Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government News

Former DrinkOrDie Member Chris Tresco Answers 888

Posted by Roblimo
from the what-you-going-to-do-when-they-come-for-you? dept.
Okay, former DrinkOrDie member and convicted warez dude Chris Tresco got his answers to your questions back to us, so here they are. (Note: Chris does not advise you to follow in his footsteps.)

1) How clueful are they?
by jeffy124

In your opinion, how did the each party (prosecution, your lawyer, and most important - the judge) look when it came to their understanding of technology? Did they know every nook and cranny, or seem lost in a maze of confusion? Do you think an understanding of the issues in question was a significant factor in court proceedings?

Chris:
That is a tough question to answer considering the organizational structure of the government's side of things. The prosecution works very closely with other units of law enforcement when it comes to technically challenging cases like mine. In my situation, the government prosecutors were very well briefed about how the technical aspect of the warez scene work. They are briefed by law enforcement agents who are very technically savvy and able to sift through all of the data that they are presented with at the time a warrant is carried out. With this data, the agents build a packet of evidence that the procecutors can look through and easily understand. They had a plethora of evidence on which to build a case against me and it boiled down that all the ones and zeros that the agents were able to pick through added up to copyright infringement in the prosecution's eyes.

The judge doesn't really see the technical aspect of the case. He sees a report of the evidence, which is written in clean English, and makes his decision based on that.

My lawyer isn't very technically adept, but lawyers are pretty bright. He was able to grasp the concepts of everything, if he wasn't able to, he wouldn't be my lawyer. :) Besides, I was able to coach him through most of it.

2) "The Bust", WarGames or Matrix?
by msheppard

What was "The Bust" like? Was it like _WarGames_ where they showed up in black vans and confiscated your computers and rifled through your trash? Or was it more like _Matrix_ where they called you in and presented all sorts of evidence they collected online etc.?

Chris:
I would say that it was a cross between the two. I will lay out exactly what happened to me:

I was sitting at my computer chatting with a fellow DOD member on IRC. All of a sudden I noticed my net connection died. When I went to walk out the door, a U.S. Customs agent met me. "Mr. Tresco, My name is XXXXX, I am with the U.S. Customs Department. Would you mind coming with me?" As I turned the corner, there were about 20 law enforcement officials combing the halls of my workplace. We proceeded to a conference room where I answered questions for the better part of the day while the agents proceeded to carry out their warrant. They were looking for specific systems that were on the warrant. They had IP addresses. Technically, they had the authority to take everything on the network that the computers identified on the warrant were on, however they followed the warrant pretty strictly, taking only the stuff on it. It was really the hardest day of my life. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. I felt like I was in a dream.

3) Was there a feeling that DoD was too big?
by crunnluadh

The incredibly large volume of warez DoD was trading must have been staggering. At any point in time did you or anyone else in DoD ever think that the whole ring was getting way out of hand? If so, what ever came from that or those discussions?

Chris:
In terms of percentages of releases put out by DOD in relation to the scene, we weren't doing all that many. We did, however, have quite a large number of ftp sites that were being heavily utilized. One of our private leech sites was larger than a terrabyte of games and movies. It was constantly being uploaded to and downloaded from. This should give you an idea of the amount of trading that was going on.

To answer your other question... I felt on a daily basis that things were getting out of control. There were times that I did actually quit, but only for a day or so. IRC always brought me back online. That was my biggest mistake. DOD was a warez group, yes... but imagine a bunch of guys/gals sitting around talking all day and suddenly you stop showing up... You start to miss that type of interaction.

4) Feelings?
by Sebastopol

Are you scared about going to prison? Do they prepare you in any way before you enter the facility, or do they just throw you in and that's it?

Just typing these questions make me uncomfortable.

Chris:
I am very scared to go to prison. I have never been in any sort of jail in my life. They prepare you in the sense that they tell you where and when to go, what you can bring, and what type of facility it is. The rest is done through books and my lawyer, who has been really great through this whole ordeal. I am fortunate enough to be assigned to a minimum security facility close to my home.

5) If it wasn't about the money, what was it about?
by wackybrit

You were a sysadmin at MIT, so were probably pulling in a pretty good wage.. at least, probably better than 50% of the Slashdot readership anyway.

