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BitTorrent Pirate Loses His Last Appeal

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-more-second-chances dept.

The Courts 244

Vix666 writes with a link to a ZDNet article on the final chapter of a story we've discussed before: the first user convicted of piracy for using BitTorrent to download a movie has really, finally, lost his case. Chan Nai-ming was sentenced in November of 2005, lost an appeal in December of last year, and appears to have once again failed to convince a judge to let him out. "The Hong Kong government welcomed the judgment, saying it clarified the law regarding Internet piracy. 'This judgment has confirmed that it commits a crime and violates copyright laws for the act of using (BitTorrent) software to upload and distribute,' said customs official Tam Yiu-keung in a written statement. He added the judgment would have a deterrent effect, a view endorsed by industry watchdogs such as the Hong Kong branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry."

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244 comments

Copyright law is a farce.. (5, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19186971)

How about the death penalty for downloading mp3s? Also, we should definitely kill the family members of people that download movies illegally.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187061)

maybe you should be beaten to a pulp for being an asshat.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187097)

No U!

1 down, 1.2 billion to go ! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187353)


Go get 'em, Tiger !!

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (5, Funny)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187335)

Ok, I've been wrong before, but I think he was being sarcastic...

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187261)

And since we know how well the death penality worked as a determent for murder...

Seriously, it does not matter at all what's the threat when you get caught. Whether it's just a slap on the wrist and probation or death by hanging, the people committing this "crime" are not ghetto gang members who don't care about another sheet in their file. They're usually normal, law abiding people who have fairly normal jobs or, if younger, go to school or college, often rather good schools or colleges, and plan to have a normal life with a normal job.

When you criminalize those people, all you get is a criminal who wouldn't have been one. Because what's the next thing happening? He's got a file, he's on probation, he probably won't get a good job. What is he gonna do? Commit more crimes. And since he's a criminal already anyway, why not break a real law? Does it matter?

When you go to jail for longer for copyright infringment than for robbery, do you think people who already got jail time for copying would care about what's happening when they sap that old lady to get her purse? Hey, it's a lesser crime, he's getting better!

Folks, something's running REALLY wrong here. With laws like this, we create more criminals but not more faith in the laws.

Why do people usually not murder or steal, rob a bank or kick old nannies off the curb? Because you simply don't do that! Do you really think about the possible jail sentence when you decide NOT to roll your car over that asshole who just gave you the proverbial finger? No, you don't kill him because that's simply something you don't do.

Because, quite frankly, if the law's the only thing that keeps you from going on a killing spree, something's very wrong with you!

People usually abide to the law not because they fear jail, but because of their moral code. Why are there more people speeding than shoplifting? The sentence for either is about the same (for a first time violation) here, still, we have a ton of speeders and rather few shoplifters, compared to it. Why? Because one is negligance and the other is stealing.

And you simply don't steal.

The danger I see is that people get used to breaking the law. When you simply continue what you have been doing for years and suddenly it becomes a crime, will you stop or will you ignore the law? And when you ignore one law, how far is it to ignoring the law altogether and just relying on your code of morals?

Will your morals stay the same? Or will you question them as well? Will you start wondering whether not only the law but also the morals you have been brought up with are wrong?

Scary, if you ask me.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187423)

no, we don't know how well the death penalty works. we don't use it often enough to see the effects of it. let's start to really drop the axe on people and i bet that things turn around pretty damn quickly.

Spot on! I'm off to download now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187643)

The funny thing here is that I was listening to the radio this morning while driving, and thought "Wow - that's a CD I want"

I have forgotten about it until I saw this article. Thanks, RIAA!

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187791)

In general I would be inclined to agree with you. In countries where the piracy rates are lower and it is not as easy to buy or procure full quality replacements for the original store bought discs I would agree.

Yes, it really isn't stealing, but that really doesn't mean that it shouldn't be illegal. In countries like the US where for the most part piracy is pretty low, making it illegal is almost entirely counterproductive. In countries like China making it illegal is probably the only way that there is going to be progress on getting people to actually purchase the media that they are wanting to have.

To some extent people need to be buying the albums or movies that are worth having and not buying the ones that suck. Downloads correlate very poorly to what is going to have a market and what doesn't.

Unless it has changed drastically in the last couple of years, Hong Kong is a place where it is often times easier to get an illegal bootleg of a movie or album than it is to get a legitimate copy of it from a store.

