting up a "FREE SOFTWARE Mirror Project has to attract some attention....

sanskrit (2, Informative)

tps12 (105590) | about 12 years ago | (#4387952)

Is a written language. Nobody speaks it.

Re:sanskrit (1)

Hamster Of Death (413544) | about 12 years ago | (#4388040)

Well he's got the time to get started on changing that! =)

Re:sanskrit (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 12 years ago | (#4388064)

oh come on, while Sanskrit is a 'dead language', it can be obviously spoken if you really want to learn it: do a google search for 'spoken sanskrit' to find in #1 position a site with some realaudio files for example.

Sad (5, Insightful)

Master Bait (115103) | about 12 years ago | (#4387954)

It is so sad that he's going to jail for duplicating data. I don't give a rat's ass about the position that it is 'stealing'. These people never sold their copies.

The laws have really gone over the line. Copyright violations used to be civil matters, going into criminal if somebody sold copies for financial gain.

It is a sad time when corporate entities have so many more rights than citizens.

Good thing for open source software.

Speaking from the heart? (5, Interesting)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | about 12 years ago | (#4387958)

I was wondering if his party-line on "piracy", "stealing", "innocent companies" stuff was honest or not. Then I saw this:

People and businesses who pay for software don't have to worry about [DRM, etc] because what they are doing is legitimate. In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it. They would clear their name and be finally exonerated.

Yes, I'm just SO looking forward to that random BSA audit, triggered by a disgruntled employee. Since we haven't done anything wrong, the time and money to inventory 100 identical copies of Windows and Word, along with the all-slightly-different 6-page license agreements, is really well-spent, and I look forward to "clearing" my company's name. Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to prove our innocence at least once a year!

I think his lawyer wrote the whole thing. (Not that I'd blame him, really.)

Re:Speaking from the heart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388074)

Actually, I think that the proper response to a BSA audit would be to demand a thorough audit of their systems to prove that they didn't take a copy of anything that you developed in-house when they were in poking around your systems.

This Just in!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:This Just in!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388018)

hrm... it seems to be down again.. 4 minutes after your post? not bad =]

So how... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4387966)

so how does one get into this warez scene? Sure i've got stuff from kazaa, and other p2p, but I've *never* found a reliable, well stocked ftp server... how do you get the addresses?

Re:So how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388003)

IRC

About to spend 33 months in the pokey? (3, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#4387972)

That's just a little less than three years. Three years with little or no chance of hetero sex. If I had time that I got to spend outside of prison before going inside, you can sure as hell bet that I wouldn't be spending it reading slashdot.

Chris, no clue as to your romantic situation, but put the keyboard down and find yourself a woman to fuck before its too late.

Re:About to spend 33 months in the pokey? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388022)


Three years with little or no chance of hetero sex. If I had time that I got to spend outside of prison before going inside, you can sure as hell bet that I wouldn't be spending it reading slashdot.


I don't know. Based on my perception from reading a lot of the posts here, I'd guess that three years without sex is nothing for the typical slashdotter. Only difference being, this guy has a good excuse.

Silenced opinions (5, Interesting)

srussell (39342) | about 12 years ago | (#4387975)

(Note: Chris does not advise you to follow in his footsteps.)

I don't believe that "warez" is an important enough issue to break the law over, I probably wouldn't morally approve of the activity if I thought about it enough, and I'm probably not clever enough (anymore) to crack software anyway.

However, one must wonder whether Chris' discouraging of people to follow in his footsteps is motivated by his inner feelings, or by the terms of his sentence / plea bargain / desire for early parole. The last, I can understand, for obvious reasons; the first two have always seemed just shy of legalized censorship.

The P2P Question (3, Interesting)

Rayonic (462789) | about 12 years ago | (#4387979)

That was a pretty good response to the question I asked, but I wish had emphasized the security aspect.

Mainly, I think there is an interesting legal difference between "leechers" on IRC/Usenet/etc. and "leechers" on P2P, in that the P2P users technically become distributors themselves. Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?

Here's what's unfair (5, Informative)

pheared (446683) | about 12 years ago | (#4387991)

Both networks utilize the internet as a means to illegally distribute copyrighted works.

It is NOT a prerequisite of a P2P network to exchange illegally copyrighted works. I can have a P2P network that exchanges legal copies of files. I cannot have a warez network that distributed legal copies of files, unless you redefine what we know warez to mean.

Re:Here's what's unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388049)

untrue, free software does get distributed along with warez.