So if it wasn't about the money, what was it about? Prestige is one option, but people in these groups need to keep hidden, so that doesn't fit. Was it for the ideals? If so, what ideals are there in ripping off software?

I can understand why people who can't afford software rip it off.. they have stuff to do, and can't afford $500 for Photoshop or whatever.. but tell me why someone with a decent salary will work in secret to beat the software companies.. what is the motivation?

Chris:
My motivation had absolutely nothing to do with the software, the prestige, the civil disobedience, or the mysteriousness of it all. My motivation was purely and simply putting technology to work. I have always been a curious cat, like most of you that read Slashdot. I was basically the Sysadmin of DrinkOrDie. I love to make computers work together, build up networks, install services, lockdown boxes... you guys know the drill. I got very carried away with what I was doing and forgot to confide in my moral self. I knew I was doing wrong, and yes... to clear anything up... it is absolutely wrong to steal software from a company. Whether it is ones or zeros or bags of money, it is stealing. If for no other reason, it is wrong because of the license agreement. If you don't agree with the license, don't use the software.

6) questions from a fellow cracker
by Anonymous Coward

I am a cracker from a fairly well known group, living in the US. We take normal precautions (encrypted email/irc), but there are clear vulnerabilities that cant easily be eliminated (topsite accounts and the possibility of trojaned supplied software, etc.). The dod bust stunned all of us with the lengths of the sentences, which seem out of proproportion to the crime. I find myself asking more and more whether the risk is worth the fun. We are all in it for the commaraderie and the friends (and the access to files); of course none of us are making any money from it. My question is, if you had it to do over again, would you stay out of a group, and of the scene? Were there risks you took that you sholdn't have? What were they? Any advice to someone still in the scene who wants to stay but worries about being caught?

Chris:
If I had to do it over again, I would absolutely not get involved with the scene. The scene is technically organized crime... that is it. Mobsters have friends too, but would you want to go to prison for what you and your fellow comrades are doing on the net? Isn't it better to pay for the occasional piece of software you might want than to pay with 33 months in federal prison? I think so... And you say here:

"I find myself asking more and more whether the risk is worth the fun."

That is the wrong way to think about it. You are asking yourself if it is worth something to commit a crime. What you should be asking yourself is, if what you are doing is fundamentally wrong. If it is (and I would say that it is) then stop doing it.

To answer the rest of your question... The only pertinent risk was getting involved with the scene in the first place. You will get caught sooner or later if you continue doing what you are doing. My advice to you is to get out while you still can. Any precautions you take are easily circumvented. For example, email encrypted via PGP is only as strong as the people who get the email. If the government busts 20 people in your group, the odds of one of the people giving up their passphrase is pretty good. from that point, all the mail is readable. Encrypted IRC is not going to do it either. What if one of the people you are chatting with is an informant? Encryption becomes meaningless.

My advice: get out of the scene.

7) Plans for your stay?
by zbuffered

One of the things about jail is that you have nothing but free time. So what do you plan to do? Study for a new career? Work out constantly? Plan your escape? Learn to speak Sanskrit?

When you get out, you will have had 33 months of basically no real responsibilities. If you find a nice, cushy prison, you can get some real work done. Are you going to use this time to make your life when you get out of jail better?

Also, when you get out, what do you plan to do? Something in the computer field, or do you plan to change your path when you get out? If I were in your place, I think I'd just get fed up with computers and become a florist or something.

Chris:
During the time I am in prison, I will educate myself. I will hopefully be able to take some classes towards a degree. Since I love working with systems, I will hopefully be able to school myself in the art of business and compliment my technical skills. My passion lies with IT, I would love to take the education I get from prison (formal or not) and use it to better my career and make me a better person.

8) Rise of P2P?
by Rayonic

How do you feel about the rise of P2P and its affects on the Warez community? Do you think it makes it safer (safety in numbers?) or do you think that it'll bring down the fist of the law even harder?

Which P2P networks did you prefer, if any?

Chris:
In the context of the warez scene, P2P networks don't play any part. They are essentially mutually exclusive members. I think that people in the warez scene used P2P networks just as frequently and for the same purposes as the majority of P2P users. P2P and the warez scene do, however, relate in one fashion. Both networks utilize the internet as a means to illegally distribute copyrighted works. This will affect both entities in that the more illegal activity that goes on in general, the more law enforcement will be trying to put an end to it. This puts more heat on both services. Technology crimes are also a hot topic as of late. So popular that there are many organizations, like the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) at www.siia.net and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department of Justice at www.cybercrime.gov, whose sole purpose is to stop them from happening. Software companies really do lose money from piracy, why else would they support these types of organizations?