I could be wrong about that, but if that is indeed the case, then the media companies do have a right to be paid for the copies and in the long term the penalties would very well need to be harsh.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188041)

Unless it has changed drastically in the last couple of years, Hong Kong is a place where it is often times easier to get an illegal bootleg of a movie or album than it is to get a legitimate copy of it from a store.

Rubbish. I live in Hong Kong. Bootleg media have always been around, but there are legit music and DVD shops in every shopping mall. Bootleg shops were concentrated in a few areas, and temporary street stalls, but there are perhaps a fewe dozen outlets in the whole territory at any time, under pressure from periodic raids by the Customs Dept. Of course, if you want Spiderman 3 the week the movie opens, you can probably find a crappy cam version. As for software, the days of the "fully loaded" PC as was standard 10 years ago are long gone. Most PCs come with the whole shrinkwrapped and certified software deal now. Businesses need support, they have to buy legal software.

It's another story over the border in Shenzhen.

then the media companies do have a right to be paid for the copies and in the long term the penalties would very well need to be harsh.

You've lost me there. The media companies certainly want penalties to be harsh. You can steal physical DVDs and suffer much lower penalties. In the case of uploading old movies, movies that have already been shown on free to air TV in this case, it's hard to see any reason to treat it as a capital offence.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187911)

Death penalty does great for murder. How many reoffenders are there?

This post brought to you by the word: Jeopardy

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (4, Insightful)

Rojo^ (78973) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187943)

When you go to jail for longer for copyright infringment than for robbery, do you think people who already got jail time for copying would care about what's happening when they sap that old lady to get her purse? Hey, it's a lesser crime, he's getting better!

It's not a lesser crime. It's just a crime with fewer corporate-funded lobbyists pushing for disproportionate punishment. Your sig is probably unintentionally but ironically relevant to this discussion.

In Soviet Russia, the government controls the commerce.

Re:Copyright law is a farce.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187315)

The MAFIAA needs money. Ever MAFIAA executive deserves a gold plated Ferrari and a solid gold toilet. They should not have to do any work for it either. What I propose is that we impose a new tax so that 20% of everyone's income should go directly to the MAFIAA. How dare any of you ask that they actually do anything for your money.

come on out trolls (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19186975)

Ok, so where are the "don't censor google in china" trolls now? If censoring a google search is like the worst thing in the world, wtf is the outrage at imprisoning some kid for copying a file?

Re:come on out trolls (1)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187125)

Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but you realize Hong Kong's judiciary derives (still) from the British tradition, I hope?

Re:come on out trolls (5, Insightful)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187151)

Well, first of all, he's 38. Even if "30 is the new 20" he hardly qualifies as a kid. When I was 38 (but hey, 40 is the new 30, so I can be 38 again ina a few years ), I knew at least a few things. I knew the difference between right and wrong, legal and illegal, smart and stupid. In the latter category comes the idea that "If my definition of right and wrong differs from the law's definition, I should not do about enacting my definition in a public and noticeable way, lest I get busted." Clearly, he didn't get the difference between smart and stupid.

Secondly, he wasn't imprisoned for copying a file (funny how we expect copyright to be followed when bringing companies to task for violating the GPL but not when some individual violates copyright; the GPL is founded on copyright law, after all, not contract law), he was sentenced for *distributing* the copyrighted content that he copied. That's a far greater transgression under copyright law.

Finally, don't look now, but the only troll in this picture is you.

Re:come on out trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187191)

That's the point of the GPL you fucking idiot--the stronger copyright law is, the stronger the GPL is. If copyright law became weak, the GPL would no longer be necessary.

Re:come on out trolls (5, Interesting)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187237)

There's a reason geeks get up at arms over GPL violations, and it's not because of a double standard.

It's because the GPL (and simmilar) was created to sidestep the problems of copyright. If you think current copyright law is a farse, than you release your work as GPL, not public domain. If you release it public domain, people can use it in copyrighted works, thus (indirectly) copyrighting your work.

The GPL uses copyright law to make sure your work never becomes part of the farse of copyright.

Engrish (0, Offtopic)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19186983)

Translations rock!

his judgment has confirmed that it commits a crime and violates copyright laws for the act of using (BitTorrent) software to upload and distribute


Bah! I was about to put a link to one of my favorite page with nonsensical translations but it has been fixed. Weak.

