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Operation Fastlink Nets 1000s in Pirate Sting

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the bad-times-for-file-sharing dept.

The Courts 844

womanfiend writes "The Iowa City (Iowa) Press Citizen has been reporting the last two days about "'Operation Fastlink,' a multi-national investigation launched in April." Apparently, the investigation has netted a local college student hosting 13,000 titles worth a bundle of money both in simple value and liability for as many times as logs show the titles were downloaded. According to the P-C: "...'Operation Fastlink,' which targeted the underground community's hierarchy with [FBI] agents conducting more than 120 searches within 24 hours in 27 states and 11 foreign countries. At the time, authorities identified nearly 100 people as leaders or high-ranking members of international piracy groups." Sounds like somebody's in deep doo doo."

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Call me when the headline reads: (5, Insightful)

Chatmag (646500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191134)

1000's of spammers caught in sting.

Re:Call me when the headline reads: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191161)

Pirates!! PIRATES!!! Viscious killers!

I second that. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191162)

I'd much rather see spammers lose their assets and livelihood than a 1000 pirates get sent down for pirating the latest blockbuster movie/crap pop song/Windows OS

YOU TOO ARE A THEIV (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191266)


Looks like cumtacoos l4men3ss filter does not quite work, huh, cumtacoo? Keep it up, one day you'll understand this whole PERL thingy!

Re:Call me when the headline reads: (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191203)

Substitute "Counterfeiting" or "Treason" instead of spammers.

*thinks of what Constitution says about federal crimes...

Re:Call me when the headline reads: (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191298)

Isn't that what 'piracy' is, counterfeiting?

So the current headline should really say, "Operation Fastlink Nets 1000s in Counterfeiting Sting' or something?

Or is it because of some obscure cost/packaging/distribution reason that this isn't technically counterfeiting?

Re:Call me when the headline reads: (1)

Vicsun (812730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191225)

The lobby against spam is nonexistent. Seriously, unless spam starts to seriously hurt someone with lots of money it's here to stay.

FBI searches (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191143)

[FBI] agents conducting [..] searches [..] in [..] 11 foreign countries

Why the bloody fuck are FBI agents able to conduct searches in forgein countries? They have nothing to say outside of the US!

Re:FBI searches (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191193)

They may not have jurisdiction in foreign countries, but they have information and expertise.

And more importantly, perhaps, not many countries want to anger the US, for economic and political reasons.

Re:FBI searches (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191214)

More than likely it was the FBI telling local authorities, we have this evidence against one of your citizens we want you to arrest him and we want to be there to watch over things. Its a neat little thing called cooperation...

Re:FBI searches (1)

tenman (247215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191276)

United States == cooperation?

Re:FBI searches (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191297)

Well usually it take too to cooperate...atleast our version of it.

Re:FBI searches (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191320)

and damn i need to remember to preview so I catch my typos....

Re:FBI searches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191311)

I think there's a typo in there...

that should be "United States == Corporation"

FBI Presence Outside US (2, Informative)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191301)

Why the bloody fuck are FBI agents able to conduct searches in forgein [sic] countries? They have nothing to say outside of the US!

The FBI has a considerable presence outside the United States:
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working every day not only in the United States, but in 52 countries outside our borders. The FBI has a Legal Attache Program which was created to help foster good will and gain greater cooperation with international police partners in support of the FBI's domestic mission. The goal is to link law enforcement resources and other officials outside the U.S. with law enforcement in this country to better ensure the safety of the American public here and abroad.

"Presently, there are 45 Legal Attache (Legat) offices and four Legat sub-offices. The FBI's Special Agent representatives abroad carry the titles of Legal Attache, Deputy Legal Attache, or Assistant Legal Attache. The FBI believes it is essential to station highly skilled Special Agents in other countries to help prevent terrorism and crime from reaching across borders and harming Americans in their homes and workplaces.

"Legats not only help international police agencies with training activities, they facilitate resolution of the FBI's domestic investigations which have international leads. The Legat program focuses on deterring crime that threatens America such as drug trafficking, international terrorism, and economic espionage."

