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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

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Former DrinkOrDie Member Chris Tresco Answers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:09PM (#4387895)
    It seems that this is a young man who really has been brought face to face with his crimes, and -- recognizing that what he did was morally and legally wrong -- is ready to atone. (Of course, this interview will be part of the record when applying for mitigration of probationary status and, should he apply for it, pardon, so I didn't expect to see Kevin Mitnick-style answers anyway.)

    Kudos all around.
  • Convicted Software Pirate Supports Linux!

    In other news, Microsoft donated more free computers to needy children on Thursday.
  • by dr_dank (472072) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:13PM (#4387911) Homepage Journal
    Actually you can take a look at my website as well, at www.rarcom.com (my hosting company is going to kill me).

    you can order a "slashdotting" from prison.

    You, sir, are truely badass.
  • 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.
    • by Deagol (323173) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:22PM (#4387982) Homepage
      When he said "happy about it", the "it" in question was the DRM stuff. If all software were DRM-enabled, and a company was audited, you could basically just say "Hey, it's running, so it must be registered and legeit, so bugger off!"

      A world of DRM software might reduce revenue for the BSA. "Poor, poor BSA!"

    • Just recently taking a job in IT, I've been thinking about this heavily. What if the Brown Shirts kicked in my server room door and threatened me unless I could produce liscenses for all the software in there?
      Some of that crap dates back...What? FOUR IT managers ago? Two Office buildings ago.... At a couple of the workstations out in the workshop, they've got 386s and Win3.1...Just enough to let them run the purchasing database front-end...(and something that doesn't need a fan - which would be gummed up and on fire in days). Many companies go through this! WAUUUGH!

      I wish I had enough money to write my own laws and have my own army to enforce them.

      Who knows what survived the moves and the re-organizations, the buyouts ...etc. etc. etc.

      Maybe I'll be joining Chris here in a "Federal Pound-me-up-the-ASS Prison"...

    • 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.
      • Everything you say may be true, but it is really beside the point. Just because a company has bad practices, or in some cases has suffered from turnover (whether self inflicted or not), doesn't mean they should have to worry about the BSA auditing them. Unless they have a solid legal basis to claim a violation has taken place, the BSA doesn't have any right to make anyone prove they are in compliance. Lots of organizations just don't have the time or talent to do every administrative task (IT, or otherwise) completely right, but they manage to focus on their customers enough to stay in busingess.
    • This kid didn't write this stuff himself.

      I can seem him feeling that what he did is wrong and going a little over board toward the copy infringement is theft camp, but somebody had to put those words in his mouth. The BSA are closer to customs agents at the Mexican boarder than they are to any useful policing force.

      Lost your printed license documents? Oooh that's gonna COST ya!
  • 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.

    Hmm, it seems to me that you're making another warez site, and you are using the phrase "Free Software Mirror System" to cover it up. The other possibility is that you're trying to do warez with free software, which is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. So, before you do that, make sure you absolutely have boundaries set for yourself and know exactly what you're doing, because the feds might not see it as a free software repository but as a warez site. And what do you mean by "Free Software"? Is it software that you got for free and posted to the system, or is it truly GNU software. You have to be sure to make it clear to everyone that it is GNU software, and to make sure that the illegal software doesn't mysteriously appear. So, I would say, it's in your best interests to stay on the ethical side of things right now, and that seems kind of borderline.

    • 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.
  • Thanks, Chris! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mosch (204) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:16PM (#4387935) Homepage
    I must say, I'm extremely impressed by Chris's responses. I find the standard rationalizations pathetic and sad, it's refreshing to see somebody advocating honesty on slashdot.

    The standard rationalizations that I'm complaining about are, in no particular order:

    • I steal because it's too expensive.
    • I steal music because the RIAA is "evil".
    • I steal software because it helps the company I'm stealing from.
    • I steal because I don't believe in intellectual property.
    • I steal music because the CD only has one song I like on it.
    • I steal as a test drive.
    • I steal music and movies because they are just corporate shit, not art.
    • I steal because the artists don't get much profit from purchases.
    • I steal MS products, because MS is "evil".
    and so on and so forth.

    Thank you Chris, for taking the unpopular position that copyright infringement is wrong.

