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World's First Jail Sentence for BitTorrent Piracy

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the ouch-three-months-for-miss-congeniality dept.

Movies 280

Rob T Firefly writes "Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reports on what seems to be the world's first case of a BitTorrent movie pirate being sent to jail. (Others have been jailed for related crimes.) After losing his appeal against a November 2005 conviction, Chan Nai-ming, a 38-year-old BitTorrent user known as 'Big Crook,' has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet' available for download via BitTorrent. His appeal was based on the fact that he did not profit from the piracy." From the article: "[Appeals Judge] Beeson noted [convicting magistrate] MacIntosh, in handing out the sentence, was fully aware of the noncommercial nature of the case, but measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers — not by the gain made by the offender. Chan, and those in the chatroom, 'were aware of the possible criminal implications of uploading films to the system,' Beeson wrote. She also noted the sentence was already drastically reduced, from a maximum of four years, to three months, in order 'to reflect the novelty of the conviction.'

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ZONK'S FAVORITE PIRACY STYLE: BUTT (0, Flamebait)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242738)

You see, because he is a worthless fucking faggot.

Re:ZONK'S FAVORITE PIRACY STYLE: BUTT (1)

HazMathew (207212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242940)

heh... Issues...

wow (5, Funny)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242774)

> BitTorrent movie pirate being sent to jail. (Others have been jailed for related crimes.) After losing his appeal against a November 2005 conviction, Chan Nai-ming, a 38-year-old BitTorrent user known as 'Big Crook,' has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet' available for download via BitTorrent

Damn, I didnt know bad taste was a jailable offence.

Re:wow (5, Funny)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242804)

Now if only they would arrest the people who were involved in making those movies ...

Re:wow (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243042)

I would be happy with just the arrest of Ben Afflack

Re:wow (4, Insightful)

ggwood (70369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242856)

Ya, and since "[the judge] measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers" the sentence should be the movie makers handing cash to this guy. He's advertising their crappy movies for them, for free.

Re:wow (2, Informative)

ggwood (70369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242970)

The Tomato Meter ratings of these films are: 14, 37, 44 - which (as I understand it) is the percent of favorable reviews.

Re:wow (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242936)

>>> "Jailed for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet' available for download ....... MacIntosh, in handing out the sentence measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers"

I can see where they are coming from. I'd be embarrassed and 'harmed' by the general public seeing my totally crappy films too.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243050)

Well when your user name is Big Crook, you shouldn't be surprised that they throw you in jail. But it could have been worse. He could have had the user name Marie Antoinette.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243090)

Damn, I didnt know bad taste was a jailable offence.

If that was the case 51% of the US electorate should have been jailed after the 2004 presidential election.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243634)

stupidity != bad taste

Re:wow (0, Offtopic)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243710)

Damn, I didnt know bad taste was a jailable offence.
 
If that was the case 51% of the US electorate should have been jailed after the 2004 presidential election.

And a 49% of the US effective voters, after the 2000 presidential election.

Prison sentence? (0, Redundant)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242778)

has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Miss Congeniality,'

Good.

If anyone deserves it it was him.

Re:Prison sentence? (4, Funny)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243608)

If anyone deserves it it was him.

Can you just imagine what it would be like to be in the big house on this charge?

Cellmate: "Whatcha in for man?"

Nai-ming: "Miss Congeniality and Daredevil, how about you?"

Cellmate: "Double-murder, you're a Daredevil huh? well you'll be Miss Congeniality tonight."

Just what is "Uploading" in this case? (3, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242790)

The article doesn't make it clear, but from the description, it sounds like he posted the .torrent files somewhere and either ran the tracker or put the whole mess on a site that would run it.

If this actually applied to simply seeding the file as a peer (i.e. downloading via BitTorrent and leave the client running), then there's more of a potential chilling effect, as it sets a precedent for downloading-via-BT being the equivalent of distribution.

Re:Just what is "Uploading" in this case? (2, Interesting)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243220)

it sets a precedent for downloading-via-BT being the equivalent of distribution.