Source: FBI []
"No one should scandalize the presence of FBI agents at the Mexico City International Airport, as the presence of intelligence agents at airports is common. Yes there are agents from the FBI (at airports), like our agents are in the U.S., like the Spanish police as well as carabineers (military or state police) from Chile and Italy are here. They are information agents, conduits for the intelligence systems of their countries to obtain confidential and verifiable information."

Source: Armando Salinas Torre [] , Interior Ministry Undersecretary of Migration

Uh.... (1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191146)

"deep doo doo"?

Yeah, nice journalism there /.!

AFP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191148)

Almost First Post!

I'd reply to this (5, Funny)

atarione (601740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191153)

.... but I'm too busy formatting my HardDrives..Must destroy evidence.....mmmmm evidence

That would be funnier if... (0, Troll)

BlackMesaResearchFac (593320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191172)

...formatting your HDs was actually destroying evidence.

Re:I'd reply to this (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191186)

You better do more then format your drive all that normally dose is just wipe out the FAT Table. You need to get a program that fills your hard drive with Random Data 1 and 0 and 0 and 1 and do it a couple of times to get rid of any residual data.

Re:I'd reply to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191289)

that's BS. the dos/windows command "format" does wipe the FAT only when you use the option /Q. by default it overwrites all sectors (not with random data though, true)

Re:I'd reply to this (1, Troll)

maximilln (654768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191312)

Residual data is an urban legend. Don't believe the spook-show you read from the FBI/CIA.

Fill with 254. Filling with 0 or 1 may, on fast fills, leave the other bits. That's the origin of your residual effect.

If "residual effect" were real, why don't you see random r/w errors on a regular basis?

Re:I'd reply to this (3, Funny)

saintp (595331) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191314)

Luckily, I know just the program [] .

Re:I'd reply to this (1)

didde (685567) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191361)

If you're using OS X you can always use FileVault [] to encrypt your stuff with AES-128 [] .

Or if you're paranoid just use Secure Empty Trash or format your disc using Disk Utility and have it write random data over the entire disk 8 times [] .

yeah the American people (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191154)

Sounds like somebody's in deep doo doo

Because our law enforcement is acting on the behalf of private companies (who should be filing civil suits against these people) instead of going after the rapists/murders/terrorists of the World.

Well in fairness they are still going after them -- this just seems like wasted resources to me.

Re:yeah the American people (2, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191185)

Terrorism -- the perfect invisible enemy for a nation consumed with fear. Do you enjoy being manipulated?

Re:yeah the American people (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191272)

Terrorism -- the perfect invisible enemy for a nation consumed with fear. Do you enjoy being manipulated?

Oh bugger off. Mind you I completely agree with you and roll my eyes at this crap [] and all of the public service announcements about "being ready" and I would tend to agree that it does seem to be a scheme to keep the current politicans in office...

All that said... bugger off. What do you think is a higher priority for our limited law enforcement resources? Going after terrorists (despite my rant they are actually somewhat of a threat and we can't completely ignore them), the Ken Lay's of the World, or just your run of the mill rapist/murderer guy who has the heads of the three college girls he murdered last week in his freezer? Do you really think that going after people for copyright violations is more deserving of limited law enforcement resources then any of those things?

Re:yeah the American people (0)

tenman (247215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191292)

Yes, we enjoy it very much! It tickles, and some times they kiss us when they are done. BTW, where do you live where you don't have to deal with manipulation?

Re:yeah the American people (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191230)

damn streight, let those programmers eat their own shit, im not paying for it. they can work for free, afterall they went to college for 4 years to get that $80k degree for a coster.

looozers, uhh, hey could i get photoshop from you? my programming stops at "hello world" with a button.

Re:yeah the American people (2, Insightful)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191283)

"Well in fairness they are still going after them ""

Are you sure of that? I thought that building prisons for non-violent drug offenders was the current priority.