    • Amen. Nice to see a comprehensive list of all the bullshit reasons people put forth to justify their actions. Actions that are, have been and will continue to be simply wrong. Morally, ethically, judicially, whatever - they're wrong.
      • Re:Thanks, Chris! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afidel (530433)
        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 krog (25663) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:31PM (#4388070) Homepage
      sure, it's nice to hear him speak "honestly" about it all, but to me it sounds a lot like an AA member being "honest" about himself -- almost like he's reading off a sheet.

      I don't blame him. if it were *my* sweet virgin ass going into prison, you can bet I'd start racking up my Good Behavior and Remorse early too. but I don't think it's really coming from the heart...
    • by Rupert (28001) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:35PM (#4388097) Homepage Journal
      You'd probably be surprised at the number of people here who would agree with your statement that copyright infringement is wrong. It's unfortunate, then, that we get divided over how wrong it is. How much did Chris really cost the owners of the software he was illegally sharing? Almost certainly not as much as they claimed.

      I realize that Chris has to be careful with his public statements, but there's really no need for him to be praising the BSA. "Innocent men have nothing to fear from the law", it is said. Howeverm the BSA is not a law enforcement agency. It earns money by threatening an expensive audit - requiring you to prove your innocence.
    • Re:Thanks, Chris! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Triv (181010) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:07PM (#4388369) Journal
      I agree with you, wholeheartedly. But check this senario:

      I have tens of gigs of mp3's on an external harddrive and a cd-rw. A friend of mine browses my collection, sees a CD he wants and asks me to burn it. What do I do?

      The honest answer for me is "it depends on who the artist is and what album it is." If it's...let's say, Dave Matthews, I'll burn it without thinking twice. He doesn't need to be promoted and he doesn't need the record sales.

      If the album's out of print due to a record label's stupidity or is an unavailable indie print(like Elvis Costello's "The Juliet Letters" for the first example or Judy Aron) I'll burn it - they can't get it any other way.

      But. If the cd's from an artist that's out there, easily available but unknown, I'd tell him to suck it up and buy the damn thing. It's not about the pennies they'll get from the sale, it's for the sales stats.

      I don't know about you, but I think that's fair.

      Triv
    • Re:Thanks, Chris! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by antis0c (133550) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:07PM (#4388373)
      I completely agree, there isn't an excuse for stealing.

      However, what I don't quite agree with is how software companies and the government compare stealing computer programs with stealing physical products. Stealing computer programs doesn't deprive the company of any actual cost. Stealing a physical product does, that physical product consists of materials which cost that company money. It doesn't cost the company to make more 0's and 1's.

      So does that make it OK to steal programs? Of course not. But copyright infringement shouldn't be compared to stealing physical products. 33 months doesn't sound too bad, but it's the fact he now has a criminal record that is bad. People are going to equate the fact he was in prison for 33 months to those of people who rape, armed robery, drugs, money laundering, and other crimes that deprive others of basic rights. His crime didn't deprive anyone of any rights, because of those people that used the programs he copied, I'm willing to bet no more than 1% of them would have actually purchased the software.

      I'm not going to lie to you either, I've "warez" in the past. Thanks in part however to Linux, GNU, and the entire Open Source movement I don't use many commercial applications anymore. And of those I do use, I've actually purchased. Why? Because I actually use these applications. I need them to be legitimate. Applications I've "warezed" in the past, I only ever ended up using for a handful of days only to end up not running it for years and eventually removing it. You could say that falls into one of your excuses, but I'm serious. This is especially true to companies. Most companies purchase software. Plain and simple, it's easier to purchased software than pirate it and worry about not having up to date copies, and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

      Then we get into the BSA. "But the BSA says a large percentage of companies are using illegal copies of applications!" Yes and no. Most of those companies probably aren't intentionally using illegal copies. Most likely the company has so many applications, employees, computers that keeping good track of all the licenses, and what employees to do with their computers is very difficult. Those companies that can afford it purchase site licenses. Others end up purchasing more licenses than they have computers just to be "on the safe side."

