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P2P Operators Plead Guilty 554

Posted by samzenpus
from the be-more-careful dept.
Bootsy Collins writes "In the first such criminal convictions in the U.S., two peer-to-peer hub operators have pled guilty to conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement. The two men were subjects of raids last August after Department of Justice investigators downloaded content valued at US$25,000 retail from their servers, the Movie Room and Acheron's Alley. They face sentences of up to five years in prison, and up to US$250,000 in fines, in addition to the possibility of being forced to pay restitution to copyright holders.
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P2P Operators Plead Guilty

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  • Conspiracy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lachlan76 (770870) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:02AM (#11418461)
    They did commit copyright infringement. How is that conspiracy?
    • It would have to be because of a plan for them to cooperate together, I would guess.
      • Re:Conspiracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lachlan76 (770870)
        So then why is the charge only for conspiracy, and not for the actual crime which has already been committed?
        • Re:Conspiracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by The Snowman (116231) *

          So then why is the charge only for conspiracy, and not for the actual crime which has already been committed?

          Maybe because they were sharing files out, which is conspiracy because they were helping other people break the law. This might not be conspiracy in the sense most of us think of, but sometimes the police can get someone on charges like this even though they cannot prove a more serious offense. For example, I know someone who had in his possession a large (car trunk full) amount of marijuana. Rath

    • AIUI they were running the hubs rather than actually sharing the files.
      • No, they said DOJ downloaded from them.
    • IANAL, but I'd guess that they were technically only providing the means of infringement. So they helped it along, but weren't the ones necessarily downloading the content. Then again, I'm sure they had their own collections of things they did download, but when's the last time enforcement was interested in punishing that?
      -N
    • Re:Conspiracy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by JohnnyKlunk (568221) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:07AM (#11418502)
      A conspiracy is a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act or a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act . You don't have to actually perform the act to be convicted. In many cases just planning to do something is against the law. Especially these days where having a map of a government building and a few pounds of fertaliser in the shed means you're conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. For which you'll definately do some hard time.
    • Re:Conspiracy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:25AM (#11418613)
      They did commit copyright infringement. How is that conspiracy?

      Its a plea. Want to understand the law, get a law degree or be a lawmaker. Although, neither really can understand the often contradictory aspects of the law, but those people are the only ones with the authority to do so.

      Also, from the FA, its worth mentioning:

      Both men pleaded guilty to acting for commercial advantage or private financial gain

      This is piracy or bootleging or whatever you want to call it. This is not typical p2p activity because there was commercial gain from it.
      • by phr1 (211689)
        It sounds like these guys were prosecuted under the No Electronic Theft act. That defines swapping files for other files as financial gain:

        SEC. 2. CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHTS.

        (a) Definition of Financial Gain.--Section 101 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the undesignated paragraph relating to the term ``display'', the following new paragraph:

        ``The term `financial gain' includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, inclu

    • They were hub operators of the Underground network (one of the major DC hub networks). I think the charge is for organizing illegal activity, not carrying it out. I didn't hear anything about major bust rounds, I think they just took out the hubs.

      Kjella
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:03AM (#11418468)
    Anyone have a torrent ? ;)
  • by pdxaaron (777522) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:03AM (#11418473)
    If you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't think that you can get away with breaking it because you don't believe in it.
    • by eggoeater (704775) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:06AM (#11418498) Journal
      Tell that to Rosa Parks.
      • Tell that to Rosa Parks.

        She's too busy downloading a copy of Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" off p2p...

      • Having racial equality, a basic human right, denied, and working to change that is very different from ripping off movie studios (I actually don't condone that) or, if you believe them, record labels (I do support music downloading, for the record, and it is legal in Canada, where I live).
      • by davmoo (63521) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @10:09AM (#11418954)
        As someone else has already said in a reply to you, basic human rights and the "right" to rip off corporations are two very different things. To compare the two is so rediculous I can't even come up with a better word than "rediculous".

        But I would also like to point out something else.

        If you check historical records, you will find that Martin Luther King and many others involved in civil rights protests spent many days in jail for their actions. They did what they had to do to effect change...but they also understood those actions came with a price. And many of them, not just MLK, and both black and white, paid a far greater price.