Re:yeah the American people (2, Informative)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191304)

Well, you're crossing genre's of "crimes" there, but I think you're on the right track. Who the FBI, CIA, NSA, DoD, and the Pentagon ought to be going after is China, Korea, Thailand, and all the other Southeast Asian countries that are costing American companies millions, if not billions, in 'lost revenues' on computer software sales. Sadly, that would require an act of war, and since our government leaders know that this is not a viable solution for saving a select few American companies millions of dollars every year, they stand by and let the piss-ant agents go after all of the American citizens who aren't really making any money off of these thefts of computer programs to give the rest of the country's bumbling idiots a sense that all is well in our great nation.

It's pathetic, and sad, but such are the times we live in. If this were medieval times we'd probably just go try to kick some Southeast Asia ass, but then we'd also only live to be about 40 and could get burned at the stake for not kissing the royal scepter and worshipping the Pope.

Re:yeah the American people (1)

RovingSlug (26517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191337)

Because our law enforcement is acting on the behalf of private companies ... this just seems like wasted resources to me.

Versus what? Vigilante law? Or perhaps you mean allowing organizations like the RIAA or MPAA to fast track lawsuits ... because nothing could go wrong with that.

I prefer law enforcement to enforces the laws, not private organizations with a single mind for profits.

Re:yeah the American people (5, Informative)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191349)

The wholesale looting of others intellectual property is a very destructive thing. Of those 13,000 titles you can very sure that among them were titles by the non-industry powerhouses.

I've worked as an employee and contractor to a number of small niche players who wrote popular useful software but were ultimately forced out of business due to the direct and indirect effects of piracy.

It is criminal what is being done to some of these companies. When you have a potential customer base of perhaps 5,000 you really need to make sure that you do exactly what your customers want.

I helped organize a QA and customer satisfaction drive for a niche regional software provider. We surveyed every user of the software. Took suggestions and complaintants and feedback on every bit of the application. All told we collected, ranked, anaylzed and implemented 6,500 changes ranging from minor tweaks to major rewrites. It was an 18-month project. Every issue was documentated, analyzed, and every user, every issue recieved a human-authored note that dealt in depth with the issue.

At the request of several users the licensing was vastly simplified even though it meant - at best - a 15% decline in revenue. A solid base of the users/sysadmins complained about the technical measures used to prevent licensing violations. They were removed completely and the honor system was instituted.

After the project, the application won numerous awards within its industry. User satisifaction with the application went from 62% to 98% between the versions. The average site had about 10%-20% smaller licensing costs. Support calls dropped 50% in 3 months. A comprehensive professional written and edited user manual was given to every user, and a robust feature request/enhancement/bug tracker went live.

It was vastly successful. Yet, within 12 months of that release, the company closed its door, and released the code from escrow to the clients. 40 programmers, QA, and support people lost their jobs, and the owner - a very nice woman - was financially ruined. A number of the customer sites also went belly up - as many as 10.

The software was an investment to be sure, but allowed you to run an efficent, competitive, and focused organization. When the anti-piracy features were removed competitors with pirated editions sprang up, offering similair services at lower prices - part of which was because the new enterprises could escape making an investment in software that their competitors did have to make.

The fact is that in this situation everyone knows what happened. A few key employees from one established place took a copy of the server with all the data files and software and all that, and went to establish a competitor in an adjoining state. Same product, 25% cheaper. That 25% is almost entirely made up by the fact that they did not license the software everyone else has to pay for.

In this case, private litigation is useless and slow. The software company and several established reputable companies ended up being run out of business by a truly awful display of poor ethics.

Pirates destroyed the lives of many honest people here. This software package that was cracked and passed around so viciously on many of the big warez networks was the lifeblood of a vibrant partnership of interests. And it was trashed so that a quick buck could be made by a few destructive people (who ended up closing up shop when the easy money was over; they didn't charge enough or save enough to make it through the long slow periods that are inherent in the industry).

Bottom line is that this was a true shame. And it's not all that uncommon. Government acts on behalf of people, and many times, that means acting on behalf of businesses. It's sure easy to be pissed about the FBI spending moneny on anti-piracy, but it has very real economic effects.

Law-enforcement, including the FBI, is generally well-funded. There really isn't a great battle for resources going on. Prosecuting piracy with a few agents and a few attorneys and a few computer experts is not destracting from the wider prosecution of violent crime.