      This practice is what I think is at the heart of whats wrong with software, licensing, warez, and all that. I remember when I worked at my previous employer. They had about 200 employees, about 300 computers (including servers), and one IT Manager and one IT Tech. I was in charge of the servers, and since they all ran Linux, FreeBSD or OpenBSD licensing wasn't an issue. However all those workstations were. Managing the employees was difficult. We used all kinds of applications, Office, XMetal, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. One day a manager would ask one of his employees to fix something in XMetal or Photoshop. If they didn't have it, they'd ask their buddy across the cube for a copy. They'd usually give them a copy of one of the applications on a CDR they got originally from the IT Manager for backup purposes. The employees don't really think they're doing anything wrong, they install the software but don't have a reg key. They'd end up hitting up Google for one to get it working. The employee didn't really think what they are doing was wrong. They'd either assume we had a site license, or assume that since we had a CD that it could be installed on any computer. People that still new to computers don't grasp the concept that you're legally only allowed to install that application on one computer at a time. And who can blame them? There is no other kind of product like that. If I purchase a toaster, your damn right I'm entitled to take that toaster from kitchen to kitchen if I want to. Why can't I do the same with softare? Anyhow, before I digress further, the this practice at my previous company went on for years. Until one day the BSA started going around our area picking out companies to "audit." I remember that fateful day, the IT manager running around to everyones computers asking them what programs they had, running around gathering boxes of purchased software, licenses, etc. Eventually at the end of the week, she sat down, counted all the computers and ordered 2X the licenses for all the applications we used. So we had 600 Windows 98SE licenses, 600 Photoshop Licenses, 600 XMetal Licenses, 600 Illustrator Licenses, 600 Macromedia Flash Licenses. It was easier for her to order them then figure out how many we had, how many we needed and be certain it was correct. All it takes is the BSA to find one unlicensed application and the company gets a major fine.

      Right there. Thats what's wrong. Managing all that software, employees, computers, all that is a major task, and can't ever be done perfectly without imposing unrealistic restrictions on employee computer usage. That doesn't make them criminals. It makes them human. A person can see the moral flaw in stealing because it deprives someone of property or right to use property. If I copy a CD from Microsoft, Microsoft is never deprived if anything, especially if I would have never purchased that software in the first place.

      Now that I'm done my ranting, what does that mean? I don't know. I really don't know where we go from here. But something has to change. What Chris Tresco did was wrong, but it wasn't as wrong as rape, robery, stealing, money laundering, or anything of those. He never hurt anyone, but now he has the reputation of being a criminal for the rest of his life, and the average person isn't going to go "Oh he only stole software, he's not -really- bad."

      Good luck in prison Chris. To quote Office Space, "Kick someone's ass or become someone's bitch, and then you'll be alright."
    • by dimator (71399) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:41PM (#4388671) Homepage Journal
      You forgot one:

      • I steal because I feel like it.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:17PM (#4387941)
    1: Warez lots of software.
    2: ?
    3: Prison!
  • Bravery... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Q3vi1 (611292)
    I think it takes a fair amount of guts to be able to come out and tell people about an experience that basically changed one's life. I think, given time, he might have chosen to stop working with DrinkOrDie, but he ended up getting nabbed before his morality caught up with his uncertainty.
  • Crock of shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kableh (155146) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:18PM (#4387948) Homepage
    Software companies really do lose money from piracy, why else would they support these types of organizations?

    Prove it. You're telling me that if a high school kid who messes around with with Photoshop occasionally downloads a pirated copy off IRC, that Adobe loses 500 bucks?

    Don't get me wrong, piracy is basically theft. I make it a point to buy software that I find useful, especially in the case of shareware, because I have a moral obligation to myself to do so. But this is the same flaw in logic the music industry uses to brand us all theives and legislate against us for the "good of the artists".
    • Re:Crock of shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NeMon'ess (160583) <flinxmid AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:29PM (#4388572) Homepage Journal
      An AC said this already but I'll say it louder. Adobe doesn't lose $500, but JASC loses $90 on Paint Shop Pro the kid could have bought. If the kid pirates something by Norton, Panda which sells comparable software for less, looses a potential sale because the kid could have afforded theirs.
    • Re:Crock of shit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dubiousmike (558126) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:30PM (#4388583) Homepage Journal
      Having worked for a number of software companies, both in audio and video, piracy isn't really of the hugest concern, albeit when the pirate is a "home user" or enthusiast. The bottom line is that the more users you have, the more popular you are, the more revenue in the long run. Why?

      If I pirate Photoshop and am able to get my chops up, I can then utilize those skills in the marketplace. When I go for a job, it is HIGHLY unlikley that my workplace will provide or condone illegal copies of Photoshop. Rather, they will purchase copies, upgrades, plugins, ect.

      Software companies don't really care if indiviual users pirate software. They could try to sue individuals until the cows come home, and in the end, would only serve to piss off much of their paying customer base who WILL feel a sense of pity for those getting fined, inprisoned, ect.