Re:Here's what's unfair (1)

Tantrum420 (312608) | about 12 years ago | (#4388106)

It is NOT a prerequisite of a P2P network to exchange illegally copyrighted works. I can have a P2P network that exchanges legal copies of files. I cannot have a warez network that distributed legal copies of files, unless you redefine what we know warez to mean.

Um... What exactly is a 'warez network'? Seems like most of that trading is done via FTP sites, web pages, IRC Bots, Usenet, whatever. Don't forget that these programs and protocols are just as neutral about what gets traded across them as P2P. The only thing that qualifies those networks as 'warez' is what people put across them. Don't punish the technology for what people use it for. Kinda like guns, IMHO.

As a sidenote, as warez is just a short form of softwares, couldn't a warez network distribute legal copies of 'freewarez'?

My $0.05 (keep the change),
T

Pirating Software is Wrong... (2, Flamebait)

SuperDuG (134989) | about 12 years ago | (#4387996)

Well boy that was a fun disclaimer. So let me get this straight. He's going to prison, where he gets to use a computer? HUH? Anyone else sensing the irony here? The main tool of his convicted crime and he has one to use at his leisure? What's next firing ranges?

Aside from that, warez is basically the underground of the net we know is there, but deny it's existance in the media. The underworld in the media's eyes are genuis hackers who mastermind complex systems and takeover websites. You rarely ever hear of the massive amount of child pornography, illegal software, or other things that make sleeping a little harder.

These people should use their talents for a greater good.

Re:Pirating Software is Wrong... (0)

NightEyez (166886) | about 12 years ago | (#4388019)

...like spreadin' da gospel.. Halleluyah!!!

Re:Pirating Software is Wrong... (2)

Twister002 (537605) | about 12 years ago | (#4388095)

It's interesting that he is allowed to use a computer while Kevin Mitnick is just now allowed to use one?

seems like (1)

ez76 (322080) | about 12 years ago | (#4388000)

he's building evidence of his being a reformed pirate ... perhaps for some future early release hearing

Computers in Prison (0)

ksuMacGyver (562019) | about 12 years ago | (#4388004)

If you are reading the comments, I had one more question. Are they going to let you use computers during your stay in prison? P.S. I am also interested in your "Free Software Mirroring" you can contact me at sjh4069ksu.edu

Ignore his "Piracy BAD!" spiel (3, Interesting)

abe ferlman (205607) | about 12 years ago | (#4388005)

He has an obvious conflict of interest, namely that he will want to appear sincerely repentant when it comes time for parole hearings and what not. I think it's safe to assume that he doesn't really feel that way, and the only reason he's saying it is because he's being caged like a laboratory animal for sharing information.

what is false remorse? (1)

wwest4 (183559) | about 12 years ago | (#4388007)

so do you want him to continue believing it's ok to steal?


take a basic course in social psychology, and you may learn that the first step towards changing an attitude can be to act the role.


it's in his best interest for many reasons (not just impressing parole officers) to change his internalized belief. whatever motivates him to start down this path is fine with me. best of luck to him.

The saddest thing (4, Interesting)

Cryogenes (324121) | about 12 years ago | (#4388011)

The saddest thing in my mind is that Chris apparently feels that he deserves his punishment.

He did not act from a desire of profit, or even of fame. He did not do anything with an intent to hurt someone. His entire warez career was based on the desire to be with his friends and help them out. In a sense he lived the life that the Gnu Manifesto envisages as the ideal state of affairs: a life in which everybody may modify and copy software for all of their friends.

Do you believe in death after life?

Re:The saddest thing (5, Insightful)

wwest4 (183559) | about 12 years ago | (#4388081)

He did not act from a desire of profit, or even of fame. He did not do anything with an intent to hurt someone

It is indeed sad, and I personally think the punishment may be a little harsh, but if we measured the seriousness of a crime based on intent, we'd be in trouble.

"I didn't mean to crash while driving drunk"
"I didn't mean to hit that little girl while I was randomly firing bullets into the woods"
"I didn't mean to psychologically ruin that 12-year-old for life when I seduced him"

A lot of laws are meant to punish people for not thinking about the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, since there is sometimes no way to ascertain intent, we legislate against lack of foresight. These are usually lesser crimes/penalties. 3 years seems long, still... hopefully he'll get out sooner.

Re:The saddest thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388085)

Motive plays no/little role in the courts. It doesn't matter why he acted so much as that he did act. If I speed because my wife is ill, because getting there 5 seconds sooner might make a difference, does not exempt me from the possible ticket for breaking the law.

Open Office Props.... (1)

Tsali (594389) | about 12 years ago | (#4388016)

haiku

Here's something for the
Open Office marketeers -
Chris Tesco likes us!