White collar crime is very real, and it's a problem. The "violence" committed by this type of criminal is very destructive.

Re:yeah the American people (2, Insightful)

windows (452268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191376)

It's the responsibility of law enforcement to enforce all the laws. And when the content being distributed reaches a certain value, it does become a criminal offense.

There's a big difference between an operation like this and the lawsuits filed by the RIAA.

First of all, the RIAA stated previously that the people they sue on average are distributing 1,000 titles. The college student mentioned in the story was distributing about 13,000 titles. That's a big difference. I also can bet you that most of the people that got sued by the RIAA were downloading music for their enjoyment and weren't doing it with the intent of distributing it to other people. On the other hand, this sting operation was busting a piracy ring. These people ran the servers for the sole purpose of illegally distributing copyrighted materials to others.

The amount of material and the intent is very different.

GNAA Announces Xangadotting of Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191155)

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13000 titles of what exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191160)

The article doesn't explain *what* these titles actually are. Are they possibly individual mp3s? In which case I would expect that many people have more on their Ipods!

Re:13000 titles of what exactly? (1)

3terrabyte (693824) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191351)

The BSA was involved. This sting was about cracked software titles. RTFA

Re:13000 titles of what exactly? (1, Insightful)

tenman (247215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191352)

What difference does it make what media type they were holding? While it's lame to hunt down people for things like this, they were holding items that weren't theirs, then turning around and giving use of it away. I'm more suprised that if they did 120 searches of "high-ranking members of international piracy groups", and only got 13,000 titles. Seems like they should have done better homework on who these "high-ranking members of international piracy groups" really are."

13k.... giggle...

Wrong Department (5, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191164)

Should read "From the finally-going-after-the-lawbreakers dept."

We pissed and moaned when the authorities went after the makers of P2P software, crying that they should go after the people doing the infringement.

Predictably, now that authorities are actually going after the infringers, we have something new to piss and moan about. Let's get consistent, can we?

Re:Wrong Department (1, Insightful)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191255)

I'm sorry, but this is just ridiculous. There's so much crazy, crazy shit going on in the world. To think that a massive, worldwide sting operation was conducted to go after WarEZ D00Dz - undoubtedly costing millions of taxpayer dollars and occupying law enforcement agents for weeks or longer - is just insane. MOVIES, SONGS, SOFTWARE. These aren't life-threatening. I'm not saying such things should be ignored, but the scale, preparation and implementation seems to have been amazing for this project. Was it REALLY worth all that effort ?

Re:Wrong Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191334)

You completely missed my point. All I'm saying is that at first Slashbots cried when authorities weren't going after individual lawbreakers, and now Slashbots are crying because authorities ARE going after individual lawbreakers.

That's called hypocrisy. I wish these Slashbots would just come out and say what they really mean: "We don't want to pay for <insert digital media here>."

Amen to that! (3, Insightful)

Sgt O (832802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191257)

It's been said a thousand times in /. and I'll say it again.

These idiots are stealing other peoples/companies stuff and redistributing

They know it's illegal but they do it anyway so they get no simpathy from me.

I speed (allot) normally doing 80-90 mph on the way to/from work. If I get busted, guess what? I got busted! I know I'm breaking the law so you won't see me whine when I get a ticket.

Re:Wrong Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191287)

Let's get consistent, can we?

Sounds like we're pretty consistently pissing and moaning to me ;)

My collection is bigger than yours ... (5, Insightful)

orangeguru (411012) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191166)

Why are some people so stupid and put everything they collected online - especially when it's pirated? It's like screaming 'get me! get me!'

Re:My collection is bigger than yours ... (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191331)

I have a friend who just shares a limited portion of his collection at any one time. He'll leave five or six torrents open for a week, then close them and open five new torrents. Sharing all 500 of your DVD rips or all 50,000 MP3 files is definitely asking for the MPAA/RIAA folks to knock on your door.