It's actually good that they got him for this... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19186993)

...before he could move to America and shoot up a University.

BitTorrent illegal? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187039)

So does that mean merely using bittorrent in japan is now illegal, regardless of the content being transferred?

Surely seems like it from the quote above....

Re:BitTorrent illegal? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187203)

It means committing a crime in Hong Kong is now illegal.

wtf (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187045)

the punishment seems a bit extreme for one movie but where do they draw the line? what do you do when people simply dont intend to pay for something that took alot of cash to make to begin with- especially when every protection scheme fails horribly? make better movies? how exactly does that solve the problem of people in effect stealing movies? [if thats the case why are pirates getting the crappiest movies?]

Actual harm done (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187087)

"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. Jack tries to contact Kate in flash-forwards off the island. When people see product they can make an actual informed purchase (or non-purchase).

Re:Actual harm done (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187647)

When people see product they can make an actual informed purchase (or non-purchase).

What about when the only way to use the product is to view it? Maybe this could work if people were just posting ten minutes of a three-hour film, but it's plainly obvious what's going on when people distribute and download verbatim copies of full movies.
It has nothing to do with how good the film is. It's hurting the industry because we won't buy the movie after watching it if we can just keep the file and watch it as much as we want.

Re:wtf (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187161)

If they lose money by making movies, then they made a foolish investment.

Stop making movies if it costs too much. Nobody is entitled to guaranteed profit.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187169)

Your logic also backfires.

Nobody is entitled to someone else's hard work for free.

Re:wtf (1, Insightful)

pytheron (443963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187197)

Without their permission. I'm pretty sure I'm entitled to use the linux kernel for free

Re:wtf (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187305)

Linus releases the kernel free, he has given permission.

Re:wtf (0, Troll)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187249)

Nobody is entitled to someone else's hard work for free.
  1. They were not forced to work.
  2. Yes we are ALL entitled to the results of such work for free.
    It's called the public domain.

Re:wtf (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187275)

Public domain does not allow you to pirate blockbuster movies the day they come out.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187325)

Public domain does not allow you to pirate blockbuster movies the day they come out.
  1. So what? Time does not effect the fundamental truth that we are all entitled to the results of that hard work.
  2. It could in any country which defines all creations to be public domain, it even used to be so in the USA for any foreign produced works

this is not a troll (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187785)

whoever marked this guy troll should be ashamed of themselves. This site could really do with stiffer punishments for people who do shit like this. It's like stuffing a ballot box.

Re:wtf (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187333)

Nobody is entitled to someone else's hard work for free.
  1. They were not forced to work.
  2. Yes we are ALL entitled to the results of such work for free.
    It's called the public domain.
1) you were not forced to leave your house this morning 2) Yes we are entitled to beat you with a pool cue in an alley
it's called I can do whatever I want because I say so.

Re:wtf (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187349)

Wonderful! So what's the URL for EVERY SINGLE THING you've EVER written? All of it - it's public domain, right?

Oh, and just because an employer PAID you for that work, under the presumption it was for them alone, I still expect you to provide that work for everyone else...

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187371)

Wonderful! So what's the URL for EVERY SINGLE THING you've EVER written? All of it - it's public domain, right?
Hey, if you can find the URLs in google, go for it.
Being in the public domain also means the author has no other obligations with respect to the work either.

Re:wtf (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187379)

OK, so how were those movies in the public domain? You know that phrase - PUBLIC DOMAIN - has a SPECIFIC legal meaning. And your attempt to make up your own definition doesn't cut it.

Re:wtf (0, Troll)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187403)

OK, so how were those movies in the public domain? You know that phrase - PUBLIC DOMAIN - has a SPECIFIC legal meaning. And your attempt to make up your own definition doesn't cut it.
What movies? The post I was responding to said "hard work" to which I qualified as being the "results of that hard work" -- eventually all such results enter the public domain. Thus we are all entitled to them.

Re:wtf (1, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187375)

That's just insane.

If I create a beautiful painting, I am free to burn it rather than show it to you.

If I make beautiful music, I am free to leave it unrecorded.

If I create novel technology, I am free to destroy it.

Copyright and other intellectual property mechanisms exist to promote the sharing of novel and other valuable works. Passage into public domain is in exchange for protection, not some natural state of things.