Last I checked, since the protocol works such that having that file in that folder implies consent to upload the file, then yes, it is the equivalent of distribution. The question is only whether or not the distribution is illegal. It seems hard to argue that distribution takes place unless you can prove that you somehow turned off that feature.

Re:Just what is "Uploading" in this case? (2, Interesting)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243680)

As I understand it, the way bittorrent works means that even if I'm seeding a movie it's fairly unliikely that any one person will get the entire file from me, if there are a decent number of peers as well as plenty of other seeders.
Assuming that you need at least, say, 75% of the file for it to be even semi-watchable, I would suspect that with the distributed nature of bittorrent, very few peers or seeders actually distribute enough of the file to any given person for it to really be that "person A got the movie from person B".

Please remind me again (5, Insightful)

Psionicist (561330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242792)

Please remind me again how this man is so dangerous to society he must be locked up in jail.

Re:Please remind me again (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242838)

I take it you haven't seen Miss Congeniality...

Re:Please remind me again (4, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242864)

You know sometimes we put people in jail for reasons other than they are dangerous, like to punish them... Otherwise a "white collar criminal" would never have to do jail time.

Re:Please remind me again (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242908)

You try telling anyone whose life savings were vaporized by the fallout from Enron and such that white-collar criminals aren't dangerous.

Re:Please remind me again (-1, Redundant)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242954)

You try telling anyone whose life savings were vaporized by the fallout from Enron and such that white-collar criminals aren't dangerous.
Try telling anyone who actually had to sit through 'Miss Congeniality' that this guy isn't dangerous.

Re:Please remind me again (4, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243092)

Yes, but we didn't send the Enron guys to jail because they're dangerous. We sent them to jail because they were bad (among other reasons.) We could make Enron execs effectively harmless in the future by banning them from certain business positions.

When we talk about sending someone to jail because they're dangerous it usually means preventing them from physically harming people in society at large.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243180)

I'd just tax all income, not just monetary, at 100% for every dollar over 100 Grand.
I'd sell all there assests. Give half to the spouse, take the rest.

Use it to fund presecription drugs for all the people who lost there life savings. As much as you can, anyways.

All the stocks they hqave for the company are immediatly sold, and all options exercised and taken.

Also, take there drivers lisense away.

Re:Please remind me again (2, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243272)

And make them watch Miss Conegeniality once a day.

Re:Please remind me again (2, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243562)

That approach has been used before. Remember the stock scam guy Micheal Milliken (sp?)from the 1990s? The Gov't banned him from ever working in the Securities industry as a broker. So what does he do, he makes millions as a "Consultant" to firms showing them how to avoid the scams like he ran and also showing them the loopholes he found that he didn't get caught for using. Kinda like hiring the hacker to show you how not to get hacked which has happened many times. The ability of the Enron execs to make any sort of living after they serve time is going to be compromised, not many firms want to hire a well-known felon. When Skilling gets out of prison he'll still get his Social Security plus anything he had before Enron that his soon-to-be-ex-wife doesn't get in the divorce.[NOTE == this assumes SS is still around in 30 yrs)

It's called deterrence. (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243736)


Yes, but we didn't send the Enron guys to jail because they're dangerous. We sent them to jail because they were bad (among other reasons.)

I'm not sure I understand what "bad" means within the context of jail. The reason why the Enron boys should (and did) go to jail was to deter other people from doing the same thing.

We could make Enron execs effectively harmless in the future by banning them from certain business positions.

Which would have little or no deterrance to stop anyone else from doing it again. Why not try the same thing if the only consequence is being banned from that practice? This is another way in which sending the Enron boys to jail protects society. If we didn't, society would be threatened by others who want to get away with the same thing.

When we talk about sending someone to jail because they're dangerous it usually means preventing them from physically harming people in society at large.

I disagree. We send plenty of people to jail to prevent them from commiting non-violent crimes. The guy commiting check-fraud sure isn't a violent criminal, but he's still hurting society. A spammer hasn't physically hurt anyone, but most everyone on slashdot is harmed in some small way every day by these people. Locking them up in jail is often the ONLY way we can prevent them from harming others.