Re:My collection is bigger than yours ... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191372)

They think that if they perform illegal activities they will get the chicks. Seriously I knew this guy who took pride in his pirated software collection. He would broadcast it to everyone espectilly any girl who had an inkling of interest in it, normally after that she would turn her head in descust, because he was the steriotypical nerd 100% (Tall, Lanky, Thick Rimmed Glasses, The Calculator Watch (Which he used and showed off daily), PDA, Laptop Computer, Stupid humor and just never got it, Head of A.V., etc...). Men like to show that they are the Alpha Male in some way or an other. If they can't be the biggest and strongest, or the smartest, they might as well have the largest colection of Warz.

Pointing finger. (0, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191167)

Sounds like somebody's in deep doo doo.

It is You! Oh ohh your in troble now. You better do a little better then format your drive.

And in other news... (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191169)

Copy protoction still fails to stop rampant software piracy.

Re:And in other news... (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191212)

What many people fail to realize is that when you mass distribute the *same* image (ie. CD). So long as that is the case, copy protection is always going to fail horribly.

Jerry []

Poor college students easy targets (2, Insightful)

vision33r (829872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191170)

The software industry are busy spanking poor college students who couldn't afford over-priced software while not going after companies that use pirated software.. It's everywhere and they can afford to pay for it.

Re:Poor college students easy targets (1)

mavi_yelken (801565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191190)

I hear you. Hey, FBI! Target Me!

Read the article... (2, Interesting)

BlackMesaResearchFac (593320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191246)

It's never the college kids that are downloading illegal copies that are busted (unlike w/ music). It's the kids and adults that contribute to the warez community that provides it for download. Granted it's not as if the warez community doesn't use the software they steal, but it's because of them that hundreds of people do not purchase a game or software package. Why anyone should think they ought to get a free ride just because this or that may be percieved as worse does not hold water.

Re:Poor college students easy targets (1)

Vicsun (812730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191267)

Rule number one of operation fastlink: You do not go after entities with $$.
Rule number two of operation fastlink: Oh, who am I kidding?

Re:Poor college students easy targets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191285)

Because most of the companies doing the spanking don't care to stop the piracy. The companies hurt by piracy especially by corporate piracy don't have money to sue in the first place. These companies doing the sue like corporations useing pirated software. They like it becase the grow dependant on the software, then management gets scared of being audited and buys it eventally. The only way to make managers scared of being audited is to make them fear haveing to pay out huge settlements. The best way to do that is highly public law suits, that are sure wins. If you sue a poor college student who can only afford limited legal help, with your private army of lawyers you are sure to win and be awarded a huge settlement, it looks scary to suits even though the defendant will never pay becase he can't afford to. It also serves to insulate them from legal action by other 800 pound gorillas,

"Oh your going to sue are you? Well we are gonna sue you then becase I am sure at least one of your employees pirated our software and installed it on one of your systems."

"Fine don't sue us, we won't sue you."

"Ok, then lets go find some poor kids to sue."

Don't copy... (4, Funny)

Phixxr (794883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191173)

...That Floppy!

College kids? (5, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191174)

I can imagine that call home

"Yeah mom, I was expelled. Why? Oh, uh, um, the FBI caught me using my net connection to distribute movies illegally. Yes, yes. With the computer you bought me. What? No. The tuition you paid is not refundable. Books? I'm off campus in under 24 hours, I don't have time to sell them. Another college? This is on my permanent record. BTW you wouldn't happen to have a couple thousand to settle this case would "


Re:College kids? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191254)

Nothing forces a kid to grow up more then multiple lawsuits. The kid was probably figuring that he was above the law and there was no way they could track him and he got more cocky over time. When they are in college they are usually 17 youngest and most likely 18-19 so they are no longer kids and they should know right from wrong by now and just because he was a college student it shouldn't ease his sentence.

Re:College kids? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191280)

If by 17 you don't know that copying media and "sharing" it is wrong...

first off...


So you're saying retarded immature ignorant people go to college? I thought college was for the bright students who were already mature enough to take on an adult learning setting [e.g. no mommy or daddy around].

second, this kid will probably think he's some sort of martyr. He'll likely get news time as "the kid the big evil corps took down" just like all asshat criminal hackers [caveat being not all hackers are criminal so don't get 2600 on me] like mitnick or what's not.


Re:College kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191315)

If by 17 you don't know that copying media and "sharing" it is wrong...

