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P2P Operators Plead Guilty

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the be-more-careful dept.

The Courts 554

Bootsy Collins writes "In the first such criminal convictions in the U.S., two peer-to-peer hub operators have pled guilty to conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement. The two men were subjects of raids last August after Department of Justice investigators downloaded content valued at US$25,000 retail from their servers, the Movie Room and Acheron's Alley. They face sentences of up to five years in prison, and up to US$250,000 in fines, in addition to the possibility of being forced to pay restitution to copyright holders.

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Conspiracy? (3, Insightful)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418461)

They did commit copyright infringement. How is that conspiracy?

Re:Conspiracy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418471)

Contibutory Infringment.

IE: The exact same thing that Napster was shut down for.

Re:Conspiracy? (3, Informative)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418475)

It would have to be because of a plan for them to cooperate together, I would guess.

Re:Conspiracy? (2, Insightful)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418491)

So then why is the charge only for conspiracy, and not for the actual crime which has already been committed?

Re:Conspiracy? (1, Insightful)

Lifereaper0 (850920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418602)

Maybe because of the lack of jail time for copyright infringement?

Re:Conspiracy? (3, Insightful)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418639)

Your country actually allows you to send people to jail for planning to commit a non-jailable offense in the future???

Re:Conspiracy? (3, Informative)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418665)

No, the parent is either ignorant or a troll. Willfull copyright infringement is punishable with jail time, the length of which varies with the severity of the act.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

Lifereaper0 (850920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418667)

I'm not positive on the exact legal issues(ie jailtime), but I agree it's a damn stupid law. Although I do remember hearing that owning a copied cd could cost you thousands which makes this conspiracy case seem more plausable :)...I'm not sure about that one either.

Re:Conspiracy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418688)

Yes it does (as do most countries I believe). It is an inchoate crime. If you enter into an agreement to break the law with another, and take some action in furtherance of that purpose, that is a conspiracy to commit X.....
Logically it makes sense, you have their intent to break the law via the agreement with another, and then they are doing something that shows they really do plan to break the law.
For example, if I were to agree with you to rob a bank, and we buy ski-masks and guns, and then start casing the bank, why should we not be arrested prior to actually robbing the bank if the police find out we intend to rob the bank?

Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418478)

Wasn't this reported yesterday too?

Re:Hmm.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418495)

nm.. I probably read it on another page.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418485)

AIUI they were running the hubs rather than actually sharing the files.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418527)

No, they said DOJ downloaded from them.

Re:Conspiracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418600)

I don't know but in the article it sounded like the people were running hubs; probably Direct Connect hubs.

'Downloading from them' probably just means the DOJ accessed the hubs in order to download, and the normal way to download when connected to a hub is from other users, not the hub owners. That's the idea behind P2P after all. So the conspiracy charge is probably all about having facilitated for other users to download copyrighted material from each other.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418690)

From TFA:
after Department of Justice investigators downloaded content valued at US$25,000 retail from their servers

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418496)

IANAL, but I'd guess that they were technically only providing the means of infringement. So they helped it along, but weren't the ones necessarily downloading the content. Then again, I'm sure they had their own collections of things they did download, but when's the last time enforcement was interested in punishing that?
-N

Re:Conspiracy? (4, Informative)

JohnnyKlunk (568221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418502)

A conspiracy is a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act or a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act . You don't have to actually perform the act to be convicted. In many cases just planning to do something is against the law. Especially these days where having a map of a government building and a few pounds of fertaliser in the shed means you're conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. For which you'll definately do some hard time.

Re:Conspiracy? (0)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418546)

But they did perform the act.

Re:But they did perform the act (1, Funny)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418616)

euuuuuuuuuwwww

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

JohnnyKlunk (568221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418686)

ahh yes. I see what you mean, re-reading..
Good question. Maybe a legal wording technicality. Possibly ( and I really no idea ), the conspiracy to perform the act in the future is easy to prove and a bigger crime than the small number of actual 'acts' that they can prove. IE, they can prove the supplied a limited number of copyright materials. Thats a slap-on-the-wrist punishment. However they 'conspired' to supply millions of dollars worth. Which is going to be a much better result for the prosecutors.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

TRS80NT (695421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418694)

...just planning to do something is against the law.