Oh. and I preferred ftp.

9) What is your opinion of free software?
by Billly Gates

If you plan not to pirate software again would you chose to pay for commercial apps or would you use free software?

Has your opinion changed about free software vs commercial software because of your unfortunate experience?

Do you think strong armed tactics by the BSA and upcoming drm will actually help spread free software?

Chris:
I generally try to run linux on the desktop where ever possible. That being said, I love free software, I used it when I was pirating and I use it now. I am composing this in OpenOffice btw. :)

I think both free and commercial software have their place in the industry. I also think that DRM and the BSA won't really have any effect on free software. People and businesses who pay for software don't have to worry about these features because what they are doing is legitimate. In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it. They would clear their name and be finally exonerated. With respect to DRM, I think this technology is mainly targeted at media right now. That being said, I don't think it will help spread free software. except for maybe free Ogg codecs and players. and a lot more Ogg-files.

10) Prove me wrong.
by _xeno_

I want you to explain if you disagree with the following and if so, why.

My understanding of this is that you were involved with the illegal distribution of copyrighted works, depriving the potential owners of money for the works (possibly - the reality may be "probably not," but...). You then received 33 months of jail time (or just under 3 years) which seems to me to be rather fair.

Based on the Operation Buccaneer information, you received counts of felony (criminal copyright infringement, probably), and conspiracy (to commit criminal copyright infringement, probably). (Both probablies are guesses based on the document.) This seems to be in line with what one would expect for charges against a ring of people whose sole goal is to steal massive quantities of software and redistribute them to as many people as want them at no charge. (The fact that there was no charge probably reduces the sentence to a degree, but the fact that it required specialized skills and involved a large collective of people acting together to commit criminal copyright infringement probably both outweigh that.)

So... why should I feel sorry for you? You got what you deserved. You stole from people and gave copies to as many people as you could. Based on the MIT press release, you illegal utilized systems you were supposed to be administrating for the purposes of illegally distributing software. As far as I can see, you got exactly what you deserved.

So - prove me wrong. Demonstrate that my understanding is flawed or that I am misunderstanding the crime. Demonstrate that it should not be a crime. Or - accept my view. Explain if you feel sorry for your actions and believe that you did indeed commit the crimes. Or come up with another response that does not fall directly between agree and disagree.

Chris:
Is this flamebait for the interviewee or what? :) I won't bite. Your question seems to start halfway through your rant, so I will start there.

You shouldn't feel sorry for me. I committed crimes that I shouldn't have committed. I stole from innocent companies and now I am feeling the repercussions. I am not asking for pity nor am I looking to be put up on a pedestal for what I have done. I am simply here to tell people what happened and that it can happen to anyone who takes part in this type of thing.

Addendum:

My nickname wasn't mentioned when the call for questions was posted, I guess I forgot to tell Robin. I was known as bigrar, BiGrAr on irc. If anyone wants to ask any questions besides the ones I have answered, you can send me email at nospam@rarcom.com. Actually you can take a look at my website as well, at www.rarcom.com (my hosting company is going to kill me). I am setting up a service there called the "Free Software Mirror Project". Through this site, I hope to start a huge mirror system for free software. When these questions are posted to slashdot, I am going to make the URL all text, so as to not completely slashdot my hosters. The mirror system is unique because it will work the same way the warez scene works. with couriers, suppliers, etc. Drop me a line if you possibly want to help me out with this.

Thanks,

- Chris

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Former DrinkOrDie Member Chris Tresco Answers

Comments Filter:
  • by Entrope (68843) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:13PM (#4387912) Homepage
    In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it.

    That totally ignores the disruption, effort, and other impact that such an "audit" (sometimes just a jackbooted search without any warrant) has on the company. When you come down to all the commercially licensed software that is used at the "average" company, it becomes an enormous hassle for the IT staff to:

    1. Figure out who is using what
    2. Produce the proofs of purchase or whatever else is necessary
    3. Convince the auditors that there is no additional commercial software being used
    The payware mafia are proud of saying that most audits are based on tipoffs from disgrunted ex-employees -- which scares most companies because, no matter how hard they try, they will have some disgruntled ex-employees. It doesn't have to be a tip based on fact, it just has to be believable enough to warrant an audit.
  • Re:Show of remorse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PunchMonkey (261983) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:16PM (#4387939) Homepage
    Required so that he doesn't get a stiffer sentence. I don't buy it--I don't believe you really think warez is theft, but I understand why you're parroting the party line.