      In the end, most folks who use priated versions of popular software end up using it professionally in an environment where the copy they are using is perfectly legal.

      Software piracy, in many cases, actually increases revenue in the long run.

    • Re:Crock of shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jhines0042 (184217) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:36PM (#4388638) Journal
      Lets take a comparative look at something somewhat similar, toll roads.

      Why do toll roads exists?

      Two reasons.

      1) to pay for the initial building of the road
      2) to pay for the continued maintenance of the road

      Which do you think is more expensive? You guessed right, the initial building of the road/bridge/tunnel, whatever.

      Rather than Tax Everyone in the State/Country etc... they only charge the people who use it.

      Now then, if you drive on the toll road and you don't pay are you stealing? Yes. What are you stealing? The money that you were supposed to pay for the use of the service. Why were you supposed to pay it? To cover the cost of building the road.

      Why should you buy software that you use? Because people spent time writing it and a company paid them to write it. That company raised capital to build the software (road) and if you use it without paying for it then you are gaining the benefit of the service without paying what the builder is asking for.

      Do toll roads make a profit? Sure. Welcome to captialism.
  • by therealmoose (558253) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:18PM (#4387950)
    Blockquote the poster:
    I am setting up a service there called the "Free Software Mirror Project"
    I'm no lawyer, but a convicted warez dude setting up a "FREE SOFTWARE Mirror Project has to attract some attention....
  • sanskrit (Score:2, Informative)

    by tps12 (105590)
    Is a written language. Nobody speaks it.
    • Re:sanskrit (Score:2, Informative)

      by The Cydonian (603441)
      [Sanskrit]...Is a written language. Nobody speaks it.

      Not quite. Most Advaitists [advaita-vedanta.org] (as opposed to certain fundamentalist Hindus [vhp.org]) start their day by reciting [angelfire.com] the Gayatri Mantra [eaglespace.com], which, you guessed it, is in Sanskrit. :-)

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Master Bait (115103) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:19PM (#4387954) Homepage Journal
    It is so sad that he's going to jail for duplicating data. I don't give a rat's ass about the position that it is 'stealing'. These people never sold their copies.

    The laws have really gone over the line. Copyright violations used to be civil matters, going into criminal if somebody sold copies for financial gain.

    It is a sad time when corporate entities have so many more rights than citizens.

    Good thing for open source software.

  • 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.)

  • by Bonker (243350) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:21PM (#4387972)
    That's just a little less than three years. Three years with little or no chance of hetero sex. If I had time that I got to spend outside of prison before going inside, you can sure as hell bet that I wouldn't be spending it reading slashdot.

    Chris, no clue as to your romantic situation, but put the keyboard down and find yourself a woman to fuck before its too late.
  • 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?
  • Here's what's unfair (Score:5, Informative)

    by pheared (446683) <kevin@pheare[ ]et ['d.n' in gap]> on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:22PM (#4387991) Homepage
    Both networks utilize the internet as a means to illegally distribute copyrighted works.

    It is NOT a prerequisite of a P2P network to exchange illegally copyrighted works. I can have a P2P network that exchanges legal copies of files. I cannot have a warez network that distributed legal copies of files, unless you redefine what we know warez to mean.
  • Well boy that was a fun disclaimer. So let me get this straight. He's going to prison, where he gets to use a computer? HUH? Anyone else sensing the irony here? The main tool of his convicted crime and he has one to use at his leisure? What's next firing ranges?

    Aside from that, warez is basically the underground of the net we know is there, but deny it's existance in the media. The underworld in the media's eyes are genuis hackers who mastermind complex systems and takeover websites. You rarely ever hear of the massive amount of child pornography, illegal software, or other things that make sleeping a little harder.

    These people should use their talents for a greater good.

  • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> 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 wwest4 (183559) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:32PM (#4388081)
      He did not act from a desire of profit, or even of fame. He did not do anything with an intent to hurt someone

      It is indeed sad, and I personally think the punishment may be a little harsh, but if we measured the seriousness of a crime based on intent, we'd be in trouble.

      "I didn't mean to crash while driving drunk"
      "I didn't mean to hit that little girl while I was randomly firing bullets into the woods"
      "I didn't mean to psychologically ruin that 12-year-old for life when I seduced him"

      A lot of laws are meant to punish people for not thinking about the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, since there is sometimes no way to ascertain intent, we legislate against lack of foresight. These are usually lesser crimes/penalties. 3 years seems long, still... hopefully he'll get out sooner.