Re:It's called deterrence. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243792)

>The reason why the Enron boys should (and did) go to jail was to deter other people from doing the same thing.

More to the point, the reason *anyone* should go to jail is because society feels they should be subjected to confinement, isolation, bad food, and anal rape, as a consequence for what society has claimed is damage to them.

Whether it's for smoking a joint or defrauding thousands of people for billions of dollars, basically, the threat of anal rape is the bedrock of the justice system.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243156)

Not all white collar crimes vaporize peoples life savings.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243516)

But wouldn't it make more sense to, say, make them pay back the money they stole?
Maybe 2-3 times what they took, so it serves as a deterrent. Instead, two or three of the Enron guys go to some country-club prison at taxpayer expense for a few months each, and they and everyone else involved gets to keep most of the money they took. How is that good for anyone but the criminals?

Same with this guy: how many copies of the movie were actually downloaded? They're available for, what $15.00 each more or less? It seems that would be a more appropriate punishment for copyright violation than jail time...

Re:Please remind me again (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243682)

You try telling anyone whose life savings were vaporized by the fallout from Enron and such that white-collar criminals aren't dangerous.

Embezzlement and the complete destruction of a company along with pensions, savings, stocks and lives is hardly comparable to sharing a couple copies of some terrible movies with people on the Internet. That the people may or may not have even bought/watched if they weren't free.

But nice try linking the two.

dangerous? (0, Offtopic)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243418)

You know sometimes we put people in jail for reasons other than they are dangerous, like to punish them...

... or to suppress their freedoms and liberties. In which case defiance is not only a right, but a duty. If we need to punish anyone, it is the government, it is they who are being dangerous, it is they who are coercively violating peoples liberties.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242878)

Please remind me again how this man is so dangerous to society he must be locked up in jail.

And house arrest sounds like a smart option to you?

Jail sentances are not only to keep away people from the rest of us, it's about punishment too.

Re:Please remind me again (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242960)

Yes, but there are other punishments.
Public service comes to mind.

Jails should be about rehabiltating people.

Re:Please remind me again (5, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243124)

Jails are for lots of things, rehab is perhaps the aspect they are least effective at.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243230)

I agree with you. Unfortunately, US prisons have largely checked themselves out of the rehabilitation process for many years now. Most people, it would seem, are more interested in revenge than in attempting to foster any good that may still be left in those that commit crimes.

My personal opinion is that this glorifies our basest instincts and shuts out our most human. In other words, choosing to only punish criminals is really a choice to hurt ourselves.

TW

Re:Please remind me again (1)

archcommus (971287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243346)

Definitely agreed. Perhaps he deserves a REASONABLE fine (as in, try to calculate how many people downloaded his films and multiply that by like $10, not $500,000 or something ridiculous) and some community service. Not being an actual inmate in a prison for a crime that no one is seeing any direct harm from.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243454)

Yes, the punishment should fit the crime.

If this guy was sentenced to so many hours community service work in the film industry, he would not only know who he was effecting but also make a direct contribution back to it.
Hell, he might even find himself a real job afterwards.

Here in the UK, our prisons are at maximum capacity - we are locking away too many people (some understandably need to be kept away), and I think some common sense needs to be applied.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243868)

And house arrest sounds like a smart option to you?

Jail sentances are not only to keep away people from the rest of us, it's about punishment too.


I could be wrong, but I suspect that after a certain age most people are not motivated by potential (or previous) punishments so I suspect that "punishing" criminals is mostly a pointless act. Now, if your goals are protection of society and rehabilitation of the criminal (and your penal system was properly structured) house arrest would be a smart option; at $65,000+ per year to jail a prisoner it would be far less expensive to have a criminal watched by their own personal parol officer than it would be to hold them in jail and (with the exception of violent and sexual predators) would probably be better for the criminal and society at large.

Re:Please remind me again (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242896)

Society is a collection of rules.
He broke the rules, and it being punished for it.
Rightr now, society says the punishment is jail.

Hopefully society will change where a judge will be able to come up with punishments that aren't so expensive to institute.