Right. And in most jurisdictions conspiracy is a felony even if the "crime" being plotted is not.
So don't discuss whether with your friends whether they think it would be safe to jay-walk here.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

Sindri (207695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418590)

Dictionary.com:

conspire
Audio pronunciation of "conspire" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kn-spr)
v. conspired, conspiring, conspires
v. intr.

1. To plan together secretly to commit an illegal or wrongful act or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.
2. To join or act together; combine: "Semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso, Cognac, and vanilla all conspire to intensify [the cake's] flavor" (Sally Schneider).

v. tr.

To plan or plot secretly.

In legal terms conspiracy simply means you planed something with others. If you and I plan to steal candy from a child and I do it, we are *both* guilty of conspiracy to commit theft but only I am guilty of theft.

Re:Conspiracy? (-1, Troll)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418612)

It's the same as how MS is not committing conspiracy to FUD Linux, only different.

See how MS (err SCO) was handed a gift in their case with IBM here [sltrib.com] .

Re:Conspiracy? (3, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418613)

They did commit copyright infringement. How is that conspiracy?

Its a plea. Want to understand the law, get a law degree or be a lawmaker. Although, neither really can understand the often contradictory aspects of the law, but those people are the only ones with the authority to do so.

Also, from the FA, its worth mentioning:

Both men pleaded guilty to acting for commercial advantage or private financial gain

This is piracy or bootleging or whatever you want to call it. This is not typical p2p activity because there was commercial gain from it.

Re:Conspiracy? (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418662)

How is that conspiracy?

Well, it's conspiracy because they were probably going to continue doing it.

This isn't a case of someone who just had been found guilty of copyright infringement at one point, but rather someone who was persisting in the act without any signs of stopping. I think that makes it conspiracy.

Frist?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418462)

No...

LOAL!

$25,000? (1)

Jorym (786632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418466)

Are those movies or something? Where do they get the $25,000 figure from anyways? FP!

Re:$25,000? (1)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418500)

Beter question is where did YOU get the $25,000 figure from?

Re:$25,000? (1)

Jorym (786632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418516)

"Justice investigators downloaded content valued at US$25,000 retail from their servers, the Movie Room and Acheron's Alley" Right there is what I'm thinking :p

Re:$25,000? (1, Funny)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418543)

You're supposed to post before reading the article ;-)

Re:$25,000? (1)

Bigman (12384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418540)

From TFA:
The two sites offered a wide variety of computer software, computer games, music, and movies in digital format, including some software titles that legitimately sell for thousands of dollars, the DOJ says.
The bit that gets my interest is at the end:
The maximum penalties for a first-time offender convicted of conspiracy to commit felony criminal copyright infringement are five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, restitution to the victims, and the forfeiture and destruction of infringing copies and all equipment used to manufacture infringing copies.
How exactly do they determine the value of restitution? Any Fule No that the vast software and music downloads would not be purchased if not available for free. Especially software worth thousands, so where is the loss? Some people just like collecting.

The person who mods me down! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418467)

Is a bastard on wheels!

Article Slashdotted ... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418468)

Anyone have a torrent ? ;)

Re:Article Slashdotted ... (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418567)

No, but dont worry. In my opinion they are not going any where just yet. I want to describe again my call for a legitimate p2p of free media (for those artists etc. who distribute their work free!):

What we need is ap2p network which is centrally controlled (centralised).
This control centre locks down all channels to all clients. A client cannot get material from any other client without getting a code from the control centre. The control centre uses a special hash function to compute the MD5 (example) checksum of any _OFFICIAL_ material from an artist. Then this MD5 is encrypted. ONLY the control centre can know the value of the encrypted MD5 checksum foar any file.

Now, knowing this, we can assume that it is impossible (extremely hard) to get an encrypted MD5 for any artists official files. The control centre only publishes (makes public) codes if the artist requests his/her work to be made public on the p2p. Once you have the encrypted MD5 you use it as a code to get that son / movie etc.. (file) from someone else on a p2p. YOu CANNOT get material that has not been requested to be made public on the p2p because you cannot know the code because the control centre will not have created an encrypted checksum for that material to be propagated on the network. ONLY free material could propagate on the p2p.