Re:wtf (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187431)

Copyright and other intellectual property mechanisms exist to promote the sharing of novel and other valuable works. Passage into public domain is in exchange for protection, not some natural state of things.
No now you are being insane. Public domain is PRECISELY the natural state of things. Freedom of expression is a natural right, copyright is defined as a temporary exception to that right. It certainly is not a natural right on its own.

Meanwhile, wrt your point about not publishing the work prevents it from entering the public domain. Well, no effing duh. Yer a bril genius with that. If you don't show the creation to anyone else, it really doesn't matter now does it? It's like the tree falling in the forest, no one cares.

Re:wtf (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187503)

Your original comment makes no distinction whatsoever between creation and publication.

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187635)

Your original comment makes no distinction whatsoever between creation and publication.
No duh. I expected that anyone honestly interested in the debate rather than just scoring grammar-flame quality points would understand that. It's not like anyone else was talking about unpublished works, nor does the legal concept of the public domain apply to unpublished works.

I mean, did you seriously think I was mistaken on that point? Is it necessary that each post provide full literal detail of all baseline concepts? Is it so unreasonable to assume at least a moderate level of basic knowledge? Especially when half the prior posts were one-liners that were just themselves abstractions of well worn points in the debate?

Re:wtf (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187713)

'Entitled' is strong language. The context you claim to be arguing from is not as clear as you seem to think, at least to me. Sorry if I fail.

And yes, I did think there was a good chance that you were mistaken on that point. I mean, have you seen teh internets?

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187825)

'Entitled' is strong language.
And meant to be. The public domain has been pushed back so far that most people forget it and that it represents a return the natural state.

And yes, I did think there was a good chance that you were mistaken on that point. I mean, have you seen teh internets?
Sorry if I bit your head off, I'm just far, far more used to people forgetting the public domain, I can't recall ever seeing anyone overstating its importance. So I don't expect to mistaken for such a person either.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

Convergence (64135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187749)

The public domain is the natural state of things. You have it reversed.

Copyright is a right, granted by the government, to enter into my house or my business and forbid me from copying a work for a friend or creating a derivative work. Generally in american jurisprudence, we frown upon the government infringing into people's private homes and businesses unless the government has an overriding interest otherwise.

You are perfectly free to leave a piece of beautiful music unrecorded, but you won't convince me that the natural state of things includes the ability to, with the power of the government, coercively forbid me from transcribing that overheard music. Of course, copyright does give you the right to enter my private home or business to enforce your will, because public policy has judged that the public benefit --- the production of creative works --- justifies the infringement on personal liberties.

Re:wtf (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187885)

My comment is certainly muddled. The implication that copyright is natural is accidental, my intent was more that public domain is not necessarily the natural state of any creative work(rather than published work), but that isn't made clear.

I would maintain that copyright is all about publication, people seem more than willing to create, in any number of circumstances.

Re:wtf (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187269)

No business on earth survives on "the honor system".

They were fools to produce something they knew (or should have known) would be copied by millions.

Re:wtf (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187285)

And you're a fool for having glass windows, I may just steal your TV tomorrow.

Re:wtf (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187319)

Glass windows are a suitable barrier in most places. But if I leave my door unlocked, there is a very good reason that insurance won't pay me for anything you steal.

Re:wtf (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187327)

You're trying to weasel out of your own point. If I -can- do it then by gum I will. Your fault if you have glass windows instead of steel shutters.

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187359)

You're trying to weasel out of your own point. If I -can- do it then by gum I will. Your fault if you have glass windows instead of steel shutters.
The US Constitution guarantees the natural right of freedom of expression. Theft of real property is not a natural right.

Re:wtf (5, Informative)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187493)

The story is about a guy in HONG KONG. Hiding behind the US Consitituion does you no favours in this debate.

Will Americans PLEASE get it into their heads that NATIONAL LAWS ARE NOT INTERNATIONAL.

Re:wtf (1, Informative)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187677)

Hiding behind the US Consitituion does you no favours in this debate.
Will Americans PLEASE get it into their heads that NATIONAL LAWS ARE NOT INTERNATIONAL.
Oh grow up. Freedom of expression is at least officially recognized by just about every government in the world. China was even one of the 8 countries on the drafting committee for the universal declaration of human rights which (obviously) includes the freedom of expression and does not include copyright.