Re:Please remind me again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243086)

"Society is a collection of rules"

Rules made by a few for the many.

The few, are in the pockets of the Corporations.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243426)

Rightr now, society says the punishment is jail.
Hopefully society will change where a judge will be able to come up with punishments that aren't so expensive to institute.

What ever happened to sending criminals to Australia? That seemed to be working.

BTW, I'm not so sure that China's version of jail is "expensive to institute."

One correction (2, Interesting)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243432)

s/society/government/g

There. That fixes the argument. There is a big difference between society and government. Society is simply a collection of people, whereas government is the ruling force of a jurisdiction of land. In some cases the society and government are somewhat intertwined, whereas in other cases the government is far removed from the society that it is governing.

Re:Please remind me again (2, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242900)

He allowed rich people to have less money. There is no higher law.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243136)

He allowed rich people to have less money. There is no higher law.
In his defense, they wouldn't have lost much money. Not with those movies.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

b.burl (1034274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243760)

Thanks, that was really funny.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243064)

Because fining poor people doesn't work and for some reason we don't have debtors prisons anymore.

Re:Please remind me again (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243848)

Debtor's prison has been abolished in most civilized countries because it is considered an unfair punishment. It treats people who are having financial difficulties in the same manner as violent criminals, and it makes a positive solution that much more unlikely. People who are free are generally more productive, and will be that much more likely to be able to pay off the debt eventually.

Re:Please remind me again (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243552)

He's not a direct danger to society, obviously*

Now if copyright infringers aren't actually punished when they are caught, and most importantly, the severity of the punishment is sufficient to minimize the incentives to do so in a straightforward risk/gain analysis, the chance of a repeat infraction after the penalty has been paid is minimized.

Fining people impossible amounts of money usually doesn't accomplish anything, because if they don't have that much then there's nothing they can do, and if they _COULD_ afford the fine, then it would not necessarily be a sufficient deterrent to stop people from repeating the crime.

* At least not in the same way that people who threaten other people's lives are. However, if copyright has any value at all, then infringement poses a danger to that value, and in turn, to *ALL* copyright holders, so infringing on one person's copyright indirectly reduces the value of everybody's. I don't own any copyrights on anything I make money on (it's all GPL'd), but I damn well do care about whether or not other people respect my copyright by adhering to the terms that I, as the copyright holder, am free to dictate as being required to obtain permission to copy my works (in my case, comply with the terms of the GPL), and I most definitely realize that infringing on anybody's copyrights inevitably reduces the value of my own, because the concept of the exclusivity behind copyright loses significance in the view of the general public as a result, so I have no sympathy at all for infringers.

If he had been living in the US (5, Funny)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242794)

He would have gotten away with it due to the fact that they mention a chatroom, which more than likely means IRC, and nearly every single IRC channel related to piracy has the standard: If you are an agent of the government, you cannot enter here yadayada legalspeak yadayada.

Re:If he had been living in the US (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243468)

You may not realize this, but you're being modded funny because that statement is completely worthless. An IRC channel that says government agents aren't allowed to enter has no more meaning than an opium den with a sign above it that says police aren't welcome.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242796)

"In Hong Kong, only old people upload crappy movies on BitTorrent."

He deserves the punishment... (0, Redundant)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242806)

...the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet'...

...for a criminal lack of taste, if nothing else.

Soap (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242808)

Don't drop the soap

I don't know what's worse (1, Redundant)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242818)

I don't know what's worse: that he's being jailed for 3 months for "distribustion" or that people actually wanted to download Daredevil, Miss Congeniality, and Red Planet.

Re:I don't know what's worse (2, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243114)

This reminds me of something that happened back in college.

I was living on campus that year, in student housing. Early in the year, figuring some sort of file-sharing was useful within the house, I set up two public shares, one read-only and one write-only. A folder where I could post things and a dropbox. Within a few months I'd forgotten about the dropbox.