It isn't wrong, it is illegal. From my POV refusing to share stuff (copyrighted or not) with people who need it is wrong and unsocial.

Re:College kids? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191378)

Share implies that it was yours in the first place.

You can share your DVDs or CDs all you want. That's not illegal and in fact a nice gesture. I'll presume this is what you are talking about.

You can't download media for which you haven't paid then re-distribute it. I'll presume this isn't what you are talking about.

Don't tell me my presumptions are wrong.


Re:College kids? (1)

maximilln (654768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191342)

Nothing forces a kid to grow up more then multiple lawsuits.

Do you have kids? I don't care if they're doing anything "wrong" or not. How about we massage the laws so that, no matter what they do, they're always doing something "wrong"?

I'd love to slap your kids with a few lawsuits just to watch you get all indignant and defensive.

Re:College kids? (4, Funny)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191369)

Yeah, before you know it, these little fuckers will be ripping the tags off their mattresses! Obviously, P2P is a gateway crime to bigger things.

I once heard that Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom once shared a copyrighted VHS tape with his neighbors. If he had only been stopped then...

Re:College kids? (2, Interesting)

randalware (720317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191377)

Parents shouldn't pay the legal bills.
Let them use the public defender, lose the case & bill the government.
Then with manditory sentencing, we can have the prisons full of these kids.

Just think, our own home grown cyber terrorists.

Another generation lost in the battle of the brain damaged.

Sad (0, Troll)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191179)

Sadly, its these big operations that are making the industry groups crack down hard. I am somewhat in awe at the effort that was clearly put into this. Now that we have that terrorism thing behind us, we've moved on to more important things.

Jerry []

Is it obvious to anyone else.. (3, Interesting)

paganizer (566360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191181)

Is it obvious to anyone else that this person was caught a while back, and has a sealed plea bargain for lesser sentence somewhere whhich he got by agreeing to let them monitor his activities for a while?
Explains why he rolled over on himself so easily.

false Math (5, Insightful)

hhawk (26580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191184)

"personally responsible for as much as $200,000 in losses to the industry"

That is making the assumption that everyone who pirated software would actually buy it and if they bought it they would pay full price..

Re:false Math (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191248)

I wish to make up fictional losses too. I could get all sorts of grants, welfare, and tax refunds. If I incorporate an some sort of IP company, will that be enough?

If these are true losses, and can be enumerated so exactly, are they filing them in their taxes or not?

Just goes to show (4, Interesting)

Heem (448667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191192)

Many have gotten real bold about how they go about sharing things. In the old days it was like you had to be "elite" or "31337 d00d" in order to get to the restricted files on the BBS so you could download them at 2400 baud. Typically this meant that you knew the sysop, or were a friend of a friend. We have gotten too lax in the way that people are just randomly sharing out everything. Want to share stuff and download? I agree, but take it to encrypted tunnels on IPv6.

Re:Just goes to show (3, Insightful)

BobSutan (467781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191339)

If everybody and their brother wants to share, then doesn't that show that the system is in fact broken? If our laws are supposed to prevent "bad" behavior and whatnot, then what constitutes "bad"? In the past "bad" was determined by a general concensus that it was naughty behavior and needed to be corrected/punished. If everyone is alright with file sharing, then why not change the laws to reflect the shifting idealogy that culture shouldn't be locked up? Besides, copyright is meant to facilitate useful arts and sciences. Just how useful is a movie about someone getting their head blown off anyway (which seems to be the bulk of American action flicks these days)?

Re:Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191385)

I agree. IIRC more people copied files in USA illegally than voted Bush for president. See Lessig's book "Free Culture" about the subject.

15 years.... (5, Interesting)

orion41us (707362) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191200)

"Desir, registered as a student at the University of Iowa, waived indictment and pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Des Moines. He faces a maximum 15 years in prison on felony counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy. Sentencing is set for March 18."...

Ok - I know it was wrong - but 15 years! come on, 2nd degree murder is right aroung the same Sentence for ILLINOIS, anyone else think that this is a bit much....