Disadvantage: If the central control centre was hacked, the hackers could generated encrypted checksums for non-free files. However this could be overcome by simply changing the encryption and transmitting the changes to the clients.

--

I'm starstruck (-1, Offtopic)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418469)

Bootsy, I had no idea you read Slashdot! I've been a fan for years. I love those glittery star-shaped glasses. Tres chic!

Just goes to show you... (3, Insightful)

pdxaaron (777522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418473)

If you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't think that you can get away with breaking it because you don't believe in it.

Re:Just goes to show you... (4, Insightful)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418498)

Tell that to Rosa Parks.

Re:Just goes to show you... (3, Insightful)

brainburger (792239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418526)

There is a limit to how far you should obey laws which are wrong (I think this is beyond dispute, without invoking whatever is Slashdot's equivalent of Godwin's law).

At what point is disobedience justified? - I am tempted to argue that the suppression of the now-possible global multimedia library which p2p users are trying to provide is a step too far.
Copyright has not always existed, and it may now have outlived its value to humanity as a whole.

Re:Just goes to show you... (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418568)

Unfortunately, most people don't have the money to fund lobbiests in Washington or fatten the pockets of legislators to sway toward consumer rights.

If you don't like the law, tough-titties. Don't think that you can get away with changing it unless you have more money than those who support it.

Re:Just goes to show you... (2, Insightful)

0x0000 (140863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418594)

f you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't think that you can get away with breaking it because you don't believe in it.

By god you are one smug asshole! Don't they teach Civil Disobedience in school these days? I take it you're not a citizen of the US?

You just came out against the entire Civil Rights movement, Henry David Thereaux, and most of the Founding Fathers of the US of A.

You think the suffragettes should not have gone to jail to get sufferage? ... the list is fukking endless - these events are taking place in the United States, not the USSR. It is not only traditional to fight unjust laws by breaking them, it's widely accepted as a form of protest.

I'm guessing you are a citizen of some Islamic theocracy? Or perhaps a communist or fascist totalitarian state? Many dictators would have agreed with you quickly and completely, but - as I believe I mentioned - this is the US you're talking about, an the Regime is only trying to lock it down, they haven't actually succeeded in suppressing all dissent just yet...

Re:Just goes to show you... (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418654)

The problem is that copyright laws are just (at least as originally intended -- I don't think they should be continually extended, but that's another story). The guys being arrested weren't making some kind of protest against copyright; they just took something for nothing. It's somewhat disingenuous to compare copyright infringement to the civil rights movement and the US government to the dictators.

Retarded (1)

BriniestMark (850918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418604)

What a retarded thing to say. What on earth can a normal American do to change the law? We're not talking about Walt Eisner or Bill Gates. Most people have absolutely ZERO power over the law, other than to engage in civil disobience -- which is exactly what you're saying they shouldn't do.

Re:Just goes to show you... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418619)

Ofcourse, but where do you get the money to bribe the senators?

Re:Just goes to show you... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418657)

Buy

A

Senator

Today

And

Reap

Dividends

Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (5, Insightful)

jg_elliott (731553) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418477)

If there is so much demand for being able to download movies/tv episodes, then why the hell don't the distribution companies take advantage of it and let poeple downlaod things legally at a fair price?

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (3, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418520)

If there is so much demand for being able to download movies/tv episodes, then why the hell don't the distribution companies take advantage of it and let poeple downlaod things legally at a fair price?
Quick economics lesson : Demand is a function of price. There is a lot of demand, because the illegal copies are FREE.

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (1)

Azzmodan (96691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418595)

I figured that my demand was coming from my wish to watch those shows without having to wait several years for them to be shown on TV. I don't care for subtitles in my native language, I can understand English just fine, so that works for me, I also like to watch them when I want, not when they happen to be on TV. If there was a not overly expensive legal way for me to do this (but one that does give me the abbility to use things fairly, like watch on multiple computers/multiple times) then I'd be interrested.

