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Man Gets 7 Years for Software Piracy

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the sucks-to-be-him dept.

296

mytrip writes to mention a C|Net article about the largest sentence for software piracy ever handed down by a U.S. court. Nathan Peterson of Los Angeles has been levied with an enormous fine after selling millions of dollars worth of software between 2003 and 2005. "U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III on Friday ordered Peterson to pay restitution of more than $5.4 million. Peterson pleaded guilty in December in Alexandria, Va., to two counts of copyright infringement for illegally copying and selling more than $20 million in software. Justice Department and industry officials called the case one of the largest involving Internet software piracy ever prosecuted. "

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Serves him right. (0, Informative)

#include (130485) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078273)

He deserves it.

Re:Serves him right. (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078528)

"Serves him right. (Score:-1, Informative)"

Dude, you got a -1 Informative on Slashdot. Put that on your resume!

That was my brother... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078607)

He didn't deserve it.
 
For more info, click this [goatse.cx] .

He did deserve it! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078674)

Wrong link [goatse.ch] , moron.

So? (5, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078274)

This is considerably different than the average "pirate" who downloads software for him/herself and perhaps distributes copies to friends. This guy was *selling* pirated software. That's a whole different ballgame, and it makes him a garden variety criminal in my opinion. Not really news, and certainly not relevant to me in a "Your Rights Online" sort of way.

Re:So? (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078293)

He won't have any Slashdot priviliges in prison.

Re:So? (1)

daspriest (904701) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078296)

It's definitely news, but maybe not news that fits into the "your rights online" type. Unless you are in the business of selling illegal copies of software.

Re:So? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078343)

According to convoluted logic we often see here, what he did was perfectly proper. After all, he didn't "steal" software, he merely "infringed copyright", then he compounded that infringement by selling copies. What difference does it make whether his motive was to make money as opposed to private use of the software?

Re:So? (2, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078438)

According to convoluted logic we often see here, what he did was perfectly proper. After all, he didn't "steal" software, he merely "infringed copyright"

You might want to swap out that 40 watt bulb in your head for at least a 60, if not 75.

How in the world do you get "perfectly proper" from copyright infringement? Just because it isn't stealing doesn't necessarily mean it's OK.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078496)

Then you agree with government enforcement of existing laws governing software copyright infringement, including prosecution and jail time for large-scale offenders. Good on you, but many of your fellow posters here seem to differ. You know, the "Your Rights Online" thing.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078633)

Here, let's go through the first few words of his post again:

"According to convoluted logic we often see here"

See the words "according to" and "convoluted?" This should clue you in that he is

1. Attributing this belief to someone else
2. Does not find it to be appropriate

As far as #1 he's right. Any time the subject of illegal copying of software, music, or movies comes up on Slashdot, the overwhelming opinion is that it's okay.

Here's a link [1000bulbs.com] for some 75 watt light bulbs for yourself, sparky.

Re:So? (1)

evolseven (941210) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078349)

I agree, its one thing to steal a copy of windows(or whatever frequently pirated program you desire) for your own use(and half of your neighborhood as well), but a completely different thing to sell it to other people.

Re:So? (4, Interesting)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078380)

Is it?

Richard Stallman often encourages the sale of Free Software (a position which many people unfamiliar with his ideology find confusing).

Why shouldn't third parties be able to sell the things they own for profit? Or are we bound to this idea that "For Free is good, but for profit is bad". Businesses are not, by their nature, bad. Much like a loony tunes television episode I recall watching as a child "It's not the automobile that's evil; it's the driver".

There are many piracy groups which are often seen as charities which almost aren't; pirate bay for example are most certainly profitable. Whether they are a business by the letter of the law I'm not entirely sure.

Other "piracy groups" are very obviously web startups. Isohunt, for example, provide a very useful service, and, I expect profit from it.

If something is bad to do for profit, it is normally bad to do it for free also. I think that piracy is neither. Binary is the property of whose media it is on, and to hell with anyone who wants to say otherwise.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078530)

Agreed.

Although, Pirate Bay and IsoHunt dont sell software... They dont even sell anything related to the sort.

They make money from advertisers and such.