Re:wtf (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187569)

Are you sure about the insurance? I bet you can get a policy that doesn't make such a stipulation, as long as you are willing to pay the premium.

Insurers will issue a policy for anything that is both legal and profitable. They're crazy like that.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187483)

what do you call a public park after it's been built?

That includes the MAFIAA. (1, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187539)

Nobody is entitled to someone else's hard work for free.

That deal is about to change, so you might think twice before investing your work. The stuff that needs to be liberated long ago made it's money, the "workers" saw precious little of it and are mostly dead.

The world's three music publishers and movie publishers have been taking a long ride on my tax dollars, just so they can squeeze more out of me at the box office. Just threaten to eliminate perpetual copyright - 25 years sounds about right - when the copyright warriors are around. What's that you say, Mr. Pigopolist? You deserve the "protection" provided by my tax dollars? I don't think so. The deal is that you get limited protection for a limited time to recoup your investment, but only if such protection is required to advance the public domain and state of the art.

The laws are really out of control. People are put in jail longer for sharing music than they are for rape and the fines for the "crime" of sharing are to lose your life savings. Think about that. Are you really more upset when someone shares a song or movie than you are when they rape your neighbor? Is sharing really a crime people should go to jail for? Laws need to follow morals, not the other way around. Copyright law is wrong and needs fixing.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187573)

"Hard work" isn't something that can be stolen except through slavery or fraud. You're probably talking about the fruits of hard work, in which case there would be plenty of exceptions to your statement. Modern science and mathematics were built on the labors of many, and yet the fruits of these labors cannot be owned.

Hard work, by itself, guarantees nothing. I can spend thousands of hours building model planes, grinding through MMPORGS, or trying to woo a crush, only to be left with little or nothing to show for my efforts.

Re:wtf (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187605)

I really enjoy the works of a fellow called Shakespeare. Am I not entitled to read his works for free?

Re:wtf (2, Interesting)

Arterion (941661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187639)

How about I send them a penny in the mail for the work? Then it's not for free. I say that because I think many feel that, relatively speaking, that's how big business collectively compensates the hard work of peons. And I do mean hard work. Like, back-breaking work. I don't really think that sitting back and making money simply by investing is "hard work", but the richest people get by just by doing that.

I think of more people had more disposable income, they'd see more sales. I think that Johnny Minimum Wage should be able to enjoy art without having to choose between licensing fees or rent.

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188031)

You: I think "IANAL" is probably one of the most respectable things someone can say.

What about people who say, "IORAL?"
Personally, I'm really found of those who claim, "IVAGINAL."

Public Domain FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187757)

Actually, for copyrighted works, we most certainly are entitled under law. It's something called the Public Domain.

That said, it's theirs for a limited time and if they didn't keep retroactively extending copyright lengths, I might be more sympathetic. As is, I don't think they're entitled to be paid quite so many times for the same work. They're quite fond of reselling the same "content" over and over and over and...

As for me, I mostly publish anonymously and give my imaginary property rights away. After all, whenever I see people take my ideas as their own, without credit, I know that they feel those ideas are worthwhile. As an author, nothing could be more gratifying. Current copyright laws are only worthwhile if you want money or fame; I find other pursuits much more worthwhile.

Yes you are. Supreme court: Feist vs RTC (1991) (2, Insightful)

Convergence (64135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187837)

http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/499_US_ 340.htm [cornell.edu]

This was already ruled upon in the US Supreme court. Feist vs Rural Telephone Company (over a telephone book). They rejected any argument that right t of control (copyright) would be granted based on 'sweat of the brow' or the hard work in creating an uncreative or unorigional work.

They explicitly said that creativity is required to grant copyright. As alphabetizing names and putting them into a book is not creative, the result was not copyrightable, despite the amount of effort put into producing the telephone directory. Creativity may apply in the selection or the arrangement, but not in the facts themselves.

Now, of course, in an attempt to end-run around this ruling, there are occasional rumblings of creating a 'database copyright', that may forbid the duplication of a database of facts.

Re:wtf (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187869)

Why not? No one should be able to compel another to do work, but if work is done, why shouldn't other people enjoy the benefits of it?

For example, suppose that Alice and Bob are neighbors. Alice plants a wonderful garden, which causes property rates to rise. As a result, Bob benefits from Alice's work, and Alice is not entitled to get Bob to compensate her.