Sometime the following year I was cleaning up the system and stumbled across the folder. Embarrassingly, I discovered two very large MPEG files containing the movie, Entrapment. Apparently someone had found a writable share, uploaded it with the intent to transfer it somewhere else, and discovered they couldn't get the file back. (This was exactly why I made it write-only in the first place -- so it couldn't be used as a transfer point).

I told my brother about this, and he laughed and said, "At the very least they could have pirated a good movie!"

Re:I don't know what's worse (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243832)

Kind of ironic, too, isn't it? I mean, that the movie that was uploaded was Entrapment?

Vomit Inducing (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242822)

What a sick and twisted world we live in where someone goes to jail for sharing.

FIX COPYRIGHT LAW NOW!

It wasn't really sharing (2)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243396)

It's not as if he shared his food with the poor or something like that. It's more like me telling my buddy I'll share your car with him.

Good (1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242840)

" has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet' "

serves the bastard right.

Ouch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242850)

1 Month for each lame movie :)

Saturation (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242866)

To review the saga:


Here [slashdot.org] Hong kong announces their plan to find people violating copyright using BitTorrent.

Here [slashdot.org] is the report where they actualy find a guy.

The conviction [slashdot.org] .

Now he has been sentenced. Hooray, we were right there with you all the way dude, at least in a metaphorical sense.

As a contest, the prize for which is my unending admiration, lets all agree not to rehash the same tired arguments in the 3 links above.

Re:Saturation (2, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243656)

Now he has been sentenced. Hooray, we were right there with you all the way dude, at least in a metaphorical sense.

In the mean time, pirated DVDs continued to be manufactured (and I mean serious manufacturing, not a couple of guys with a dozen or two DVD burners) and sold by street vendors.

"Magistrate MacIntosh..." (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242884)

"I'm a Mac, and you're going to jail."

The 3 movies haven't done enough harm already? (-1, Redundant)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242956)

I mean come on..

"Daredevil"?!?!?!

"Red Planet"?!?!?

"Miss Congeniality"?!?!?!

If anything this guys is serving 3 months for having bad taste...

Confession (3, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17242988)

Chan also advertised the movies, and the procedure for downloading the files, on an online chatroom.

So basically he confessed and bragged about his l33titude, just like a little script kiddie bragging about defacing a website on an IIS 3.0 server. Had he not done this, perhaps it would have been more difficult to prove that he was sharing this movie and not just random blocks of binary code that happened to be very similar to those found in one rendition of the AVI files.

If you're going to share something iffy on BitTorrent use a public tracker that doesn't require logins, and maybe use an anonymous proxy like TOR. This isn't a 100% safe solution but it's likely better than what this chap did.

Re:Confession (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243174)

If you're going to share something iffy on BitTorrent use a public tracker that doesn't require logins, and maybe use an anonymous proxy like TOR. This isn't a 100% safe solution but it's likely better than what this chap did.

TOR is slow as it is, running BitTorrents through it would really kill it, you'd be better off uploading it once to usenet or rapidshare.

Re:Confession (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243812)

Or better still, have some fucking respect for other peoples work and dont go around distributing stuff you didnt help create, or own the IP of.
Unless you are a communist, or someone who thinks enabling freeloading is somehow cool.
Soprry to interrupt the "piracy is l33t" slashdot groupthink there.

Finally, Justice for The Artists (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17242992)

It's good to see artists being protected for a change. If this guy had stolen these movies from a grocery store no one would even question whether or not it was theft.

Anymore room in here... (0, Redundant)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243010)

For bad taste jokes. I don't think there are enough yet, but I Must Be New Here (TM).

Re:Anymore room in here... (2, Funny)

kentrel (526003) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243210)

Don't worry, they're just warming up for the pro-piracy, anti-"The Man" comments they're getting ready to write. It wouldn't be slashdot without someone denying downloading means less ticket sales or splitting hairs over why copyright theft isn't the same as stealing.

The funny thing about the bad taste jokes is that if they all know they're really bad movies just what were they doing watching them in the first place.

Re:Anymore room in here... (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243756)

Don't worry, they're just warming up for the pro-piracy, anti-"The Man" comments they're getting ready to write. It wouldn't be slashdot without someone denying downloading means less ticket sales or splitting hairs over why copyright theft isn't the same as stealing.