        Are you willing to go to jail or take a bullet just so you can download Britney?
        • Far more people are participating in civil disobedience to combat the corporate rape of the public domain than ever participated in civil disobedience against Jim Crow. The fact is, your viewpoint is a marginalized fringe viewpoint, and the consensus view of society is that the true criminals are the ones who act under color of law to deprive us of our God-given freedoms.
    • There is a limit to how far you should obey laws which are wrong (I think this is beyond dispute, without invoking whatever is Slashdot's equivalent of Godwin's law).

      At what point is disobedience justified? - I am tempted to argue that the suppression of the now-possible global multimedia library which p2p users are trying to provide is a step too far.
      Copyright has not always existed, and it may now have outlived its value to humanity as a whole.
    • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:16AM (#11418568)
      Unfortunately, most people don't have the money to fund lobbiests in Washington or fatten the pockets of legislators to sway toward consumer rights.

      If you don't like the law, tough-titties. Don't think that you can get away with changing it unless you have more money than those who support it.
      • "Don't think that you can get away with changing it unless you have more money than those who support it."

        Isn't there some pamphlet that starts with 'we the people' or something.

      • You are wrong. I have something more powerful than all the money a company can throw at lobbiests: an informed vote. Money works in politics because people can be bought with pretty adds on TV. If you become an informed voter to whom ads do not matter you scare all polititions because you have the power to vote them out, and they cannot influence you easily.

        In most elections the difference between the winner and looser is only a few thousand votes. IF you work at it next time around you can change tha

    • f you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't think that you can get away with breaking it because you don't believe in it.

      By god you are one smug asshole! Don't they teach Civil Disobedience in school these days? I take it you're not a citizen of the US?

      You just came out against the entire Civil Rights movement, Henry David Thereaux, and most of the Founding Fathers of the US of A.

      You think the suffragettes should not have gone to jail to get sufferage? ... the list is fukking endless - th

      • The problem is that copyright laws are just (at least as originally intended -- I don't think they should be continually extended, but that's another story). The guys being arrested weren't making some kind of protest against copyright; they just took something for nothing. It's somewhat disingenuous to compare copyright infringement to the civil rights movement and the US government to the dictators.
        • Uh huh. Rosa parks wasn't "protesting" - she just wanted to sit down. Same with Thereaux. Probably the same with the Boston Tea Party - you think those guys were sitting around the pub muttering about going to the Govoner to get the law changed? Hell no they weren't. They were mad as hell and went out and committed a crime.

          Besides, I was addresssing that dumbshits over general statement about laws and how the should be treated by the population. He is advocating that people be Sheep, and I can in n

          • Besides, I was addresssing that dumbshits over general statement about laws and how the should be treated by the population. He is advocating that people be Sheep, and I can in no way agree with that.

            I agree.

            I don't believe that was ever the intent of th framers of the Constitution, and that is the highest Law of the Land, whether you like it or not.

            What the framers of the Constitution intended has nothing to do with the rest of your post.

            Yeah well, it's kind of a no-brainer if you spend 15 to 20 minute

            • Damn. You're a bot, aren't you [ThousandStars]? I wondered why your constructs seemed a litle off kilter; I guess I should be embarassed. Regardless, you failed the Turing Test, this time....

          • Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the right to make laws regarding copyright. How is making such laws a violation of "every precept of the founding documents"?

            You're either a troll or an idiot.

      • Oh get over yourself. An act of civil disobedience invloves openly and blatantly breaking the law, so that the inevitable arrest is very public, in order to garner public sympathy for their cause.

        A couple of guys hiding behind the (assumed) anonymity of the Internet, breaking the law for their own personal gain doesn't quite pass the civil disobedience litmus test.
        • Oh get over yourself

          How's about you get over yer muther, dimbulb. Who the fuk do you think you are to say what is Civil Disobediance and what is not? One man's act of defiance, doncha know...

          A couple of guys hiding behind the (assumed) anonymity of the Internet

          Hah! That's good for a laugh. Get a clue, dumbass. That little tidbit never was true, and belief in it is a good 10 years out of date - unless you're, say, the RIAA or some equally techless bunch of losers, thugs, and criminals.

          What

      • I'll call total bullshit on this one. I can't belive that you would try to compaire the civil rights movement to copyright infrigment. Do you think these two clowns were really out to change things? I don't, I think they were doing it to get something for free. The fact that you would try to place these two people on the same level as Henry David Thoreau (Yeah you had his spelling wrong too) or the founding fathers or Martin Luther King Jr. or Alice Paul and Lucy Burns is a slap in the face of all of the la
      • If you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't think that you can get away with breaking it because you don't believe in it.