They offer a very comprehensive torrent search (and the like), which just HAPPENS to be a nice way for pirates to, well, pirate.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078579)

I don't know what you're rambling on about here...

Why shouldn't third parties be able to sell the things they own for profit?
There's nothing wrong with selling something you own, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about software piracy. Software piracy is when you take a paid-for program that someone else owns, break the copy protection on it, use it, and possibly redistribute this. Nowhere in this do you own the software.

Binary is the property of whose media it is on, and to hell with anyone who wants to say otherwise.
Really? So does that mean I own the music on a CD I bought? Of course not! The artist owns it (I don't feel like dragging the RIAA into this, so please don't bring that up...). In the same respect, I don't own the words in a book I buy. That work is owned by the author, through copyright. Do you think that pirating a book in a similar fashion to software should be allowed (provided you had a means of doing this)?

Re:So? (0)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078632)

Well, according to the law in most western countries you're correct. But the law isn't any kind of moral guideline (one only needs to look as far as the legal profession to discover this).

I (somewhat obviously) don't agree with the current position of the law, and think it should be different.

When I was talking about being able to share/sell binary in my previous post, I wasn't making legal speculation (I'm aware of what the law is on this subject, in the UK). I'm debating it; it's moral speculation.

I don't agree that music on cd should be property of the artist: I personally think it should be property of the owner of the cd. I'm aware that, by law, it is most likely copyrighted to someone.

Honestly, I think the law is currently flat out wrong in all areas of "Intellectual Property".

So?-Wishy Washy Citizens. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078444)

Read "Everybody Does It: Crime by the public by Thomas Gabor". ISBN:0-8020-6828-6

Ballad of Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078382)

Sometimes I cry
While I masturbate
While up late

Sometimes I cry
While I masturbate
While up late

Everything so beautiful
Beautiful
I start to cry
Tears in my eyes

Espically since (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078398)

Selling illegally copied software is fraud. Unless you are being explicitly clear that people are buying an illegal copy (in which case they aren't likely to buy) you are defrauding them. They believe that they are getting a great deal on legit software. Ok, you can argue they should be smarter than that but hey, fire sales happen sometimes (for example I got a free copy of Visual Studio 2005 for going to a launch event). Regardless, the crime is on the seller's end. They are the ones pushing their merchandise as legit.

So while I firmly believe that copying software illegal for personal use is a minor civil infraction, like speeding, and should be punished accordingly (a small fine that's enough to make you not want to do it but proportional to the harm) I believe that commercial copyright infringement is much more serious.

Re: Especially since (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078491)

... clear that people are buying an illegal copy (in which case they aren't likely to buy) ...


Duh ?!?!?

If the price is right, people will buy anything. Why do you think pawn shops are doing good business?

Re: Especially since (3, Funny)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078538)

Why do you think pawn shops are doing good business?

I was thinking prime locations, friendly staff and clean stores with outstanding merchandise... no?

Good! (-1, Offtopic)

nettdata (88196) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078276)

Good!

Discuss.

Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (3, Interesting)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078283)

Wait, so he sold $20million, pays $5.4 back? Not a bad return I would think. Should I assume the government also seized all his assets etc?

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (2, Informative)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078302)

Appears to be a total asset forfeiture as well. Merc News [mercurynews.com]

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078314)

Good. At least the government gets SOMETHING right :) However, I bet he has some nice off-shore bank accounts with some money hidden away.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078654)

I doubt he has anything hidden offshore unless it is actual hidden some were. Generaly, it is almost impossible to hide assets from the government in this day and age. 20 years ago, it might have been more likley. Most countries now, will either have records of the money tranferes, or actualy willing to inform the government or the acounts people hold. There is probably a database availible for different governments to search thru.