    Or (are you ready for this?) Maybe... just maybe.... he really does think illegally distributing software is theft (and wrong).

    OMG, is it possible for the "sysadmin" of a warez group to have morals and values? I think it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:17PM (#4387945)
    as someone who spent 18 months in minimum-security, I assure that the above comment is not flamebait.
  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:19PM (#4387958) Homepage

    I was wondering if his party-line on "piracy", "stealing", "innocent companies" stuff was honest or not. Then I saw this:

    People and businesses who pay for software don't have to worry about [DRM, etc] because what they are doing is legitimate. In my mind, I would think that companies who are completely compliant who are targeted by the BSA would be happy about it. They would clear their name and be finally exonerated.

    Yes, I'm just SO looking forward to that random BSA audit, triggered by a disgruntled employee. Since we haven't done anything wrong, the time and money to inventory 100 identical copies of Windows and Word, along with the all-slightly-different 6-page license agreements, is really well-spent, and I look forward to "clearing" my company's name. Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to prove our innocence at least once a year!

    I think his lawyer wrote the whole thing. (Not that I'd blame him, really.)

  • Silenced opinions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by srussell (39342) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:21PM (#4387975) Homepage Journal
    (Note: Chris does not advise you to follow in his footsteps.)

    I don't believe that "warez" is an important enough issue to break the law over, I probably wouldn't morally approve of the activity if I thought about it enough, and I'm probably not clever enough (anymore) to crack software anyway.

    However, one must wonder whether Chris' discouraging of people to follow in his footsteps is motivated by his inner feelings, or by the terms of his sentence / plea bargain / desire for early parole. The last, I can understand, for obvious reasons; the first two have always seemed just shy of legalized censorship.

  • The P2P Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rayonic (462789) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:22PM (#4387979) Homepage Journal
    That was a pretty good response to the question I asked, but I wish had emphasized the security aspect.

    Mainly, I think there is an interesting legal difference between "leechers" on IRC/Usenet/etc. and "leechers" on P2P, in that the P2P users technically become distributors themselves. Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?
  • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio@ya h o o . c om> on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:24PM (#4388005) Homepage Journal
    He has an obvious conflict of interest, namely that he will want to appear sincerely repentant when it comes time for parole hearings and what not. I think it's safe to assume that he doesn't really feel that way, and the only reason he's saying it is because he's being caged like a laboratory animal for sharing information.

  • The saddest thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cryogenes (324121) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:25PM (#4388011)
    The saddest thing in my mind is that Chris apparently feels that he deserves his punishment.

    He did not act from a desire of profit, or even of fame. He did not do anything with an intent to hurt someone. His entire warez career was based on the desire to be with his friends and help them out. In a sense he lived the life that the Gnu Manifesto envisages as the ideal state of affairs: a life in which everybody may modify and copy software for all of their friends.

    Do you believe in death after life?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:27PM (#4388036)
    Heh. I put in 8 months in minimum. I didn't get punked but it almost happened three times in the first two weeks. BiGrAr, if you're reading this: LEARN TO USE YOUR FISTS. Fight like a berserker. You need to establish yourself as Not A Punk early, or else (quite literally) it's your ass.
  • Whatever you think.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h0tblack (575548) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:31PM (#4388079)
    ...about what he did, it's interesting to see that he's planning on using his skills to help distribution of free software with the "Free Software Mirror Project". The warez scene has undoubtedly got a huge skills base at it's core for organising large scale distribution structures like this. We're already starting to see individuals skills and general methodology (such as the evolution of p2p) being used for legitimate distribution of software. Hopefully this will be something that grows (I cannot see that it won't).
    The recent example of hammering of websites and servers for the release of Mandrake 9, RedHat 8 and UT2003 show that these methods are needed (along with a myriad of other occasions). Methods for mirroring sites linked to by /. have also been mentioned in the past. However the techniques are developed and whomever develops them, the knowledge of how to get a stable and working environment where increased demand gives increased availability rather than the inverse has got to be worth exploiting.
  • Re:Bad Timing! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peyna (14792) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:35PM (#4388096) Homepage
    Most people convicted of crimes eventually come to the realization that they were indeed wrong. Those that don't usually are the ones that end up back in jail over and over again.
  • by matt_morgan (220418) <matt@@@cncrt...net> on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:42PM (#4388151) Homepage
    While I agree that I would never want to waste any time on an audit by the BSA, there are ways to handle this more easily. Point by point to your 1-2-3:

    1) I have inventory. Yes, it costs me money and time. But I know what software is on what computer. My users do not have access to install software on their work computers. As IT manager, I am fully responsible for the software installed on their machines. I do this not only to prevent piracy, but because it makes support tons easier. Any software that's on their computers is software that someone in my department can support.
    2) I keep track of licensing. This is not so hard. It's annoying that some licenses come on paper, some come in email, or whatever. Most payware companies also keep track of licensing for you, now. But I keep track of licensing not because I'm afraid of being audited, but so that upgrades are easier and cheaper.
    3) Again, users have no ability to install software outside what is provided. I believe, although I may be wrong, this would go a long way toward getting me an innocent-til-proven-guilty approach, if not from the BSA, but definitely if it went any further.

    There's no question that the BSA's methods are unacceptable in any enlightened sense. But I do things for other reasons that would help in the case of an audit. It's a lot of work to keep track of this stuff, but it's easier than having to figure it out every time you want to license an upgrade. Or doing a survey to see who needs that upgrade and who already has it. And it's hard to keep users from getting installation rights, but it's better than having them break their own computers, or ask my staff questions about stuff we can't support.

    Even if I used all freeware, I would still want to keep control of all this stuff.
  • Re:Silenced opinions (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:43PM (#4388162)
    How about running a followup interview of the leaders of DEVIANCE/WIZISO/FLT etc. They would use hushmail or something and we could get a before and after view of the leaders in piracy.
  • by meis31337 (574142) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:43PM (#4388163)
    I see your point about it seeming to be another illegal system. I do, however, object that it is unnecessary.... How long did it take people to find a viable mirror of RH8 on Monday?? All day?? This release could have been available, w/o load, in 10 mins in countless places if there were an effective mirror system in place.
  • Re:Thanks, Chris! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:55PM (#4388245)
    Morals are by definition flexible and personal. My morals did not and for the most part do not consider trading or stealing software to be too high on the "wrongness" scale. I am an IT professional who has the money to buy software, and I do so, but I did not always have the money. As far as ethics goes I guess it is a matter of degrees, all out piracy, wrong; installing a copy of win2k pro from a cdrom and using a pirated key because the standard install process does not work and you know that despite what the exact details of the contract state that MS has been compensated for that software install, not wrong. Judicially is just a culmination of what the majority, or at least the majority of those elected think is morally abhorant enough to deserve punishment. And with the combined judicial code of the federal government and all 50 states running to many millions of pages I guess there is a lot of stuff that is wrong judicially, whether my moral compass agrees with much of it is for me to decide.
  • by Gerry Gleason (609985) <<gerry> <at> <geraldgleason.com>> on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:01PM (#4388318)
    Do you really think he is so dumb that he would publicly announce this and not be carful about staying on the right side of the law? Don't you think "the authorities" will keep an eye on him?

    The truth is that when a new distribution comes out, the bandwidth is quickly overwhelmed by everyone wanting to get the latest thing. What's wrong with trying to do this more effectively and efficiently?

    The site doesn't say much about how this would work, but I guess if I actually knew anything about the technical aspects of how the illegal networks that he was busted for supporting function, it might be obvious. Doesn't seem like it would be too complex. You just have to have a couple of levels with good fan-out, and some way to find a mirror with capacity and spread the load so no site gets hammered.

  • by lostPackets (598793) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:02PM (#4388322)
    Does anyone know Chris's background. I'm 23 and I knew a Chris Tresco in my highschool days. Wondering where he grew up, went to school, etc.... - Thanks
  • Re:Show of remorse (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:20PM (#4388483)
    It's not just a nitpick.. it's a valid point. When you "steal" or commit "theft", you take something from the owner. That means they don't have it anymore. That means they can't use it. When you steal my car, I can't get home. When I "steal" Adobe's copy of Photoshop, it doesn't stop them from using it, it doesn't stop anyone else from using it, it doesn't stop Adobe from selling it, it doesn't stop legitimate users from buying it.