Re:15 years.... (1)

tekunokurato (531385) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191249)

Well, to be technically correct about it, the guy doesn't face one count of whatever it is they're charging him with. If he did, it would certainly be less. Similarly, if he faced thousands and thousands of counts of 2nd degree murder, he'd probably have a much larger maximum penalty than 15 years.

Re:15 years.... (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191307)

It is pretty obvious that murderers and perverts are less dangerous than intellectual property theives.

Re:15 years.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191340)

And those aren't even thieves. What did they steal? Intellectual property? OMG LOL

He should murder someone too... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191390)

It'll just double his sentence, and then he can say "I killed a man" to the other inmates and might not get as much trouble.

I'd go for the prosecuting attorney or the family/pets of anyone involved.

"Daddy got the bad guy, but your brother died when someone burned down our house!"

Cute! (1, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191211)

the investigation has netted a local college student hosting 13,000 titles

13,000 titles... awww, that's just adorable. I hope someone got a new hard drive from Santy Claus.

Now we know... (4, Insightful)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191213)

... why our intelligence community can't catch Osama bin Laden -- they are being used as flunkies for the MPAA/RIAA.

I feel so much safer knowing those dangerous file-sharers are off the Net and no longer threatening the American way of life.

I can now look forward to the next riveting season of MTV Cribs and see millions of dollars being wasted by morons with good lawyers.

Sure-fire way to catch Osama: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191258)

Convince him to join an international movie-piracy network. We'll catch him for sure then.

Re:Now we know... (1)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191284)

Of course, if you knew shit about shit, you'd realize that it is not the job of the FBI to hunt for terrorists abroad. That's what the CIA is primarily responsible for, and to a lesser extent, the NSA.

Re:Now we know... (2, Insightful)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191313)

Most of the people who would be involved in hunting Bin Laden wouldn't have a lot to contribute to hunting warez groups.

The other way around, probably still true, but almost certainly less so.

And the usual BSA propaganda (5, Insightful)

pommaq (527441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191217)

From TFA:
is personally responsible for as much as $200,000 in losses to the industry
Business Software Alliance, which represents several software manufacturers, examined the two computer servers linked to Desir and reported that each contained client titles exceeding $2,500 in retail value. The $2,500 value is a benchmark in the federal criminal code.

This is, of course, complete bullshit. It's like Adobe always trying to claim that 12-year-olds warezing Photoshop are thousands of dollars worth of "losses" when there's no way in hell they would be able to buy the software. In many instances the widespread warezing of their software actually helps Adobe, since in a couple of years those 12-year-olds are going to enter their professional lives trained on Adobe's product, not their competitors'. Doesn't matter, though, piracy is wrong and you shouldn't do it (like doom2 said, if you're playing a pirated copy you're going to HELL) but these claims always strike me as ridiculous. Sure, send him to jail for a couple months or whatnot, but don't yell about how one pirate cost you bullions and bullions of dollars because it just isn't true!

I wonder (1)

Docrates (148350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191236)

Shouldn't there be at least a debate on whether or not piracy is really a bad thing?

I'm trying to think if this is similar to how the alcohol-is-illegal laws were enforced before an actual debate (and other factors) led to the legalization of alcohol.

It would really suck to go to jail for 5 years for a crime that 20 years from now is not really a crime anymore...

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191332)

debate? no debate allowed.

Ask the DEA about scientific experiments with medical cannabis. Not allowd to study it because it is dangerous. Proof? no proof necessary. It's illegal. why is it illegal? because it's dangerous.

This is your government on drugs.

It's good to know.... (0)

excaliber19 (750206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191238)

that our countries law enforcement is going after those evil, awful, wretched *pirates* ! These pirates are a much greater threat to our communal well being than, say, undercover terrorist cells!

I, for one, applaud our law enforcement for a job well done!

Pirates? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191261)

Did the pirates tell where they burried the pieces of 8?

Avast ye scurvy dogs!