A few years ago, a friend had some over seas utility bonds mature. He had them open an acount and purchased something else. The feds came a'knocking and asked all about the acount. He says they do it everytime. I guess this has happened in more then one country too.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (1, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078317)

If he was smart, half his assets should be in a Swiss bank account and someone will be waiting with plane tickets to a safe-haven country when he gets out in three years for good behavior. Only then will crime pay.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078363)

Don't count on good behavior getting him out too fast. This was a federal case (interstate crimes?). "Good behavior" doesn't get you too far with Federal Prisons. Best he can hope for is a Club Fed prision which I'm doubting. Be it three, seven, or even one year in a pound me in the ass fed prision will likely scar this white-collar for life and you don't get away from those memories.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078472)

Too bad there is no good behavior in the federal system, except 54 days per year and 6 months of halfway house.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (2, Informative)

The Wing Lover (106357) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078323)

No, I think he sold "$20 million worth of software"... counted at the retail price. I suspect he made nowhere near the $5 million that he will have to pay. Not to mention th efact that he's gotta sit in jail for 7 years.

Re:Sold $20 returns $5.4 = Profit! ? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078376)

If it was retail price I agree that he could not even pay that $5 million. If I compare it with the pirates here at our country, the rule of the thumb for them is usually the price of the media/disc * 15 which usually falls on around $2.0 - $2.25 per software/disc. So for every $30 "average" retail price software out there, he makes $2 which would amount to only around $1.2 million. It is still a very high profit considering there is a very little expense but he is sure bound to be broke because of that $5 million fine. Anyway... just my $0.02 * 15

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078289)

Software piracy is illegal now a days?

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078322)

Apparently you get 11 seconds of jail time per dollar of software stolen.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078347)

Around two hours for Photoshop? Sounds good to me :)

Re:Wait... (2, Funny)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078497)

That's more than enough time for buttsex! :)

Re:Wait... (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078641)

rawr, i hope he's a nice big boy, federal prison has to keep up with it's advertising after all

Got what he deserved (1)

Vacuous (652107) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078295)

Once you start selling the stuff you download on the internet you deserve anything you get as far as the law is concerned IMHO.

Re:Got what he deserved (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078328)

There is plenty of software you are allowed to charge money for after you download it. Here is one example [kubuntu.org]

Good deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078297)

5.4 million and 7 years in prison is a fair price to pay for a $15 million revenue. What else would he have done in those 7 years anyway? Provided that his prison experience isn't traumatizing, and we all know what that means in this context, he should be better off in the end.

Re:Good deal (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078378)

I would like the place a bet on that it is traumatizing. And I would also like to see what he's like 10 years from now. Likely he'll be commiting real crimes or be a "weird uncle" to some unlucky child. 7 years of real prison will screw anyone up. Maybe he'll just commit suicide. I don' think this is very funny at all.

The law (2)

sanmarcos (811477) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078299)

He got what he deserved.

He was stupid to allow himself to be caught. Lost 7 years of your life for only money.

Again everything in this world seems related to money one way or the other.

Re:The law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078342)

Lost 7 years of your life for only money.

Compared to those of us who lose approximately 10.5 years of our lives for only money? 8 hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, 45 years of our life = 10.6 years (give or take...).

I've often thought committing fraud, secreting the money away in an untouchable overseas account, and spending 5 or 6 years in prison, would be just about worth it in the end. Exit prison, recover money, live like a king.

Re:The law (2, Informative)

sanmarcos (811477) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078371)

Actually, putting the money in an overseas account is quite a good idea if you can manage to keep it "clean and quiet".

In Argentina, most of the above middle-class population (I'd say 10-15% max) does that to avoid paying local taxes. They get foreign credit cards (in foreign banks) because Argentines have mostly european ancestors (therefore citizenship if applied), and avoid paying taxes in large purchaes (electronics specially).

However the government has been cracking down recently, not allowing cheaters to get out of the country if they dont pay taxes (they check you before you cross the border to Uruguay, a popular wealthy tourist resort). They also put signs in shopping mall bathrooms saying "You will be caught" and so on.

The same in the US, I mean if you can get a foreign bank account, it is a good idea to do so to keep, say 5-10% of your monthly income in there and lie saying it goes to something else. Believe me, you will always need money for a divorce, car crash, something bad happening in your life, etc.

Keep it safe, and quiet. The same concept goes for almost anything in life, why give away information? why give away posible vulnerabilities?. It is a good practice to save your money early, start early and work your ass off. Make sure nobody knows that you have more money than you really do. If they can screw you, they will (in life, generally).