Re:wtf (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188015)

Nobody is entitled to someone else's hard work for free.

Right, no one is entitled to force an information producer to hand over his or her work for free. However, what two other individuals do privately between themselves, including exchanging information, is nobody's business but their own, unless we abandon the concept of a right to privacy.

Re:wtf (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187173)

He did not own the right to distribute the film. That right is available and he could have purchased it. Instead he stole them. Why is this difficult to understand?

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187427)

Copying is not stealing. It is wrong in its own way, but it is not stealing.

Re:wtf (2, Interesting)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187201)

what do you do when people simply dont intend to pay for something that took alot of cash to make to begin with
Work only on commission. That way you get paid before it is possible to "pirate" the creation. The internet is great at distributing information in the form of media, it ought to be great at distributing information in the form of debts too, making the pooling of commissions by groups of millions of patrons feasible to pay for even the most crazy expensive productions.

Re:wtf (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187293)

Work only on commission. That way you get paid before it is possible to "pirate" the creation.

Hey I'm so glad you have agreed to commission my upcoming movie. What's your paypal ID?

Re:wtf (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187387)

Hey I'm so glad you have agreed to commission my upcoming movie. What's your paypal ID?
Just like any other artist working on commission, you have to sell your customer on the idea.

Let's hear your sales pitch - what's the plotline, who do you expect to star and direct, who is the writer, do you have examples of previous productions? If your pitch is good enough I'll paypal $10 to your escrow account.

RTFA (1)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187787)

He wasn't convicted for downloading a movie.

He was convicted for distributing three movies. And his term was only three months, which is not at all extreme, IMO. You can get 6 months for traffic violations in many jurisdictions.

This guy taunted them (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187075)

Chan had posted a message inviting BitTorrent users to download a movie on an Internet movie forum called "bt.movie.hk" using his "Big Crook" alias.

Thats similar to the motorbike guy who gave loads of speed cameras the bird because he thought he was safe.
Had it just occurred quietly no-one would have batted an eyelid.

Oh no! (5, Funny)

BalaClavaChord (686030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187099)

aXXo is that u?

Please tell me your ok!

Uploading copyrighted works without permission (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187115)

the first user convicted of piracy for using BitTorrent to download a movie has really, finally, lost his case.

No, he could have used any other protocol. He was not convicted for using Bittorrent to do anything. He was convicted for uploading a movie without having a license to do so.

Re:Uploading copyrighted works without permission (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187391)

But it's important because it shows that lawfully, bittorrent's uploading counts as distribution so you could be charged in the same way as a site hosting movies.

Re:Uploading copyrighted works without permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187445)

Is that news to anyone?

Re:Uploading copyrighted works without permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187853)

He was not convicted for using Bittorrent to do anything. He was convicted for uploading a movie without having a license to do so.

Yes, and he uploaded it with BitTorrent. Are you completely ignorant as to how BitTorrent works?

Re:Uploading copyrighted works without permission (2, Insightful)

przemekklosowski (448666) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187909)

He was convicted for uploading a movie without having a license to do so. No, his big problem was redistribution: he uploaded while feeding other bittorrent clients, therefore falling into a more severe legal category.

Scapegoats to the slaughter (4, Informative)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187139)

This comes a week after Australia extradited to the US an Australian Citizen who never stepped foot in the US for a similar offense [theage.com.au] . Australia's excuse is it's sycophantic Prime Minister it'll do anything the US Government tells it to. What's China's Excuse?

(Sadly) this isn't the Chinese government kissing American butt. They've got some "bad" [cnn.com] publicity [reuters.com] last week, so this poor sap is being made an example of.

Meanwhile the RIAA and MPAA continue to lie [ornery.org] , cheat [ornery.org] and steal [wikipedia.org] with politicans at their bidding [wikipedia.org] (that's the DMCA Congressman).

Re:Scapegoats to the slaughter (1)

erbmjw (903229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187651)

Hong Kong is not Mainland China!

It is a Special Administrative Region that has it's own law separate laws and judicial system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong [wikipedia.org]

Re:Scapegoats to the slaughter (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187917)

What's China's Excuse? (Sadly) this isn't the Chinese government kissing American butt. They've got some "bad" publicity last week, so this poor sap is being made an example of.