I'm stunned that I can't find any real anti-intellectual-property, copyright-violation-isn't-stealing arguements here yet. Just a bunch of people condemning the corporate corruption of the U.S. penal system. (Don't tell them TFA is about China, they're on a roll.) Seriously, Where Have All The Hippies Gone? Is there some big game of Ultimate Frisbee I don't know about?

Yeah, right... (1)

ppolitop (870365) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243022)

but measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers -- not by the gain made by the offender.
I would be really interested in how can one measure that "damage", in a reasonable way.
We are dealing with jailtime and people's lifes here, we can't just assume....

the doc

Actual harm done (4, Interesting)

LParks (927321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243074)

"MacIntosh, in handing out the sentence, was fully aware of the noncommercial nature of the case, but measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers"

I imagine that the moviemakers actually did lose sales on these products, because most of the people that downloaded and watched these movies probably realized how bad they were and lost interest in purchasing them.

These companies want you to be blindfolded, and purchase based on 30 second blurbs with a catchy voice saying exciting things. When people see product they can make an actual informed purchase (or non-purchase).

The court doesn't recognize bad movies (3, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243080)

There are a ton of snarky "lol the movies sucked" comments being posted, and that's all good, but it's actually interesting to note that this very fact formed another part of Chan's failed appeal. FTA:
Beeson seconded MacIntosh in rejecting the argument the movies "were neither current, nor in the `blockbuster' category." She wrote: "A court was not in a position to assess the quality or value of such material."

Re:The court doesn't recognize bad movies (1)

t0rkm3 (666910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243206)

Seems odd. Doesn't a court decide reasonable damages frequently?

Sounds like someone was a wee bit lazy.

Re:The court doesn't recognize bad movies (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243280)

"A court was not in a position to assess the quality or value of such material."
Um, yes, but isn't that what happens - at least in part - during copyright cases?

Re:The court doesn't recognize bad movies (2, Insightful)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243458)

"[Appeals Judge] Beeson noted [convicting magistrate] MacIntosh, in handing out the sentence, was fully aware of the noncommercial nature of the case, but measured the seriousness of the case by the harm done to the moviemakers -- not by the gain made by the offender.
So she made no judgement on the value of the movies, but still could determine that harm was done sufficient to warrant a jail term?

Holy Redundancy, Batman! (0, Redundant)

Non-CleverNickName (1027234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243082)

You can never have too many comments about his bad taste in here! Keep em coming!

Why not send the movie makers to jail? (1)

starX (306011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243100)

I mean seriously, those movies are awful. So awful, in fact, that the only way I can imagine anyone watching them is if you did give them away. Using the judges logic, the studio did significant damage to themselves way before this guy unleashed the big nasty bit torrent.

Re:Why not send the movie makers to jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243866)

that the only way I can imagine anyone watching them is if you did give them away

The only way I can imagine anyone watching them is through torture and forced watching or big money. I mean, according to porn girls would be convinced more easily to be used for pornographic purposes by several men at the same time, then to watch any of the movies you listed.

Big Crook (1)

RiddleofSteel (819662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243104)

I wonder if they chose him because of him flaunting his criminality with his username? Because surely he was doing those studios a favor distributing those crappy movies, I'm not sure they could even give them away.

Harm? (0, Flamebait)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243146)

"by the harm done to the moviemakers -- not by the gain made by the offender."

What harm?

Can they actually prove that anyone who downloaded the movie would have actually bought the fucking things on tape or DVD in the first place?
Can they actually prove that some of the poor, taste-free bastards DIDN'T go out and buy afterwards?

Oh wait. This is America. You don't need proof anymore. Unprovable accusations will suffice.

Re:Harm? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243278)

More to the point, all those movies are available via netflix which don't charge based on a per-rental basis, so are already basically free elsewhere anyway.

Re:Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243288)

Um... actually, it's China.

Re:Harm? (2, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243340)

Oh wait. This is America


While you may be referring to yourself, the situation described in the submission is happening in Honk Kong..