      People are, the EFF does, even the ACLU has gotten involved in cases. Both, and many more, have protested proposed legislation that would make things even worse than they are now. None of it's helped. Why? The MPAA and RIAA have apparently infinite amounts of money to spend on lobbyists and buying off congresscritters. The rest of us don't stand a snowball's chance in he

  • by jg_elliott (731553) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:04AM (#11418477)
    If there is so much demand for being able to download movies/tv episodes, then why the hell don't the distribution companies take advantage of it and let poeple downlaod things legally at a fair price?
    • If there is so much demand for being able to download movies/tv episodes, then why the hell don't the distribution companies take advantage of it and let poeple downlaod things legally at a fair price?
      Quick economics lesson : Demand is a function of price. There is a lot of demand, because the illegal copies are FREE.
      • Yeah but lots of stuff is free that has low demand, so that's not much of an argument.
        • But if it cost more, there would be less demand (unless it became a status symbol, where costing more could up the demand).

          When music cost more, there is less demand, when it cost less there is more, when it is free, there is even more. For different prices, different levels of demand. Very basic economics.

      • There's a hell of a lot more demand for something that is free than almost free. That is why micropayments never got anywhere. It doesn't really matter how much of a pittance the payment is, it'll drop demand like a stone.

        • I'd argue that micro-payments aren't very common at the moment because of the inconveniance of making them. Most Web users don't think anything of a few pennies at a time, but it's a nuisance when you have to start filling in forms to spend a few pennies.

          This will change.
      • by Maestro4k (707634) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @10:13AM (#11418988) Journal
        • Quick economics lesson : Demand is a function of price. There is a lot of demand, because the illegal copies are FREE.
        That's not necessarily true. If it was then iTunes store wouldn't sell a single track, but they do. People wouldn't come into stores looking for singles of songs they like, but they do.

        The demand is there for digital music downloads in the format people want, free of DRM crap and at a reasonable price. I suspect you could sell tons and tons of music at around 50 cents a track in Mp3 format. Hell the RIAA companies could still sell tons of CD singles but they've killed off that market trying to force people to buy full albums.

        Besides, books are available for free, you can check them out of the library and read them and not pay a cent. You do have to return them in time, but that's a small issue in exchange for free books. Why would anyone buy a book when they can read it for free? People do it every day though.

        Demand's not a function of price, price is a function of demand. If supply is low and demand is high, price rises. If supply is high and demand is low, price drops. That's the point the RIAA & MPAA are missing. With digital music/movies supply is infinite, so normal economics rules indicate that price should drop. Instead they want to charge as much as, or more, than it costs to buy a better quality physical copy. No wonder they're doing so poorly, they haven't got a clue how to handle the digital market, not technically or economically.

    • There are certain legal sites out there, but they all have that all-too-familiar achillies heel: The content owners want to use the step up in technology to ratchet a step up in price. They also only work on Windows XP machines. On the other hand, these days they have a heck of a lot more movies than when they launched.

      Cinema Now [cinemanow.com] - High cost but a lot of good stuff.
      Movieflix [movieflix.com] - Cheap and plentiful, but old and obscure.
      Movielink [movielink.com] - The original, but won't even let you in the site without I.E. Similar c
  • P2P? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Transdimentia (840912) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:05AM (#11418487)
    Maybe I missed it in TFA, but how was this p2p? The statment "The two sites offered a wide variety of computer software, computer games, music, and movies in digital format, including some software titles that legitimately sell for thousands of dollars, the DOJ says." seems to indicate non p2p pirating activity. Calling it a p2p hub seems to be FUD unless there was an explanation of the technology used.
  • In the other news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:05AM (#11418489)
    ...new BitTorrent sites are appearing at the same time others are closing. One of these sites is mininova [mininova.org], which is the follow-up of the well-known SuprNova.
    A full list of torrent sites can be found here [slyck.com].
  • is that legal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru@gma i l . com> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:07AM (#11418501) Homepage Journal
    from TFA:
    During an investigation, government agents downloaded 35 copyright works worth $4820.66 from Chicoine's site and more than 70 copyright works worth $20,648.63 from Trowbridge's site, the DOJ says.
    IAdefinitelyNAL, but for some reason I was under the impression that evidence gathered through illegal means (in this case copyright infringement) could not be used...

    Can anyone clarify US law on that matter?