    The reason this is made to be such a big deal is simple. As long as corporations can talk lawmakers and judges into thinking warez/mp3s etc. constitute a "theft", we will continue to see penalties for people who participate in these activities to far outweigh the damage they have done. This man's life is already destroyed and he hasn't even gone to prison yet. That should be more than enough punishment for a crime of such little magnitude.
  • Why is this a CRIME? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by waspleg (316038) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:24PM (#4388525) Journal
    And not a Civil action? He didn't hurt anyone, He didn't threaten anyone with a gun and rob a liqour store. He didn't make any money or gain anything at all financially for having done this? Why isn't this a civil suit for money instead of a PRISON term for COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?? WTF?

    this is the clip from the cybercrime.gov website: "As of July, 2002, 16 defendants have been convicted in the U.S. of felony criminal copyright offenses, including conspiracy to commit those offenses, and nine defendants have been sentenced to federal prison terms ranging in length from 30 to 46 months"

    and i say again FELONY copyright offenses?? WTF?!?!?

  • Re:Sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EZmagz (538905) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:31PM (#4388593) Homepage
    Amen, brother.

    Honestly, people will flame you to all hell for saying that, being that the /. crowd developed a strong sense of ethics and morals over the last few years. But how many of them have a cracked version of Photoshop on their P9 1THz w/3000 gigs of ram? Or how many of them have a divx they "borrowed" off of giFT of a movie they never owned?

    I liken the DOD bust to smoking weed: it's illegal, but there's much worse things in the world than marijuana. The amount of warez I use is analogous to smoking a joint...I don't do it often, and the chances of me getting caught are pretty slim-to-none because of my low-profile.

    The DOD bust was analgous to moving MASSIVE amounts of drugs across America in a fleet of Semi trucks. Much higher profile, people tend to notice, and if you're driving that truck then God Bless.

    Basically, if you play the game, be discrete. And if you get caught, there's nobody else to blame.

  • by gid (5195) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:38PM (#4388645) Homepage
    Either that, or he wants to maintain a sqeaky clean image and doesn't want to reveal his true feelings so he can't get a lesser prison sentence, or be up for parol earlier, whatever. :) I know that's what I'd do if I were in his shoes.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jobe_br (27348) <bdruth.gmail@com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:39PM (#4388654)
    Wow. I read through this and couldn't entirely determine if this was an intelligent post or not. Seems to be sitting on the fence to me.

    But, that's not the point of THIS post. If you feel so incredibly strongly about what you've said, that copyright is simply a construct of the government, that it should be ruled unconstitutional, etc. - then you shouldn't mind never seeing a sweet dollar bill again in your life.

    Our system of capitalism only works because of copyright. Who would write books with no compensation for it? Who would write software with no compensation for it (and don't say open source software developers - they're either in college to get real jobs that pay money or they're working at real jobs that pay money - those real jobs, either way, are generating money through copyright, by and large)? Who would create music with no compensation? Gonna make the musicians live off what they can make through live performances? How long do you propose that musicians have to do live performances before they can retire? How much should those live performances cost? Who's going to pay for Susan S. & Tim Robbins to make their next movie(s)? Without any liklihood of profiting from their work ...

    Marketing, advertising - bring awareness to the general public of goods they might possibly be interested in - without those goods being protected by copyright, who's going to pay for that? No advertising - fine, so who's going to pay for prime time television? Who pays the actors in Farscape who can't rely on royalties from syndication or advertising revenue during their airings? If nobody's paying for music, movies, and television - what about the industries that rely on them? Canon, Kodak, Sonic Foundry, Apple, Intel, etc. Why would Pixar buy millions of dollars worth of SGI equipment or other rendering equipment if the release of Monsters Inc. wouldn't generate any money for them?

    You call for us to present FACTS - I call for you to see the big picture. This isn't only about letting YOU copy Britney Spears' most recent album and put it up on file servers for others to grab or being able to download the most recent Xbox hit (has there been one yet?) from said file servers and play it. Copyright is inextricably intertwined in our society and our way of life. Our founding fathers correctly realized this. That without the existence of copyright, the incentive to create and to innovate disappears.