Re:The law (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078458)

He was stupid to allow himself to be caught. Lost 7 years of your life for only money.

Reminds me of a job I had.

A tad harsh (5, Insightful)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078306)

I think people who cheat others out of their legitimate software purchases ought to get jail time when it's obvious they or others will do it if no harsh penalty is on the table.

Isn't 7 years a bit long in comparison to more serious crimes of violence and fraud? Perhaps 7 years is average for a fraud conviction, but I don't understand why rapists [in Canada at least] get about 5 year sentences, mercy killers [Robert Latimer] 10 years, and serial killers [Karla Holmolka] gets 9 years. Where is the equity?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078366)

Would you argue that someone who hacked into a banks computers and stole $20m in one shot should get off equally as easy? Are you arguing that the severity of punnishment should be directly proportional to the skill required to commit a crime?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Somnus (46089) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078391)

A good point -- the marginal cost of serious (e.g., violent) crime goes down if you're already doing a mandatory drug minimum or get the book thrown at you for stuff like this. It just encourages sociopaths to enter previously innocuous rackets.

Also, if he pays restitution, what's the point of the jail sentence?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078520)

Also, if he pays restitution, what's the point of the jail sentence?

There's no deterrent to others if the only punishment is paying back what you made and carrying on with your life.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078665)

It just encourages sociopaths to enter previously innocuous rackets.

And why is that bad? Would you rather have sociopaths committing armed robbery or selling bogus software?

Anyway, I'm a little tired of the way sociopaths tend to dominate every discussion of criminal penalties. Most criminals aren't sociopaths, and trying to design your criminal justice system around sociopaths is stupid. That system is supposed to deter and rehabilitate, and those are things you can't do with outright sociopaths.

Re:A tad harsh (5, Interesting)

themonkman (877464) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078407)

While I hate thieves more than most, it is quite maddening and ironic that we put software pirates away for longer than we do child rapists. The courts tend to favor the rights and property of corporations over that of human lives. It's deplorable.

I'm sure that this man had sold this software at prices far below what any legitimate retailer could afford. With that being a reasonable assumption (since he sold so damn much of this software), the people he sold it to would probably have been unlikely to purchase the software at all had it not been at such a deep discount. If they would not have purchased the software otherwise, there is a net damage of almost zero to the manufacturer of the software. There is no lost supplies, real property, or investment. They did not have to do the advertising for this person's business either. If anything, the pirated software he did sell made for great PR to those software companies. The people who would've not otherwise purchased the software at regular or semi-discounted prices are probably pleased with their purchase, and will now be far more likely to buy the new improved releases of that product later on.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078485)

While I hate thieves more than most, it is quite maddening and ironic that we put software pirates away for longer than we do child rapists.

On the one hand, you have someone who was convicted of several thousand counts of software piracy. Comparing that to what someone gets for maybe a dozen acts of rape would be useful to factor in. On the other hand, if a child rapist is going away for less than 7 years, a fix would start by putin them away for longer.

Remember to always factor in the number of counts in the conviction. I could easily come up with a way that could get me sentenced to 1000+ years in prison. Many counts of mail fraud can get anyone put away for longer than any serial killer has been sentenced to.

Hog Wash (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078531)

While I hate thieves more than most, it is quite maddening and ironic that we put software pirates away for longer than we do child rapists.

You know very well that's not really true. Convicted pedophiles are marked for life, having to register where they live and sometimes not able to live certain places at all. Sex crimes generally prevent people from obtaining decent employment as well. People convicted of sex crimes are punished until the day they die, not just while they are in prison. Many would say these punishments are well deserved, but that's for a different debate.

This guy sold millions of dollars worth of counterfeit software, he's nothing but a thief. But in a few years when he gets out (do you really think he'll do the full 7?), he'll be able to move on in most respects.

Re:Hog Wash (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078572)

I'd argue that theivery is something you can train people not to resort to if they have a decent skill, but pedophillia is something a person lives with until they die or have brain surgery at the very least.