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (1)

myom (642275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418653)

>> If there is so much demand for being able to download movies/tv episodes, then why the hell don't the distribution companies take advantage of it and let poeple downlaod things legally at a fair price?

> Quick economics lesson : Demand is a function of price. There is a lot of demand, because the illegal copies are FREE.

Lesson two: Demand is a function of price. There is a lot of demand, because the legal copies are 1: legal 2: better quality 3: affordable

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418689)

Yeah but lots of stuff is free that has low demand, so that's not much of an argument.

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (1)

iB1 (837987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418547)

Oh they'll get round to it eventually and there will be an iTunes/Napster like service for downloading old TV episodes and the such like for small change... But we'll have to put up with the legal action first, and wait another 2 years for the big companies to catch up.

Re:Demand, where where is the (legeal) supply? (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418676)

There are certain legal sites out there, but they all have that all-too-familiar achillies heel: The content owners want to use the step up in technology to ratchet a step up in price. They also only work on Windows XP machines. On the other hand, these days they have a heck of a lot more movies than when they launched.

Cinema Now [cinemanow.com] - High cost but a lot of good stuff.
Movieflix [movieflix.com] - Cheap and plentiful, but old and obscure.
Movielink [movielink.com] - The original, but won't even let you in the site without I.E. Similar cost / selection to cinema now.
iFilm [ifilm.com] - Always free, always a crapshoot as to what you will get. Probably the best thing to happen to independent filmmaking since Clerks.

Guess they should have used Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418482)

It's free as in beer and free as in freedom!!

P2P? (5, Insightful)

Transdimentia (840912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418487)

Maybe I missed it in TFA, but how was this p2p? The statment "The two sites offered a wide variety of computer software, computer games, music, and movies in digital format, including some software titles that legitimately sell for thousands of dollars, the DOJ says." seems to indicate non p2p pirating activity. Calling it a p2p hub seems to be FUD unless there was an explanation of the technology used.

Re:P2P? (0)

Dayflowers (729580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418523)

My guess would be that they're referring to a Direct Connect hub... but I didnt really read the artile so I wouldn't know....

Re:P2P? (3, Informative)

brainburger (792239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418544)

Yes, they were Direct Connect hubs. This means the accused may not have actually hosted the infringing material, similar to Napster.

Re:P2P? (1)

iB1 (837987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418576)

From here [com.com] : "Trowbridge and Chicoine operated hubs in a file-sharing network that required members to share between 1GB (gigabyte) and 100GB of material, the equivalent of 250,000 songs, Attorney General John Ashcroft said when the raid was announced.

In the other news... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418489)

...new BitTorrent sites are appearing at the same time others are closing. One of these sites is mininova [mininova.org] , which is the follow-up of the well-known SuprNova.
A full list of torrent sites can be found here [slyck.com] .

Now where do I go (1)

MrAsstastic (851637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418490)

to get my Battlestar Galactica episodes?

Good. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418492)

If you steal stuff, or substantially contribute to it, you pay the price.

Re:Good. (2, Funny)

Gallowsgod (766508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418560)

If you steal stuff, or substantially contribute to it, you pay the price.

Unless you are a government. When I grow up I'm gonna be a government.

Re:Good. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418642)

When I have mod points, I mod down everybody who confuses copyright infringement with stealing as flamebait. You should know better than that.

Re:Good. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418670)

If you steal stuff, or substantially contribute to it, you pay the price.

No, I'm pretty sure you're the only one that shucked out the $20.00 to buy 28 Days Later on DVD.

From the Croft (1, Interesting)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418497)

"Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught, even when they use the tools of technology to commit their crimes," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says in a statement. "The theft of intellectual property victimizes not only its owners and their employees, but also the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."
How many times do we have to say it's not stealing????
Aren't these items selling at record levels????

Re:From the Croft (2, Informative)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418583)

Could of swore the American people can record something with a VCR/TiVo and happily watch it back. Surely the same thing applies to downloading it after watching it on TV a day or so before too. I'm not American but this applies to most places, just a shame people totally ignore anything "in the real world" when it comes to "cyber" crime.