      • I didn't mean to realize that copying software had little to no effect on anyone's bottom line.
      • Re:The saddest thing (Score:3, Informative)

        by afidel (530433)
        We DO measure crimes based on intent. What is the difference between 3rd degree homicide and 1st degree murder. Hint: It's intent. Your second example for instance would be negligent homicide not murder because the idiot did not intend to kill anyone let alone that specific girl.
    • 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.

      And therein lies the problem with the GNU manifesto. It's a fundamental economic impossibility (at the moment), because we all exist within capitalism which forces us to restrict our creations in order to get back capital from it.

      All software being free in both senses is just that - utopia. Maybe we can get there one day, but not in our lifetimes that's for sure. Until then, you either play by the rules that govern our society, or you don't, regardless of what your personal opinion of them is.

  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kafka93 (243640) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:29PM (#4388048)
    Everyone, Chris included, has the right to their own opinions. But, to me, this seems a hideous sell-out. One can only wonder whether there was some clause in the guy's plea bargain or whathaveyou that forces him to keep saying "piracy is bad", "stealing is wrong", without any mitigation.

    Quite aside from the arguments as to whether piracy *really* costs anyone all that much, and about whether the industry grossly inflates the figures of the costs of piracy (hint: they do) - the punishment is ridiculously out of proportions with the crime. There are people who torture animals or beat their wives getting smaller sentences.

    The fact is that most people dealing in warez aren't making any money from it. They're often not stealing things which they would otherwise buy. They're not causing anyone any physical pain. They're not taking money directly from anyone's wallet. And yet these people - often, young kids who spend most of their time just chatting with one another - are faced with the risk of *years* in prison. This is ridiculous. Irrespective of whether you think piracy is "wrong", I find it incredibly difficult to believe that anyone genuinely thinks that someone should be *sent to jail* for this kind of thing - least of all when, for example, people who drive drunk often aren't sent to jail. It is *wrong* that crimes that ostensibly affect big business carry a greater punishment than do many crimes against humanity. It is *wrong* that people should be locked up for several years for this kind of thing: who amongst us doesn't have the odd mp3 lying around, the odd tape copied from a friend, the odd copy of Office made on numerous computers?

    The fact that everyone's doing it doesn't mean that it's not 'wrong', of course. But can anyone really endorse having _two years_ of someone's life being taken from them for the sake of something which almost everyone is doing?

    This makes me sick.
  • Damn... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Deltan (217782) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:31PM (#4388076)
    I was expecting the raid to be somewhat cooler than that. Tell me, did you receive a cellular phone via FedEx before you got nailed? Or was the phone ringing on your desk per chance? You missed the way out if either of those things happened.
  • 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.
  • by misterhaan (613272) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:34PM (#4388094) Homepage Journal
    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.
    my cable modem connection dies daily! i can just see warez guys experiencing this and running to kill their circuit breakers and lock all the doors . . . never to go outside again!
  • by swm (171547) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:41PM (#4388140) Homepage

    it is absolutely wrong to steal software from a company. Whether it is ones or zeros or bags of money, it is stealing.

    If it's bags of money, it's called stealing.
    If it's ones and zeros, it's called copyright infringement.

    They are different things.
    That's why we have different words for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Them: Mr,Tresco, if you go on slashdot and tell them why software piracy is bad and that they should all be looking forward to DRM, then we will let you off with a low security prison near your home and a shorter sentence. If you tell the truth to them then you will get your original longer sentence.

    Chris: erm. okay it's a deal.
  • by thrillbert (146343) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:48PM (#4388195) Homepage
    I know I will date myself with the following comment. And in no way am I trying to flamebait anyone, these are just my opinions.

    Back in the day of Space Quest, Kings Quest, Police Quest, Sierra was a great software company. They had software that EVERYONE wanted, and everyone was willing to pay for; $29.95.

    Then, they came out with sequels for all of their software, improved graphics and story lines, and the user interface. The price remained at $29.95. And everyone still bought their software.

    A little later down the road, they made even greater advances on graphics, more changes to the user interface, and improvements to the story lines (and even came out with Leisure Suit Larry, runoff from Police Quest). But this time they claimed that "Due to piracy, we find ourselves forced to raise our prices to $79.95".