    • Re:is that legal? (Score:2, Informative)

      Check how undercover cops conduct drug busts some time.
    • Re:is that legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jmcmunn (307798)

      I don't know the legality behind it either. It does seem like some kind of entrapment or something though. Perhaps they were issued some form of "digital warrant" to search the suspects hard drive through P2P apps or something? I don't know, but law enforcement can pretty much get away with anything "in the name of catching a criminal".

      I'm sure any violation this would have been, has been avoided by some recent (BUSH administration) government "improvement" bill or another.
      • " It does seem like some kind of entrapment "

        How?

        entrap Audio pronunciation of "entrapment" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-trp)
        tr.v. entrapped, entrapping, entraps

        1. To catch in or as if in a trap.
        2.
        a. To lure into danger, difficulty, or a compromising situation. See Synonyms at catch.
        b. To lure into performing a previously or otherwise uncontemplated illegal act.

        In what way were the defendants lured into doing what they did?
      • It's only entrapment if they weren't PREVIOUSLY breaking the law.

        E.g. non-criminal guy sees $100 bill on table left by cop and he takes it. That could be entrapment.

        In this case it's

        Hub operator who has been running the hub for a while offers up replies to cop searching for copyrighted music.

        The guy was already in the act of "breaking the law" when the law got involved.

        While I think the hub operators should be broken up I don't see the "urgency in it". Thousands upon thousands of Americans are scamme
    • Re:is that legal? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ThousandStars (556222)
      IANAL, but as far as I understand, in the US it is legal for law enforcement to buy (or, in this case, copy) from someone who offers it to you. The closest precedent is probably buying drugs and then arresting seller, which is a legal tactic (in the sense that it's okay). What you're probably thinking of is entrapment, which would occur if a police officer tried to sell drugs to someone and then arrested them.

      So downloading works in copyright from a public website is legal, or very probably legal. What woul

    • Re:is that legal? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LinuxHam (52232)
      Its not illegal to download, its illegal to distribute -- share, make available, upload, however you want to think of it. How many "downloaders" have they gone after? How many uploaders/sharers?

      That's also why its now open season on BitTorrent users. All they have to do is open a .torrent and get all the IPs ready to share. If they tweak their client to cap at 0 up, they never break the law by uploading and get a nice purty list of all the IPs of users who are currently and actively breaking the law. Yes t
      • When you buy CDs you're buying the right to listen to a copy of the music in digital form.

        Copyright is in actuality "copywrong", i.e., "it's wrong for you to redistribute this CD I'm selling you." You're not buying the right to listen so much as you are securing the right of the producer that you will not resell the content as your own (you can resell it once as long as you surrender the original and all copies, but now some forms of DRM aren't transferable so you're losing even that right).

        Uploadi

      • Re:is that legal? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:58AM (#11418856) Homepage
        Its not illegal to download, its illegal to distribute

        They're both illegal; downloading is a form of reproduction, and reproduction is infringement per 17 USC 501, 106(1). Distribution is another kind of infringement per 106(3). This is not news: check out the Napster case (holding that uploaders and downloaders were each direct infringers), or the disturbing but well written Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry case in D. Utah.

        How many "downloaders" have they gone after? How many uploaders/sharers?

        That's a tactical decision; taking out uploaders puts pressure on downloaders who now have fewer opportunities to download. This is why they went after the networks before the users. It's just a matter of going after the head of the snake.

        And I am so sick of hearing "its not stealing".

        Maybe so, but it's not stealing. It's illegal, it's just not stealing. Is that so weird? Arson isn't stealing but it deprives the victim of something. Tresspassing isn't stealing, but it's not legal (and much more closely analagous to copyright infringement).

        When you buy CDs you're buying the right to listen to a copy of the music in digital form.

        That's not at all true. When you buy a CD, you buy the CD as a piece of personal property. You can do anything at all with it. The law may independently limit your freedom with it (e.g. you own your car but can't go 100mph in a school zone) but you still own it.

        This is easily illustrated: if you buy a CD, and the work at some point enters the public domain, the scope of what you can lawfully do with it enlarges significantly, probably contrary to the desire of the former copyright holder. If you merely bought a right to listen, that wouldn't enlarge later.