Re:From the Croft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418635)

"Could of swore"

It's COULD HAVE.

Re:From the Croft (1)

OgTheBarbarian (778232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418623)

No, it's copyright infringement. Laws change though. You all better hope they don't change the law to equate it with stealing legally, or just having it is possession and distributing it becomes trafficking. Your U.S of A is going to need a lot more jails at that point, or they might just give you the option of the draft instead. Good luck. With the folks you've got making your laws right now, you're going to need it.

Re:From the Croft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418663)

How many times do we have to say it's not stealing?
Just that last couple times in front of a judge, I'd expect. After that, the only response you're likely to receive is "whatever you say, doll" from your cellmate. :)

I've got a problem with copyright law that says I can't use my legally purchased material on the device of my choosing. If they want to jail people who feel that it's okay to download everything without the copyright holder ever seeing a penny, that's cool with me.

is that legal? (4, Interesting)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418501)

from TFA:
During an investigation, government agents downloaded 35 copyright works worth $4820.66 from Chicoine's site and more than 70 copyright works worth $20,648.63 from Trowbridge's site, the DOJ says.
IAdefinitelyNAL, but for some reason I was under the impression that evidence gathered through illegal means (in this case copyright infringement) could not be used...

Can anyone clarify US law on that matter?

Re:is that legal? (2, Informative)

OgTheBarbarian (778232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418539)

Check how undercover cops conduct drug busts some time.

Re:is that legal? (2, Interesting)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418542)


I don't know the legality behind it either. It does seem like some kind of entrapment or something though. Perhaps they were issued some form of "digital warrant" to search the suspects hard drive through P2P apps or something? I don't know, but law enforcement can pretty much get away with anything "in the name of catching a criminal".

I'm sure any violation this would have been, has been avoided by some recent (BUSH administration) government "improvement" bill or another.

Re:is that legal? (1)

phats garage (760661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418569)

Its clear to me, the only way to legitimately determine that these files are being distributed is to download them and verify them. If they had not downloaded them, you'd probably be posting that "they're only filenames!!!".

Re:is that legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418615)

Its clear to me, the only way to legitimately determine that these files are being distributed is to download them and verify them.

You mean "...determine whether or not...", right?

The only way to legitimately determine that the files are being distributed is to get a warrant and sniff their data at their ISP.

By downloading the files, all they have done is ask for a file and receive it. That does not prove that it has happened before or will happen again, and that particular instance is inadmissible because the authorities coerced them into committing the act by requesting the file.

That is why it is conspiracy and not simply copyright infringement. Because they haven't proved that any actual copyright infringement took place, but the fact that they had the files available to anybody who asked constitutes conspiracy.

Re:is that legal? (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418577)

I will make it legal. -Darth RIAA

Re:is that legal? (2, Informative)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418641)

IANAL, but as far as I understand, in the US it is legal for law enforcement to buy (or, in this case, copy) from someone who offers it to you. The closest precedent is probably buying drugs and then arresting seller, which is a legal tactic (in the sense that it's okay). What you're probably thinking of is entrapment, which would occur if a police officer tried to sell drugs to someone and then arrested them.

So downloading works in copyright from a public website is legal, or very probably legal. What wouldn't be legal is sending an IM to one of the guys offering works in copyright and then nailing them for receiving it. That's part of the reason the entertainment industry lawyers are going after the guys distributing, not the ones downloading.

Re:is that legal? (2, Insightful)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418646)

Its not illegal to download, its illegal to distribute -- share, make available, upload, however you want to think of it. How many "downloaders" have they gone after? How many uploaders/sharers?

That's also why its now open season on BitTorrent users. All they have to do is open a .torrent and get all the IPs ready to share. If they tweak their client to cap at 0 up, they never break the law by uploading and get a nice purty list of all the IPs of users who are currently and actively breaking the law. Yes their downloads will be slow, but speed is not their goal. Its that fresh new list of lawbreakers that gets 'em out of bed each morning. Like getting a newsletter of stocks that are going to double that day each and every morning.