Re:Hog Wash (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078602)

There is a difference between wanting something and doing it. I would hazard a guess that almost every male on the planet, and a significant fraction of the females too, has been intruiged by the idea of rape or fantasized about it. This doesn't mean 70% of humanity are rapists, because the vast, vast majority of us will never do it.

I will bet that for every pedophile who carries through on his or her desires, there are a thousand or more who share the same desires and would happily jail for life anyone who actually goes through with it.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

danjcn (1000976) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078423)

Software piracy is not merely "cheating", it's "stealing". Think of the software developers who are victims of piracy. The money they deserve is stolen by those who sell pirate software. Don't you think the crime deserves harsh punishment?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078451)

Software piracy is not merely "cheating", it's "stealing". Think of the software developers who are victims of piracy. The money they deserve is stolen by those who sell pirate software. Don't you think the crime deserves harsh punishment?

It's not a moral wrong, authoritarians call it "copyright infringment" and I personally think it deserves encouragement.

Software developers don't deserve money just because someone passes binary to another person. The binary is the property of the person who owns the media it is on. If I were to invent a new word, would I be able to charge money for it every time someone used it?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

rahmza (862442) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078512)

Apparently yes. [wikipedia.org]

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Embedded2004 (789698) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078533)

Thank goodness we'll never have such a system. Why would I ever become a software developer if there was no money in it?

We need to design our legal system in a way that is to the maximum benefit of society. Your way would hold technological development back, possibly halt it.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078573)

Thank goodness we'll never have such a system. Why would I ever become a software developer if there was no money in it?

Software can still be profitable even when it is not directly sold for a profit. In fact, it's probably just as profitable.

We have big companies just like they do: Red Hat, IBM and large parts of Novell. Except our software is Free, for anyone to use. IBM conduct business in the Free/Open Software areas which measures investments and profits in the billion-dollar range. To pretend that it is not profitable is entirely moronic.

Your way would hold technological development back, possibly halt it.

Jesus, that's weird. It doesn't correlate with real life at all. The Free Software community has been writing software for around 20 years, doing exactly this, and we currently have a complete operating system, which in the vast majority of cases compares extremely favourably to the software-as-a-product sector. We have big companies just like they do: Red Hat, IBM and large parts of Novell. Except our software is Free, for anyone to use. IBM conduct business in the Free/Open Software areas which measures investments and profits in the billion-dollar range. To pretend that it is not extremely profitable is entirely moronic.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078662)

I agree with you tbat the Free Software community has made great contributions to society and I agree that companies like IBM have found a road to profit in that system.

But, here is my question for you: would you, given the chance, create a legal system in the USA where the Free Software model was the only one allowed? In other words, directly charging for software distribution and licensing that does not allow copying would be illegal.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078604)

Copying software is different from copying software and selling it to someone as the real thing which is what I believe he was guilt of? That's fraud, which is different from downloading Word for your home computer.

Re:A tad harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078499)

I'm just curious do the developers get royalties? or do they just get salary?

Re:A tad harsh (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078652)

The interesting thing about the salaries though, is that they're paid during the period in which the software isn't being sold. Where is that money coming from? Obviously, it's borrowed against the future potential return to be gained from sale of the completed product.

So, salary is a tradeoff between taking the risk that the software won't sell and living comfotably but not extravagantly right now.

Obviously, there is some level of salary that makes up for having no royalties at all.

Re:A tad harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078434)

It was Karla Homolka, and she got 12 years.

Re:A tad harsh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078554)

Isn't 7 years a bit long in comparison to more serious crimes of violence and fraud? Perhaps 7 years is average for a fraud conviction, but I don't understand why rapists [in Canada at least] get about 5 year sentences, mercy killers [Robert Latimer] 10 years, and serial killers [Karla Holmolka] gets 9 years. Where is the equity?


I doubt this'll make much difference, but I'll throw it out there: The article says he was charged with two counts. Would I be correct in assuming that if it had been one count, his sentence would be shorter?

Re:A tad harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078623)

How many million dollars do you have to pirate before 7 years starts getting reasonable? Why isn't that number 20 millions? It doesn't look like the actual economic harm entered your argument anywhere.

This man is my hero. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078312)

He should be elected to parliament, not imprisoned.