    Saddly for me, at that point, they priced themselves out of my price range (Radio Shack Salesperson making minimum wage + commision).

    The only thing I could do at that point, is either find two other friends to split the cost of the game, or, wait until someone would offer it to me.

    Yes, it was piracy.

    From where I stood at that point in time, the way I saw things was that Sierra was not trying to make $1 off of 1 million people, it was trying to make $100 off of 1000 people. Well, I didn't have that kind of money to help them grow.

    Sure, they're still in business, but it's been since that time that they've come out with anything worth buying. I no longer even have the floppies that I paid for, but I still have that sense of someone trying to get over on me.

    ---
    Net worth of this posting: $.02
    • Third Option (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Redline (933)
      The only thing I could do at that point, is either find two other friends to split the cost of the game, or, wait until someone would offer it to me.

      Yes, it was piracy.


      Hello? You have the third option of not stealing it, and going without. How can you make the case that you *need* an $80 computer game enough to steal/copyright-infringe it? It's not a loaf of bread for your three starving children, it's a damn game!
      The economy has hit me pretty hard, and I don't buy as many movies/CDs/games as I used to buy, but I refuse to let my financial shortfall turn me into a thief/copyright-infringer for over-priced consumer entertainment.
  • by EvlOvrLrd (559820) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:55PM (#4388248)
    Really liked the fact that he didn't bitch or whine about the whole thing. He knows that he did wrong and that eventually, he would/could get caught. Which happened.

    Not saying what he did was right or wrong, but as someone that likes to drive fast, I got caught recently. I firmly believe if you are willing to play the game and take the risks, then you have to be willing to accept the concequences. Not bitch and complain about the justice system and what is fair or not. Those are the rules that one is aware of when they play.

    Sorry to hear that he got caught and convicted, but happy to hear that it isn't as bad as what it could have been. And that he took it like a man.
  • by torqer (538711) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:56PM (#4388255)
    So Chris, you mean to tell me that the Login Messages / Messages of the Day when you log in to a warez FTP that state: "If you are member of any law enforcement agency please leave immediately" don't really work. Come on, I'm sure the FBI/DoD just terminate their connection as soon as they read that.

  • by Eloquence (144160) on Friday October 04, 2002 @01:56PM (#4388260) Homepage
    I'd like to point out that it is well possible to disbelieve in the construct of "intellectual property" and, at the same time, advocate the use and creation of open content, while still not morally condemning copyright infringement. The reality is, IP is a dangerous concept. Information is not physical property, it can be reproduced freely and openly without loss to the original owner. If we want to apply the concepts of traditional property to information, we need to build lots and lots of gateposts into all devices that store and transfer information, and there will still be holes. Yet, if implemented to their full extent, these gatesposts will allow the content distribution oligarchy to control what content is acceptable mainstream content (there will always be subcultures) and what isn't. They can decide who uses their DRM systems and who can't, and they can lock content producers into their contracts and technology. This is already happening, for example, in Germany, where the electronics industry (!) is calling for a law that requires content creators to use DRM if they want to get radio royalties for the content they produce. The sad state of DVD playback on Linux (use a free software player and you are a criminal according to US and soon international law) is another good example for this trend.

    In other words, the means it takes to stop copyright infringement will more and more cripple our freedom to consume, to produce, to distribute content as we choose. These same means will (and already are) used for other censorship -- once you have a way to regulate online content fairly effectively, you will want to use it first for regulating child porn, then for normal porn, then for trademark violations, then for libel, nazi propaganda, unlicensed use of cryptography, blasphemy (still a crime in many nations) .. in a world where everyone is a publisher, soon everyone will want to be a censor as well.

    Those who control the gateposts will always err on the site of caution. If someone from the content controllers claims that file X is copyright infringement, it will be blocked, and face it, most people cannot afford to fight this through the courts.

    Copyright violations do, of course, not hurt the industry to the ridiculous extents it claims them to do. This is true for movies, software, music, ebooks. With music the quality difference and the hassle you have to go through is perhaps smallest, yet there has not been a proven effect on CD sales. On the other hand, the music industry has been effectively convicted of price fixing, and their exploitative contracts are well documented. Nevermind the fact that the content they produce is screened for being mainstream compatible as well -- when was the last time to you heard a communist song on the radio? Having different voices, even extreme opinions, out in the open is a good thing, and the current system is very good at preventing that.