And I am so sick of hearing "its not stealing". When you buy CDs you're buying the right to listen to a copy of the music in digital form. When you download, you're getting the copy of the music in digital form without paying for the right to listen to it. So please, from now on, be sure to use BitTorrent for all your future downloads. It should "thin out the herd" much more quickly. I'm just waiting to hear from Comcast for having so many torrents open only to be able to explain to them that they're all legal. I guess I won't hear from them until they get a notice about me.

Hmmm... (1, Insightful)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418504)

How is this any different from say, selling a car? Could you go to jail because someone took the car and ran someone over with it, on purpose?

It doesn't make any sense at all.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418617)

It's all down to the "reasonable man" test.

Is it reasonable to assume that a car you sell wil be used as a murder weapon, given that millions of cars are sold every year and not used as murder weapons?

Is it reasonable to assume that people who use your torrent links to infringing material will download infringing material?

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Dizzle (781717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418630)

A better analogy would be selling a stolen car. I know I know, let's not get into the semantics of piracy v copyright infringement, but suffice it to say your analogy isn't perfect.

Simple lesson from skool daze... (-1, Offtopic)

0x0000 (140863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418521)

Never. Admit. Anything.


Conspiracy to commit copyright infringment? (2, Insightful)

Landak (798221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418524)

Next then I know, I'll be arrested for "Conspiracy to download porn"
Seriously though, I can understand that turning a blind eye to something is not good, but if you're running a hub, then surely you're just negligent, not malicious?

More Bitching From An Outdated Industry (0, Flamebait)

syberanarchy (683968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418537)

They face sentences of up to five years in prison, and up to US$250,000 in fines, in addition to the possibility of being forced to pay restitution to copyright holders.

Sure. What's going to happen? Are they going to mow the lawns of all those poor copyright holders to make the money to pay them off?

These people are ridiculous. The more they pass these ridiculous laws, the more they keep these lawsuits up, the more they will have the control they so obsessively desire slip through their grasp.

It's no longer on me to obey your outdated copyright laws. It's up to you, the content provider, to make me want to buy your product. Oh noes!

Why is this a Felony??? (4, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418554)

Surely Copyright infringement is only a civil matter.

Improper valuations (0)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418555)

IMO, a good proportion - certainly the majority - of the material downloaded would never have been bought.

I also find that when something good is downloaded, it is sometimes the case the original retail item is then purchased.

These two factors are ignored, I suspect, when valuations of "harm done" are reckoned.

Certainly it is entirely improper to take the retail value of all material and multiply by the number of downloads.

In fact, it may be the case that the various copyright enforcements bodies do not know what is in their best interest; this is often the case in more complex and subtle environments.

--
Toby

nice one you retards! (0)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418559)

Fantastic! Just go "HEY WE DID IT!", the RIAA/MPAA will use this case as evidence in the future and fuck over everyone else with it.

Tomorrow on Slashdot : Suprnova returns
The day after tomorrow on Slashdot : MPAA, RIAA, Superman and several zealous religions sue suprnova for point to torrents hosting music, video, comics and several different religious books.
Day after that : MPAA/RIAA point to this case and use it as evidence of how illegal it is, obviously if someone admits it's a crime that applies to everyone else too no?

Re:nice one you retards! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418638)

no

I feel so safe now... (4, Insightful)

stankulp (69949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418564)

...thank God the FBI is doing its job.

For those of you shocked about the plea... (3, Informative)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418579)

Presumably they pled guilty as part of a plea-bargain. There's very little reason to plead guilty to anything unless it gets you better treatment that you think you would get by fighting the charges.

Re:For those of you shocked about the plea... (1)

UlfGabe (846629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418677)

mod parent up Probably th3 most important point here to recognize. they pleaded guilty to get a good chance. they cannot now change their plea (i think) . Now we get to see how the judge treats these people, not having a court case sets no precedents, because the people involved didnt fight about thier case. amazing country you guys live in. what a pos

...value... (4, Interesting)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418591)

It's interesting how the value of the media is calculated.
Is a high-compression DIVX of a shaky video of screen in cinema valued the same as retail 4-DVD "special edition" release?
Is a rip of a 4-CD game squeezing it into 300MB calculated as the same game, with a T-shirt and a manual in the box?
Is software that was released 10 years ago valued at the prices of its release or at current "bargain bin" prices?
Is a mono MP3 made through hand-hacked cable from a poor quality cable counted the same as a new audio CD album?