Worse (cyber) crimes in the world. (3, Insightful)

dahl_ag (415660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191290)

When I drive, I speed all of the time. I don't see anything fundamentally wrong or unsafe with the speed that I drive. But I know what the law is, whether I like it or not. And I know that I am breaking it. So if I get a speeding ticket, I deal with it like a big boy. I wish people would take the same approach to illegal file trading. If you want to do it, fine. But you know it is illegal, and there isn't much you can do about the laws. (lets be realistic, there are powerful influences behind these laws) So if you get busted, deal with it. You knew what you were doing.

Re:Worse (cyber) crimes in the world. (2, Insightful)

ChairmanMeow (787164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191375)

Yes, but it's sort of a false analogy. You can't get 15 years for speeding.

Speeding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191389)

In my city (D/FW Metroplex, Texas) if you drive the speed limit you will be creating a hazardous impediment to the flow of traffic and might even cause a wreck. You must go with the prevailing flow of traffic, which is usually 10-15 MPH above posted speed limits, to not get run over.

Virus Writers (3, Insightful)

pawnIII (821440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191299)

I know its alot harder to track virus writers, but why doesn't the FBI, instead of monitoring these type of operations, spend more time trying to track down the latest virus writers?

It seems to me, that even a middle of the road virus does alot more damage than any p2p group can. Not to mention, there is malicious intent behind the people who write viruses.

In an age, where the number of viruses released each year continues to rise at an incredible rate. It would seem a better use of taxpayers fund to find the people who are trying to maliciously attack other computer user's computers.

Re:Virus Writers (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191328)

The answer is simple. The music industry has the federal government in its back pocket. What the music industry wants, the music industry gets.

When victims of viruses get a lobby as filthy rich and powerful as the RIAA, maybe the FBI will take some action.

Re:Virus Writers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191367)

You can believe that all you want but it doesn't make it true. It's just harder to press charges against virus writer than a pirate. Most virus writers aren't even charge with computer crimes, most of the time.

Don't get me wrong... (1)

Karth (14680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191308)

If I recall correctly, this was the major bust in april. This is one guy that the records finally became unsealed on. Most of this is done and over with, and the warez "community" has probably moved on.

Piracy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191324)

According to, piracy is: Robbery committed at sea, which leads me to assume that Iowa has been moved to the high seas. . .in light of this new data, it really doesn't matter that someone downloaded a few songs, does it?

time to go wireless (2, Interesting)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191350)

with all the free and open wi-fi points in the world, i guess it's time file sharers went wireless. i suppose that could be a viable defense, as well, if one has an open wi-fi router at home. that is, of course, until the po-po confiscates your computer and finds all your warez on it...

Piracy is a crime (1)

testednegative (843833) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191355)

... stop stealing ships!

Software/Shmoftware.... (1, Insightful)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191356)

In a couple of years all of those 1000s of titles will be a buck a piece in some bargain bin and shortly after chucked into the trash "bin" out back....

Is this really worth ruining some young person's life over?...

About time too (1)

DrSoCold (703785) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191359)

Freeloaders are threatening the future of P2P technology and giving us law abiding P2P users a bad name. If you can't afford to buy the titles, go get a better job!

Another great victory (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191381)

For Ebeneza Scrooge.... How does it feel to ruin young peoples live over something with questionable value...

Suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191395)

This is the first i've heard of this story, and i've been in Iowa City for almost two years now (as a student also). I completely agree with another poster who asked why he rolled over on himself, the newspaper article (can't slashdot my paper, punks!) says he was arrested this spring. Sounds like he entered a plea bargain. It seems though that he didn't actually store anything at home, by the way the article reads, he setup a colo machine, and allowed people access to it. That was probably what fucked him; I doubt the FBI et al goes after poor students in the dorms, with KaZaa running. His level of involvment was significantly higher than most.

Extrapolate (1)

maximilln (654768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191396)

and liability for as many times as logs show the titles were downloaded

1) Don't keep logs
2) Just because I've downloaded Debian 15 times doesn't mean I would've bought it 15 times.
3) I've downloaded the Windows updates for 98SE about 20 times in the last year. Can MS sue me because I haven't bought the other 19 copies of Windows?

Inferences suck... laws suck... copyrights suck... The US sucks... I can't move because it would take too long to walk to Canada (and Canadians are all uptight about US'ans anyways).
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