    Unlike Tresco, I advocate copyright infringement on a large and massive scale as a good way to discipline the content industry and to protect ourselves from unfair prosecution. Also, to be honest, I don't really care if they lose money -- this will only speed the transition to an open content world. There's nothing morally wrong with industries dying because they refuse to adapt to a changing environment. The position that millions of P2P users are all immoral criminals is so ridiculous that anyone who honestly believes it should have their head examined.

    The more people disobey the oxymoronic system of copyright, the more likely it is that we will sooner or later get reasonable changes. Nevertheless, I also advocate fairness. If a company produces a good product and doesn't cripple it with unfair restrictions, reward them. Support good business practices. I have bought many shareware applications for which cracks were readily available. I'm sure many Slashdot readers have done the same. I use open source software and support it when support is asked for. I try to discover other open content, which is hard, but often worth the attempt.

    And in the long term, I hope we can get this transition to open/free content, through ubiquitous donation and mediation systems that create a direct social bond between content producers and consumers and allow them to treat each other with mutual respect, while not having to rely on a primitive and unworkable concept such as IP. The gift economy is the way to go, baby -- just ask Kuro5hin ($35K in less than a week) or Blender ($100K in a few months).

    But please, spare me the "it's stealing" routine when talking about copyright infringement. You and I know that it's not. It's copyright infringement, and it's part of the transition process when laws don't match moral behavior. Copyright infringement is no less moral than drug "abuse", and the abolishment of copyright will soon be as important a reform as the legalization of drugs.

    Chris Tresco, even if he sees himself as reformed (like so many drug users) is nothing but the victim of unjust and obsolete law. There will always be the leering masses who justify unjust laws, the neighbours who clap their hands when a pothead is sent to jail. That doesn't change the facts.

  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Friday October 04, 2002 @02:06PM (#4388361)

    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.

    I wonder how fast his lawyer can type, or if his lawyer just dictates slashdot responses to his secretary.

    I'm married, have a paid-for car, a good job, and share a house with the bank. I've got responsibilities. At this point, I'm using 100% paid for (or free or Free) software. Please allow that fact to color my response.

    Everything in life is a cost-benefit analysis. Sure, the MBA people will tell you they came up with it, and they're the only people who truly understand how it works, and now I wonder if they're right. There's a risk in driving to work every day. Is it right? Well, it puts money in the grubby hands of a greedy corporation that cars about the environment to the extent required by the EPA. I could get killed. Therefore I shouldn't drive? Certainly are downsides to working, not to mention risks. Flying home for Christmas to visit the in-laws? Well, that involves the pollution of the airplane, more money in the hands of terrorist supporting oil barons, and again, that risk of death on my part.

    Everything in life is a trade-off. Just sticking with what's right isn't enough -- few things are inherantly right. Just sticking with what's legislated isn't right. Now, say I am interviewing students for a job that involves using windows on a daily basis. I'll choose the candidate who pirated windows to get practice over the candidate who did the "right thing" and has honestly never seen windows because he can't afford it. Explain to me what is right there? Those who are too poor to "do right" shouldn't take risks?

    Take a survey of college students. Some will certainly agree, but many won't. Don't bother asking attorneys, or people worried about their next parole board, but ask people with little money and a great concern for their futures.

    Now, back to Mr. Tresco's situation. Is it "right" to hijack Institute computers to violate copyrights? One could easily argue the "Robin Hood" perspective; less easily, one could attempt to learn how much software enters MIT illegally then compute a net flow.

    Let's assume that Mr. Tresco, or someone like him, is single, and has very few obligations. What's the risk??? Get caught, stripped of your job, sent to jail for almost 3 years. No freedom. Potentially unkind things happen there. If done well, someone could take advantage of the free room and board, earn a GED, BA or BS, and put together an outline on your experiences and sell the book/movie rights on how you're a better person. There are a lot of people out here for whom jail is not a punishment, but rather a new place to live with new opportunities. "What's right" is for the ethicists. Cost benefit analysis for the rest of us.

    Clean record, time with my wife, commute to work for me, please.

  • by Coppit (2441) on Friday October 04, 2002 @03:50PM (#4389298) Homepage
    I can see it now...

    Tresco typing: ... it is absolutely wrong to steal software from a company.

    <gag><gag>

    Tresco thinking: the crap I have to go through for early parole.

  • 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.
  • Different oppinion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peaker (72084) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `rekaepung'> 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.

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