Seven years? (1)

Selanit (192811) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078321)

Well, that should give him PLENTY of time. Heck, I could do it in a few minutes!

Re:Seven years? (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078455)

On dialup? No way!

And the lesson is... (1, Funny)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078325)

*drumbroll* sell pirated software to defraud BOTH the customer and the company that made it and land in pound me in the ass prison. Piracy is one thing, but making a buck off of it is something else entirely. At least with a personal pirater theres a chance they'll buy the next version (say they need support). People doing what this guy does deserve every day they get (and white-collar criminals have a much harder time behind bars). Now if only we could get the same kind of treatment with equally criminal C*Os that just skip the piracy part and just steal cash.

The guy miaswell have put a sign up that said "come arrest me PLEASE!!!" Just because you can doesn't mean you should kids.

Re:And the lesson is... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078450)

What's stopping him from just continuing his "business" while he's in prison?

The Solution: Mandate Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078365)

The solution to this scurrilous criminality is not to be found in ever harsher penalties. So he copied a few programs. And sold them. But it helps move money in the economy, and he worked his way out of the gutter with a high sense of business acumen. It's like any prohibition: criminalize the behavior and you get even more social dislocation as a result. Then, we're all victims.

The solution is to mandate the use of Free Software everywhere. If M# and $ony want to sell their warez, then they should be forced to release their source under the GPL. This way, everyone wins! We get software and the guy who copies and tries to sell it on ebay doesn't get butt rammed in prison....

GPL everything!!!

 

Re:The Solution: Mandate Free Software (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078393)

selling "few" programs for mere $20 Mil?

What do you think how much effort it would take to make $20Mil from GPL software?

GPL is hardly a serious answer.

Re:The Solution: Mandate Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078424)

What do you think how much effort it would take to make $20Mil from GPL software?

Heeeeeey, that's the free market - ba-by!

I can see it now: GPLNarc (5, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078454)

>>
It's like any prohibition: criminalize the behavior and you get even more social dislocation as a result. Then, we're all victims.

The solution is to mandate the use of Free Software everywhere.
>>

Well thats a pretty stunning juxtaposition. If the existence of laws creates crime, won't criminalizing closed-source software make criminals out of closed-source software developers, causing even more social dislocation among them and their customers? I can see it now: "Pst, buddy, you need a productivity suite? I got a holo-certified copy of Office 2007 right here. This "#$& is real, holmes -- usable UI, attractive ribbon interface, backwards compatible with all your documents, contains actual documentation, and a comes complete with a toll-free number for tech support. I just gotta ask you -- you ain't a GPLnarc or nothing, right?"

"Open up, this is the police!"

"Aww #$%", its the GPLaw. Quick man, hide that "#$" under a Knoppix CD and pretend we were discussing something innocuous, like crack."

Better slang for GPLaw (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078475)

If you're going to write cyberpunk about cops inforcing the GPL you'd have to call them pengs instead of pigs.

"Awk, man, its the pengs! We're so fcuk'ed."

Re:I can see it now: GPLNarc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078498)

"Well thats a pretty stunning juxtaposition."

Yes, but it makes perfect sense. I mean, get the government out of copyright enforcement - they can't do anything right!

7 years? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078367)

It's not like he was out gunning people down, conning windows out of their money or touching children. I don't like the idea of someone out there ripping businesses off. But when there is no discernable victim I'm not sure the punishment fits the crime in this case.

Re:7 years? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078389)

Victims:
1) Software companies not making the money for the copies used
2) The guys who thought they were buying the real thing, only to eventually find out they don't have Adobe/MS support, because they bought a copied version

Re:7 years? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078413)

1. not discernable. that was the key word there.
2. fair enough. I guess I didn't realize that people were buying software from the guy without realizing that they were getting a pirated copy. (15% of the price didn't tip them off?)

Re:7 years? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078519)

1. not discernable. that was the key word there.

The piracy argument of "wouldn't otherwise buy" is a lot less effective here, simply because people are buying the stuff, albeit at reduced prices. I think that argument has merit in economic harms discussions in regards to people playing with photoshop as amateurs, but most of the people paying for pirated copies would probably use it somewhere.