Re:Harm? (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243392)

Where is Honk Kong, anyway?

Re:Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243386)

"Oh wait. This is America. You don't need proof anymore. Unprovable accusations will suffice."

Actually, this isn't America you insensitive clod.

Re:Harm? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243632)

So, you won't mind if I take a copy of your entire website, and post it on different servers, would you?

Who needs comedians? (2, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243154)

...has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet' available for download...

How the hell are we supposed to get modded funny when the friggin jokes write themselves??

4 years for sharing 3 movies !!!??? (0, Flamebait)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243186)

I know it was actually reduced from 4 years to 3 months because of the 'novelty' of the conviction but what happens when someone else gets caught and it isn't novel any more?

4 years is lunacy. Some murderers and rapists serve less that. It just goes to show how biassed/corrupted the US legal system can be by corporate power.

Re:4 years for sharing 3 movies !!!??? (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243320)

I think that these kinds of punishments are pointless and stupid as well, but you should reread TFA. This is in China, not the US. Doubtless it is only a matter of time and lobbyists until it is, though.

Re:4 years for sharing 3 movies !!!??? (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243766)

This case is in Hong Kong, a SAR of China so how biassed/corrupted the US legal system can be by corporate power is largely immaterial, I would also suggest that the penalties for Rape and Murder are somewhat harsher, at least in China and I assume in Hong Kong to a certain degree as well (Saying that I am unsure precisely what the situation is in Hong Kong, and what amount of transitioning there has been in the legal sphere since the UK handed the territory back to China).

In any case, this is certainly not one of those times where US intervention will have had much of an impact if it was even attempted, (which I doubt but cannot confirm).

As for the general topic of copyright infringement, I can quite honestly say that I support the fact that there are laws with hefty penalties in place (whether civil or criminal). After all Copyright law does do its part in protecting content producers. Patents are another matter entirely. As for materials subject to copyright, I think it is down to the creator to decide how, where and under what conditions it is distributed and used, I and the company I run prefer to release things under permissive licenses, primarily the GPL (It gives customers and consumers a choice as to what to do with the product we supply and prevents us being the sole option for them when it comes to alteration or expansion which is good and bad but still something I prefer, after all if we are better than everyone else they will come back, if we are not we must try harder..), but I wouldn't force that upon others.

what a turn of fate... (4, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243216)

Chan Nai-ming, a 38-year-old BitTorrent user known as 'Big Crook,'

In prison his user name will be "Ben Dover"

Don't forget it's China (0)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243218)

It's possible, although I won't go so far as to say probable, that he's being made an object lesson in an effort to show China is continuing to be tough on piracy in order to court more business. I certainly (probably thankfully) have no experience with the Chinese legal system, and I'm not saying the same thing couldn't happen here. Meh, perhaps I'm too cynical.

No, it's the Hong Kong SAR (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243854)

Technically it's the Hong Kong SAR, which is NOT covered by Chinese law. The HK SAR basically still uses the British legal system that was in place at the time of the handover. I was shocked to see the judge's name because her name is as Anglo as they come, so it's not impossible to conceive that she's actually a Brit who decided to stay in Hong Kong after the handover. I would fully consider such a judge to be immune from Chinese political pressure. That doesn't mean that HK authorities didn't deliberately seek to find a guy they could easily convict of "piracy" to tell the US "We care about piracy. We really do!" but I doubt that this conviction was because Beijing ordered it.

Note to self... (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243370)

Don't illegally download copyrighted material under the user name of "Big Crook"!

Rule #1 (1)

CouteauTM (985458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243374)

Don't use username like 'Big Crook' if you wanted to do something illegal. Come on, that's just asking for it.

Daredevil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17243416)

So he was busted for pirating a Firefox ad [firefoxflicks.com] ? :-D

Funny line break make much happy laughter. (1)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17243492)

$EVIL_PIRATE has begun serving a prison sentence for making the films 'Daredevil,' 'Miss Congeniality,' and 'Red Planet'


Sounds fair to me.
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