This was in Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system to China. As for the timing, it's been working its way through the court for years, he was convicted and sentenced in 2005, this report is of his appeal being rejected. The case was pushed by our local branch of the IFPA and HK Customs, which enforces copyright. They certainly did want to make an example of him, but it was nothing to do with Beijing. As TFA says, since he was charged, BT use has declined in HK. I certainly wouldn't use BT without a proxy.

In the net balance... (2, Insightful)

Anarchysoft (1100393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187153)

...wouldn't abandoning copyright law entirely ultimately have greater good than what we have now? There are abundant examples that creativity and innovation are not absent where there is not a motive of profit. If I had a machine that could copy food endlessly with no more work than bringing a bowl to it, would I not be acting immorally to demand as much payment as I could for it and restrict the creation of such a machine by anyone else? The 'right' to property, including ideas and other intangibles as 'property', has been the root of so much human suffering but continues to be excused. Instead, they punish Prometheus.

Re:In the net balance... (0, Troll)

sycomonkey (666153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187239)

Your last sentence seems to confuse "intellectual property", which isn't property at all so much as an artificial monopoly on an idea or set of data, and actual, physical property. Last month someone stole my car stereo. That car stereo was mine, I owned it, it was my property, and a thief stole it. Now, if the thief had instead copied my stereo, I would not be the least bit upset. When he stole my stereo, he got a stereo he did not pay for, and I no longer have a stereo. When someone downloads copyrighted music without permission, the person get music he did not pay for, but nobody who already bought the music is suddenly without. This is the key difference and something the RIAA and MIAA still doesn't' seem to understand. Saying that copying data is theft is inherently ludicrous. Copyright infringement, maybe, but not theft.

Re:In the net balance... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187697)

"an artificial monopoly on an idea..."

For the umteen-millionth time, copyright law DOES NOT FUCKING PROTECT IDEAS, IT ONLY PROTECTS THEEXPRESSION OF AN IDEA IN A FIXED, TANGIBLE MEDIUM!!! When will you Slashmonkeys learn this simple basic FACT about copyright law?!?!? You are more than willing to create a cartoon about a fucking mouse, just don't call him Mickey and give him red pants with yellow buttons. And no, the world is not a better place with fifty gazillion hacks trying to rework Disney cartoons, we are far richer as a culture when a smalll handful of talented people are rewarded fairly for creating the next Mickey Mouse.

Re:In the net balance... (2, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187903)

And no, the world is not a better place with fifty gazillion hacks trying to rework Disney cartoons, we are far richer as a culture when a smalll handful of talented people are rewarded fairly for creating the next Mickey Mouse.

A reworking of a Disney cartoon is of equal value to an original cartoon, actually.

Look at Shakespeare: nearly all of his plays are either based on history, or are based on stories that were already around. He was a thoroughly derivative artist, but a really excellent one. So long as there is a great quantity of works, I'm not too worried about just what those works happen to be.

Re:In the net balance... (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187259)

That's a very touching post, it is, but the mafiaa isn't restricting people's access to fire or food, they're restricting access to something that is made entirely for entertainment. The immorality of withholding free food is that a lot of people don't have enough of it. If you restrict access to Seinfeld episodes, there's not a single person who's life will end.

If you're going to oppose something, oppose patent laws which actually influence what medications and life saving devices people have access to. Fighting copyright law is like fighting the ability for someone to own a .22 pistol while everyone's walking around with an uzi.

Re:In the net balance... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187419)

Seinfeld, yeah.

If someone was to restrict access to Heroes episodes though, I definately WOULD die.

Re:In the net balance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187451)

No the immorality is that someone has that food as an endless supply and is using it in a balancing market. It's a hack in the free market. If someone would make money in a press then some asshole is living completely for free.


The problem with music and movie companies is that they make endless crap and hacked the system with their marketing strategy so that people will buy their crap. Some of that stuff I do actually want to see. But because they manage to keep the demand for all their other crap so high they can ask a rediculous amount of money for it. Now that is all good because I'm fore capitalism. We all are I hope because communism isn't that grand.


Normally the free market would've dealt with this: because they make endless crap people will stop watching that. The problem is their hack that keeps all the dumb people into their trap of buying crap. Now I for one am not willing to wait for these illiterates to recognize that they are watching crappy movies at a rediculously high price. So _and there is no legitimate /. rationalisation for it_ I steal the shit I want to see or hear. Beyond that I have thrown out my television a few years ago.