Insofar as people getting duped, why would you buy software you thought was pirated when 99% of it is free on the net? I mean, most people either didn't know how much Photoshop is supposed to cost, or thought it was a massive sale or something, I'd bet. If you know it's pirated, it's barely harder to get it free.

Re:7 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078594)

I think you've hit on a salient point there, if the buyers actually knew how to download pirated software and where to find it they would. These idiots knew it was stolen they just didn't know any better way to get it.

Re:7 years? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078651)

Redirecting potentional customers away from a company, depriving them from profits. Even if you do it in an illegitmate way (as this person has done), is not the same as stealing.

Mostly I feel uncomfortable handing out harsh punishment to non-violent criminals. If you gave a compulsive shoplifter 7 years in prison, I would feel the same way. Although I might be more sympathetic to the shoplifter, they might have a legitimate illness.

Also, I would like to point out that I never mentioned the whole "wouldn't otherwise buy" arguement. So it seems in your attempt to understand me you have tried to place words into my mouth.

I'm not sure why anyone would buy software from this guy. Maybe it was more convenient than trying to find the warez-scene and downloading it. Although P2P has been the great equalizer, since when downloaders also contribute to the network the underground has to be less exclusive.

I'm a software developer, I really don't like people pirating software. Although thankfully I tend to work in an industry where the software is tied tightly to the hardware, so it's almost never pirated. New programmers are always asking me for compilers, ebooks, etc. I tell them if they are serious they should pony up and pay their way through it. online guides aren't terribly valuable for C or C++ programming, so I wouldn't recommend those as the only resource.

7 years?-Tough Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078616)

"It's not like he was out gunning people down, conning windows out of their money or touching children. I don't like the idea of someone out there ripping businesses off. But when there is no discernable victim I'm not sure the punishment fits the crime in this case."

To any artists lurking on this forum. Read the above very carefully. Now ask yourself this. Do you still want to produce content for members of an audiance that apparently can see the value in physical goods, F/OSS goods (and apparently can locate the victums easily in cases of wrongdoing), but not in what you produce (and heaven help you if you complicate things by asking for money in exchange)?

BTW They want the transgressor to get off easy. Guess "she was just asking for it, looking so tempting. He just couldn't help himself". Lesson: Make what you create as undesirable as possible (fat) and you'll be safe from...THEM!

Worse yet... (5, Informative)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078372)

... his website ibackups.net [ibackups.net] has been defaced.

(serves him right)

Why Not a Billon Dollar Fine and Life? (2)

ac7xc (686042) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078381)

I don't believe that putting a person in prison for seven years and make them pay an unrealistic fee is good public policy. I think that anyone convicted of a non-violent crime should receive no more then one year in prison and the fines should not exceed 10% of their expected lifetime income. Now we have to pay $250,000 to house this guy and he will never pay the fines against him becuase they are impossible to pay. I remmeber in the 90's a man accidently started a fire and the USFS gave him a bill of $100 million dollars. He filed for bankruptcy and moved out of the country.

White collar crime should be punished. (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078552)

Just because the crime is not violent doesn't mean it should have a more leinient sentance.

I know there is a huge difference between murder and copyright/fraud etc, but White collar crime should be treated as seriously as others. A 7 year sentance should discourage anyone of trying the same thing, if this guy got 12 months with 6 on good behaviour whats to stop the next guy doing the same thing and hiding his profits in an offshore account with the intent to serve a minimum sentance.

Cases like this are not commen and the courts should slap a harsh punishment to keep discouraging this sort of behavior.

Most people will have no sympathy for this guy, he got greedy. Even self-admitted pirates on P2P networks would say this guy deserves everything he got.

Not piracy,illegally selling copies of software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078418)

"piracy" is that marketing thing they put on dvds, to convince you that copying/downloading information is
similar to assaulting people on boats.

"You wouldn't steal a car"
"You wouldd't steal a DVD"
"You wouldn't re-sell stollen slave children abroad"

"Downloading is stealing"

-MPAA

DRM (1)

TLouden (677335) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078480)

Still, it seems like we should lock down all consumer products because it's not like the real profit killers are organized and highly motivated people who can get around it anyways.