/haiku

Minimum security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388023)

Conjugal visits? Not that I know of. No, minimum security prison is no picnic. I have a client in there right now. He says the trick is, kick someone's ass the first day, or become someone's bitch. Then everything will be alright.

Ugh (5, Insightful)

kafka93 (243640) | about 12 years ago | (#4388048)

Everyone, Chris included, has the right to their own opinions. But, to me, this seems a hideous sell-out. One can only wonder whether there was some clause in the guy's plea bargain or whathaveyou that forces him to keep saying "piracy is bad", "stealing is wrong", without any mitigation.

Quite aside from the arguments as to whether piracy *really* costs anyone all that much, and about whether the industry grossly inflates the figures of the costs of piracy (hint: they do) - the punishment is ridiculously out of proportions with the crime. There are people who torture animals or beat their wives getting smaller sentences.

The fact is that most people dealing in warez aren't making any money from it. They're often not stealing things which they would otherwise buy. They're not causing anyone any physical pain. They're not taking money directly from anyone's wallet. And yet these people - often, young kids who spend most of their time just chatting with one another - are faced with the risk of *years* in prison. This is ridiculous. Irrespective of whether you think piracy is "wrong", I find it incredibly difficult to believe that anyone genuinely thinks that someone should be *sent to jail* for this kind of thing - least of all when, for example, people who drive drunk often aren't sent to jail. It is *wrong* that crimes that ostensibly affect big business carry a greater punishment than do many crimes against humanity. It is *wrong* that people should be locked up for several years for this kind of thing: who amongst us doesn't have the odd mp3 lying around, the odd tape copied from a friend, the odd copy of Office made on numerous computers?

The fact that everyone's doing it doesn't mean that it's not 'wrong', of course. But can anyone really endorse having _two years_ of someone's life being taken from them for the sake of something which almost everyone is doing?

This makes me sick.

About what you'd expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388055)

For an amazingly overly zelous system designed to do one thing this is about what i'd expect:

Shell shock. Having been on the recieving end of tickets i'm prity sure once the kid gets over that part he'll educate himself alright, probably on security methodology. What he does with that....

A request (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388061)

Say hi to Bubba for me when you get to prison!

What he didn't mention about the raid... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4388066)

... was that each of the 20 Federal Agents took turns ass raping him before they interrogated him.

They do that to break the criminal's spirit so they can get more accurate admissions of guilt.

Yup (1)

Apreche (239272) | about 12 years ago | (#4388069)

just as he says, stealing software IS wrong. There's no way around it. However, I don't like how he calls the corporations innocent. While it's not good to steal ever. Many big software comapanies are far from innocent.

Bad Timing! (-1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | about 12 years ago | (#4388071)

Hey, crackdot, you did this interview WAY to early. You ass-clowns should have waited until the case was over so that we could get some HONEST answers.

you = shit

Re:Bad Timing! (3, Interesting)

Peyna (14792) | about 12 years ago | (#4388096)

Most people convicted of crimes eventually come to the realization that they were indeed wrong. Those that don't usually are the ones that end up back in jail over and over again.

Damn... (3, Funny)

Deltan (217782) | about 12 years ago | (#4388076)

I was expecting the raid to be somewhat cooler than that. Tell me, did you receive a cellular phone via FedEx before you got nailed? Or was the phone ringing on your desk per chance? You missed the way out if either of those things happened.

Whatever you think.. (3, Interesting)

h0tblack (575548) | about 12 years ago | (#4388079)

...about what he did, it's interesting to see that he's planning on using his skills to help distribution of free software with the "Free Software Mirror Project". The warez scene has undoubtedly got a huge skills base at it's core for organising large scale distribution structures like this. We're already starting to see individuals skills and general methodology (such as the evolution of p2p) being used for legitimate distribution of software. Hopefully this will be something that grows (I cannot see that it won't).
The recent example of hammering of websites and servers for the release of Mandrake 9, RedHat 8 and UT2003 show that these methods are needed (along with a myriad of other occasions). Methods for mirroring sites linked to by /. have also been mentioned in the past. However the techniques are developed and whomever develops them, the knowledge of how to get a stable and working environment where increased demand gives increased availability rather than the inverse has got to be worth exploiting.

net connection died? (5, Funny)

misterhaan (613272) | about 12 years ago | (#4388094)

I was sitting at my computer chatting with a fellow DOD member on IRC. All of a sudden I noticed my net connection died. When I went to walk out the door, a U.S. Customs agent met me.
my cable modem connection dies daily! i can just see warez guys experiencing this and running to kill their circuit breakers and lock all the doors . . . never to go outside again!
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