    Now, much of what goes on with copyright and patents and trademarks, etc. - is wrong. Flat out wrong. No argument there. But - and this is a BIG but - fundamentally, capitalism depends on copyright. Now, if you'd like to discuss the pros and cons of capitalism, go right ahead. I'll say just one thing: nothing better has been developed that appropriately fits the human society at its current level of development. Now, prove ME wrong.

    Cheers.
  • by unicron (20286) <unicron@ t h c n e t . net> on Friday October 04, 2002 @03:04PM (#4388879) Homepage
    It's funny thought that a scene he had such pride and interest in could disgust him so quickly though. Don't confuse "I'm sorry because I got caught" with "I'm sorry because it was wrong"
  • by t (8386) on Friday October 04, 2002 @03:38PM (#4389189) Homepage
    If you were using all linux and free software then you could tell the BSA people to flat out fuck off. If they aren't FBI with warrants the have no authority to do anything. They'll try to scare you by saying, oh yeah, we'll come back and demand maximum penalty for every infraction! We're trying to help you out by doing an audit! The answer once again is "fuck off". It is really that simple.

    In the offchance that they manage to get a warrant (have they ever?), they would find nothing. And I'm sure you could sue them for something, or ridicule them and the FBI in the newspapers. Thereby ensuring the FBI would require more proof next time around.

  • That depends. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by emil (695) on Friday October 04, 2002 @03:56PM (#4389364) Homepage

    If I could believe that I was guilty, then perhaps.

    If I believed that I was wrongly convicted, that I was the victim of a DMCA witch hunt or other unreasonable persecution of dubuious constitutional footing, then no, it would be time to leave, and never look back, save to pull all the assets I could out of the system.

    There really should be a FAQ somewhere for people who need to leave in a hurry. I'm surprised that it isn't done more often.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @04:02PM (#4389415)
    "When you distribute a stolen copy of a piece of software and by so doing, reduce the numbers of copies that will be sold, you make it harder for a company to survive."

    Ignorance is bliss, isn't it ?

    A 14=yr old downloading Photoshop does NOT deprive the company of any sale. That kid would never have bought Photoshop in the first place.

    "Would we argue the nature of this if someone had broken in an electronics warehouse or a bookstore or a Costco and taken an equivalent dollar amount of goods and given them out to their friends?"

    No, because it IS different !

    Here's how :

    If a company makes 1000 gadgets and puts in a warehouse/wherever and you steal 1, they only have 999 to sell. But, when you're talking about software which you download off the net, the original party("distributor") still HAS his/her copy to play/work around with. You haven't deprived him/her of it. They can still sell it or whatever.

    Understand the difference between copyright infringement and stealing. They have 2 different terms for a reason.
  • by z-kungfu (255628) on Friday October 04, 2002 @04:19PM (#4389535)
    Sorry to dis anyone,but there is no parole in a federal conviction, there is a chance for 55 good days a year,or your looking at doing 85% of your sentance regardless. Bummer dude! looks like he'll be doing 28 months even if he's a good boy.
  • Talk about conceited (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @04:40PM (#4389716)
    This guy is facing 3 years in prison for copying software, and you fuckers have the gall to complain that his responses are "insincere"?

    I have a pretty good feeling you'd also be pretty insincere if your ass was facing 3 years behind bars. I bet you'd kiss as much ass as you could, just like he is. Hypocrites, all of you.
  • by Gendou (234091) on Friday October 04, 2002 @05:40PM (#4390214) Homepage
    Sure, you can have all of those things. But you won't have any entertainment in your magical no copyright society.

    Conjecture. False conjecture, as well.

    Prove this.

    Who'd want a radio that didn't play music?

    And of course, music never existed before 1700 or so, right?

    But news would be spread by word of mouth.

    Are you high?

    Because once you've eliminated mass media, you've eliminated advertising.

    Oh dear God NO, anything but that! Without advertising to tell us what to believe, how will we LIVE?!

    Who needs roller coasters when taking a trip to the store could provide just as much fun with your car belching fire out of it and maybe the wheel falling off because car companies don't need to try as hard if they don't have global media coverage to worry about.

    Seriously, are you high?

    Unless your idea of a good time is paying $8.00 to stare at a block of steel for 2 hours.

    What about theater? The plays will all be available in the public domain, but since you can't copy people (cloning notwithstanding), the performances themselves will still be scarce, and thus valuable.