HNS

PS. Don't get started about intellectual property and those prostitute artists that get one penny per item

Re:In the net balance... (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187265)

What if your wide/mom/sister had a vagina, and people could have an endless supply of orgasms with no more work than sliding a penis into her mouth, ass, or vagina. Would you not be acting immorally to restrict access by everyone?

If anything... (1)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187199)

Convict him to life in jail for bad taste in movies.

The three movies Chan was convicted of pirating were Daredevil, Miss Congeniality and Red Planet

Any more abbreviations I should be against? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187207)

There's RIAA, MPAA, DRM, AACS, DCE, DMCA, EUCP, and now IFPI... I don't think I can keep up.

Excuse me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187209)

"Vix666 writes with a link to a ZDNet article on the final chapter of a story we've discussed before: the first user convicted of piracy for using BitTorrent [CC] [MD] [GC] to download a movie has really, finally, lost his case. Chan Nai-ming was sentenced in November of 2005, lost an appeal in December of last year, and appears to have once again failed to convince a judge to let him out."

Now you all know what happens when you use a slashexcuse on a judge.

What!??! (2, Funny)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187345)

Man, at first I read the end of the summary as "the International Federation of the Pornographic Industry".

Well, somehow that would make sense as they are fu*%$ this guy. :(

Responsibility of the oppressed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187393)

If you live under an oppressive regime, you should dedicate your subversive activities to the overthrow of that regime, not your personal entertainment. If he was being persecuted for opposing the corrupt government, he would deserve respect. Instead, he is being persecuted for bing subversive for his own entertainment purposes. Not only is that not deserving of respect, but it might make life even a little worse for others who have to live under the same corruption. Selfish bastard deserves prison, but the unfortunate thing is it may have repercussions for others who do nothing wrong.

That said, my other observation has long been, why aren't "pirate" networks obscured by real crypto already? Mildly hard crypto keeps observers out, and investigators would have to actively be a party to the sharing, as opposed to being able to easily stumble upon it.

Please before you flame me, my interest here is purely in terms of the capabilities of network systems, among other things, for private communication, specifically private from prying eyes of oppressive governments. In some eyes, I'm sure that makes me a terrorist or something, but I'm not concerned about that.

Re:Responsibility of the oppressed (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187967)

Selfish bastard deserves prison

Does he really? Would that benefit society more than fining him and hoping he learns a lesson? At least outside of prison he can still be productive.

double-take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187407)

Damn! From the headline, it sounded like someone went to jail for pirating bittorrent. I was thinking: Oh crap, I pirated /usr/bin/cp -- making a copy of it for a friend, without ever complying with GNU's license. Is GNU going to send me to jail? I knew I should have agreed to that GPL.

But instead, they're just talking about what tool he happened to use. That's still a little creepy, though, because I use my pirated /usr/bin/cp for pirating.

i just started up a few more torrents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187411)

I don't give a shit about this ruling. Screw hong kong

FP GOAT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187513)

going to jail for watching a movie? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187707)

If this is the situation, the MPAA's officers should be charged with obstruction of justice. The obstruction here, is polluting the system with false criminal investigations.

not that long ago, copyright law wasn't so cloudy.

now, your congressmen and mine, have been bought and paid for like cheap whores to write laws that protect the revenues of massive corporations.

this is the exact opposite of the intention of copyright.

Write your congressmen and women. demand they re-write the laws with their real constituents in mind.

So.... (1)

halycon404 (1101109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187945)

Its legal for me to buy an actual pirated DVD from hong-kong.. yet I can't upload a BT file in hong-kong? wtf mate!

Jury (1)

Rojo^ (78973) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188069)

If you're in the United States and ever have to sit on a jury for one of these Internet piracy trials, I hope you'll do your best to portray impartiality in the jury panel interviews, then convince the other jurors of a verdict of "not guilty."

Our founding forefathers intended the jury to be the last line of defense against a tyrannical government. Take for instance prohibition. In the early 20th century, alcohol was illegal. However, because no jury would convict those on trial for violating prohibition, the law was eventually repealed. From this point of view, jurors have an indirect impact on legislation.

Perhaps if enough trials result in failure to punish Internet piracy, the conventional sentencing will be re-examined, intended punishment will become more proportionate to the damage caused by this victimless crime, and the law will develop a little more sanity.
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