I don't think the real value is taken into consideration. They just match title-price and neglect quality altogether. My friend was caught. The value they calculated on his software was something like $30.000. The real value of the crap if he wanted to sell that, was around $500.

Newspeak (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418593)

One of the points of Orwell's 1984 was that you could subtly influence peoples opinions by changing the language they used to talk about such things.

"Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught, even when they use the tools of technology to commit their crimes," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says in a statement. "The theft of intellectual property victimizes not only its owners and their employees, but also the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."

The trouble with that statement is that copyright infringement is not theft. The dictionary tells us that you have to remove something in order to steal it. The laws in the USA defining theft don't mention copyright infringement. The laws in the USA defining copyright infringement don't mention theft. The Supreme Court definitively ruled that copyright infringement was not theft in Dowling vs US, 1985 . They are fundamentally different actions. There is simply no basis whatsoever for misappropriating the word "theft" to talk about copyright infringement.

The question is, why is Ashcroft trying to tell us that copyright infringement is theft? The only other people who do that are the RIAA, the MPAA, and Slashdot trolls.

When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418603)

When does the protest start? When are we going to stand up against our corporate masters and demand reasonable copyright laws?

New King Of The Hill! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418605)

Hereby I announce Samzenpus as the new king of the hill! He just swept the last Michael's story off the main page and now 0wn0rz /. index.
A rare thing, comparing to Michael usually nuking all the other eds off the index...
Who's this samzenpus person anyway?

How was this "stealing"???? (1)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418608)

This isn't stealing if users have to share out their media as well. It's trading.

The US DOJ could learn a LOT from Sweden's laws on copyright infringement... {rolls eyes}

Re:How was this "stealing"???? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418661)

It's stealing because the RIAA, and others don't get to dig their fat grease laden hands into the cookie jar.

Don't you know it's bad to pass through music land without paying the greed Troll under the bridge??

250,000 songs = 100GB? (2, Insightful)

jlefeld (814985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418631)

"100GB of material, the equivalent of 250,000 songs," Wouldn't 100GB be about 25,000 songs. The iPod 20GB advertises 5,000 songs can be stored on it. So wouldn't 100GB be 25,000. Just a little technical inaccuracy I found.

Same Old Story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418644)

Time and Again the RIAA and MPAA have missed the obvious fact that every download is NOT a lost sale.

I personally buy lots of DVD's and CD's - but not before I try them first.

The issue they are facing now in the music industry is that they promote talentless artists who create one 'hit' through sheer brute force marketing. If you hear anything long enough you will grow to like it. People have cottened on - instead of buying an album for one track, they are downloading it for free...after all, by next week it will no longer be the "in" thing.

Music sales will be strong for proper artists; no one wants to rip off people who they actually like and whose talent they respect (if you do , reconsider..).

Same thing with movies. Bland movies that people want to watch once or twice and forget because they are incredibly shitty. Its not the price thats the issue, its the fact that the majority of products produced are shit.

All the courtcases in the world won't make up for a lack of common sense and a lust for the greenback.

Anyone looked at the numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418651)

from article:
During an investigation, government agents downloaded 35 copyright works worth $4820.66 from Chicoine's site and more than 70 copyright works worth $20,648.63 from Trowbridge's site, the DOJ says.

Okay...So if I use my calculator, the first one hosted copyrighted work worth an average of 137.73$, while the second one hosted files worth an average of 294.98. And that's an average. So, they must have hosted a lot of high end profesionnal software to get to that, even if the article seems to point that they were mainly hosting songs/movies/games which to be honest do not retail anything near that price.
What were they hosting to bring the average that high?

HDD encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11418671)

Don't these big fish use any hdd encryption? ANTS? MUTE? VPN? WTF?

These people who get caught act too big without big tools or big sense of security.

p2p-collect (1)

byssebu (797117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11418684)

Someone should start to collect money into some kind of 'sholarship' for the p2p-laysuit-victims.
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