    And television shows, too. Not everyone can be an actor. People will still pay money to see the good actors, because there are a limited number of good actors in the world.

    But I'll give the book a try. It could be interesting

    Thank you.
  • by Josuah (26407) on Friday October 04, 2002 @06:20PM (#4390503) Homepage
    "What's right" is for the ethicists. Cost benefit analysis for the rest of us.

    Um, excuse me? "What's right" is for every single human being to ponder and base their life decisions upon.

    Sounds to me that you've decided that what's right for you is to ensure you have the greatest benefit for least cost, regardless of anyone else. You're basing your cost benefit analysis on what you think is right. Namely that you come first. Someone who thinks the government shouldn't tax, perhaps, or that you shouldn't have to pay social security for the 65+ population. That it's okay to steal the pie of the window sill if you won't get caught.

    Either that, or you are taking the view that everyone's moral beliefs and ethical decisions are equally correct. In which case it's okay for the Christian anti-abortionists to kill abortion doctors, because their moral belief and ethics dictate that it is so. And it's okay to gas and burn all the Jews because the belief of a "superior race" means you are free to treat "inferior races" as you would a plague of locusts.

    While I will agree that such views are valid, I will not agree that they are correct. I will live by my moral beliefs and I will make moral judgements of other people. This does not mean thinking a culture is uncivilized because they eat their dead out of respect. It does mean thinking a person is wrong because they think murder for fun is okay. To me, what's right also involves the benefits of others. And my monetary cost benefit analysis will be based on that. Along with my decisions involving things like the environment, or politics, the situation between the US and Iraq, etc.
  • Different oppinion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peaker (72084) <gnupeaker@@@yahoo...com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @08:43PM (#4391236) Homepage
    While common oppinion here is that copyright infringement is negative to society, I would like to present a different oppinion.

    Firstly, I would like to point you to a well-written Slashdot comment about the current abuse of the original concept of Copyright [slashdot.org]. The points I would like to take from there are that Copyrights were intended to promote society, and the progress of Science and Useful Arts, but are now used for the sole means of creating profit for companies.

    You must note that Copyrights, the exclusive rights to copy some data, is a big limitation on everyone's freedom to copy whatever they want. I'm not saying this means its necessarily a bad thing - because I agree its a necessary evil. Limiting people's freedom is acceptable in many aspects of life, and here too. Unfortunatly, the limit on our freedom remained through the years, but the original purpose of copyright - since it was originally drafted - was lost.

    The original copyright concept was to give incentive to create, for the sole purpose of promoting science and useful arts. (Its true, its not meant to reward authors, its meant to promote science and useful arts - read about it in the constitution). This is why Copyright was created to last for limited times, which is not really limited anymore. This means that all copyrighted work is supposed to be out in the public domain within a reasonable amount of time - It is no longer this way. It also means that copyrights are only given to works that are published and distributed - for the inspiring of new works - for the progress of science and useful arts. Today's large copyright owners try to make people forget this purpose of copyright, and claim it is actually meant to protect them - That their creation is somehow their "Intellectual Property" and can be "Stolen". But the original framers of the constitution did not mean this, as Thomas Jefferson has said: There is no such thing as Intellectual Property [ffii.org].

    If we take the software industry specifically, we must not forget that until the Copyright reforms of the 1970's, Binary Data was not copyright'able. Why? Because its creation does little to Promote Science and Useful Arts. See, you cannot both eat the cake (Get a Copyright) and have it full (Not promote science and useful arts). A copyright is not a god-given right, its given to the creator in exchange for his sharing of the created information, for the progress of science and useful arts for us all.

    Since Copyright has devolved from a strong respected publishing incentive to an infamous tool for company profit, people have lost all moral obligation to it. There is no wonder people care not for the Copyrights of large corporations, as those copyrights place a limit on their freedom to "Help thy Neighbour", without contributing back to Science and Useful Arts.

    This is why I will not obey the current draconian Copyright Laws, while I will support the GPL. Hypocracy? No: Copyrights have violated their mandate to Promote Science and Useful Arts. The GPL hasn't: It has inspired huge amounts of Free Software writers and possibly caused some of the greatest software code to be written and be out there for everyone to learn from.

    Sorry this comment is a bit long, just my oppinion on the matter.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

Working...