Now he's set for life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16078504)

If they KNOW he made 20 mil, why only order him to pay back 5? Sure, 7 years in prison is a big hefty sentence, and I'm sure it's going to be the worst experience of his life... but once he gets out, he'll be a millionaire without a worry in the world. Some days, that doesn't even sound like a bad idea to me. You'll never earn that much money in seven years at work.

Re:Now he's set for life. (1)

NRO826 (996686) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078673)

Clearly you havent read the comments above which raise the very valid point that he did not make 20 million dollars. the software he sold at a discount was estimated to retail at 20 million dollars.

Cause of piracy, anyone? (1)

madbawa (929673) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078544)

Has anyone wondered why people indulge in piracy? Or anything illegal, for that matter?
I think that would happen only when a person needs something and that need is not fulfilled. People have different reasons for indulging in criminal acts. Money, glory, recognition are some reasons that I can think of.
The problem with today's world is that things are just too expensive. My grandfather talks of the time he has seen (just about 50 years ago) when things were actually available at 1/100 th the price they are today (in Indian Rupees)! He says that people were truly happy then. Because all their needs were taken care of. Two factors have ruined that: Economy and Population.
Our so-called 'leaders' today care only about their seat of power. Everything has become too damn expensive. People just aren't happy with what they get as salary. Its pittance. Everyone has dreams to fulfill. That propels them to earn more money. Business is the next option. But no one wants to leave a secure salaried job and dive into the uncertainity of business. So, they take the easy way out. Part-time business. Piracy is just one of these easy ways.
Today, I can get whatever 'commercial' software I want for less than a dollar (alghough personally, I use Linux and open source and free software or whatever you want to call it). Once things become cheap and affordable for all strata of society, people won't NEED to indulge in piracy and think of other ingenious ways of making money. The basic problem lies not in piracy itself, but in our inflation-ridden economies and the strain that increased population puts on our resources.
I know that the time my grandfather speaks of will never return, but I shudder to think what my children will have to go through to earn a respectable living.

Sweet deal (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078547)

Profit?
So he pays 5.4 mil, gets out after a couple of years and legaly has 15 mil left over? Good deal. Sign me up.

Re:Sweet deal (1)

crashelite (882844) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078588)

humm 7 years and 15 million$ damn thats a nice paycheck... not to mention he doesnt have to pay rent or anything lucky bastard! he even gets cable TV and a free lunch... all for doing illegal things!!!! if u didnt already check that 2.14 milion a year that he is in prision... (given he has 15 mill after court, and then also given he serves his whole sentance and doesnt get off for good behavior what he most likely will) depending if he has most of that in the bank still thats one awesome ammount of intrest he is gaining off that...given that he hasnt spent it all ...

Re:Sweet deal (2, Informative)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078595)

Well, TFA says he sold $20 Mill worth of software. It doesn't mean he sold it for $20 mill. From what I've seen, pirates usually sell software for about 10% of what it's worth. If that's the case here he got $2 mill before hosting expenses, etc... and fined $5.4 mill + jail time. Now fudge the numbers all you want but I really doubt he's going to come out of this thrilled with his financial situation.

What about the people who bought the stuff? (1)

Hamoohead (994058) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078585)

Ok, so this turd gets fined for selling warez on a web site. Now, tell me. What kind of idiot would pay for something you can get from pirate bay or eMule for free? luser: "Damn I hate spam! Maybe if I buy something they'll stop."

Wait... (1)

SirKron (112214) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078649)

$20 million
-$5.4 million
-----------------
$14.6 million over 7 years That is like a job that pays a little over $1000/hr! Wow...

iBackups.net (1)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 8 years ago | (#16078681)

The FBI and the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice have essentially "tagged" the web site of a piracy guy. That's the first time I've seen them do that and I hope it is an effective way to keep raise awareness of the consequences of disregarding the law. see: www.ibackups.net [ibackups.net]

The individual responsible for the operation of the iBackups website has pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and faces up to 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and restitution of over $5 million.
They're basically tap dancing on this guy's grave. Sweet!
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