        Are you willing to listen to reason, or need I start pulling quotes from the courts that support my point.
      • And I am so sick of hearing "its not stealing"

        Well, it isn't, so good luck in the hospital. Its copyright infringement. Nobody was deprived of existing property, maybe they did not recieve a fictional revenue for someone who would buy the work instead of downloading. If anything the whole filesharing business creates revenue by making free promotion and stealth marketing. The wet dream of every marketeer is supposed to be a nightmare for copyright holders? Boo f*ing hoo.
  • Next then I know, I'll be arrested for "Conspiracy to download porn"
    Seriously though, I can understand that turning a blind eye to something is not good, but if you're running a hub, then surely you're just negligent, not malicious?
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:14AM (#11418554)
    Surely Copyright infringement is only a civil matter.
    • It should only be a felony if they're making money. Or causing physical bodily harm or threat to lives. But these days felonies are in fashion: ex-felons can't vote, so it's a great way of disenfranchising undesirables.
  • by stankulp (69949) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:16AM (#11418564) Homepage
    ...thank God the FBI is doing its job.
    • this is a type of a job FBI does. FBI doesn't exist just to "protect us."

      should Microsoft be similary ridiculed for working on non-secutiry issues? should NSF be faulted for funding "basic sciences" instead of spending all of its money on "life-saving sciences"?

  • by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@nOspAm.ian-x.com> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:18AM (#11418579) Homepage
    Presumably they pled guilty as part of a plea-bargain. There's very little reason to plead guilty to anything unless it gets you better treatment that you think you would get by fighting the charges.
  • ...value... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vo0k (760020) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:20AM (#11418591) Journal
    It's interesting how the value of the media is calculated.
    Is a high-compression DIVX of a shaky video of screen in cinema valued the same as retail 4-DVD "special edition" release?
    Is a rip of a 4-CD game squeezing it into 300MB calculated as the same game, with a T-shirt and a manual in the box?
    Is software that was released 10 years ago valued at the prices of its release or at current "bargain bin" prices?
    Is a mono MP3 made through hand-hacked cable from a poor quality cable counted the same as a new audio CD album?

    I don't think the real value is taken into consideration. They just match title-price and neglect quality altogether. My friend was caught. The value they calculated on his software was something like $30.000. The real value of the crap if he wanted to sell that, was around $500.
    • The value they calculated on his software was something like $30.000. The real value of the crap if he wanted to sell that, was around $500.

      So? The rest of the blurb I mostly agree with, but they should evaluate the price he would have to buy it for (a legitimate copy, not the $500 version he could get from the next pirate). So if the pirate resell value was $500, I assume even "best price" would be thousands of dollars.

      Kjella
      • - cinema ticket + VCR tape
        - Used harddrive with badsectors from e-bay, data recovery software (shareware/free)
        - "bargain bin"
        - Radio, jack-jack wire (earphones-line in)

        That are the costs of obtaining such media.
    • Market value is the only true value. Why isn't someone screaming this in the courts?

      When you buy a CD or piece of software, you get the support... the nice packaging... the printed manuals... the fancy CD... the liner notes... The legal serial number.

      When you download media, you only get the media itself, and usually a much crappier version of it (if it's video) or a mildly crappier version of it (if it's sound) or a version you are forced to read on a screen (if it's a PDF of a book).

      Not to mention th
  • Newspeak (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:20AM (#11418593)

    One of the points of Orwell's 1984 was that you could subtly influence peoples opinions by changing the language they used to talk about such things.

    "Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught, even when they use the tools of technology to commit their crimes," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says in a statement. "The theft of intellectual property victimizes not only its owners and their employees, but also the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."

    The trouble with that statement is that copyright infringement is not theft. The dictionary tells us that you have to remove something in order to steal it. The laws in the USA defining theft don't mention copyright infringement. The laws in the USA defining copyright infringement don't mention theft. The Supreme Court definitively ruled that copyright infringement was not theft in Dowling vs US, 1985 . They are fundamentally different actions. There is simply no basis whatsoever for misappropriating the word "theft" to talk about copyright infringement.

    The question is, why is Ashcroft trying to tell us that copyright infringement is theft? The only other people who do that are the RIAA, the MPAA, and Slashdot trolls.

    • RIAA, the MPAA, and Slashdot trolls

      That clause is triply redundant.

      A beautiful post, though, thanks.

    • Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught

      Maybe he just means the kid that rips off CDs from Best Buy? That would be stealing copyrighted material right? =]
    • Re:Newspeak (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KiltedKnight (171132)
      Ashcroft was alluding to the monies lost from sales, rentals, etc. When you have copyright infringement, the infringer takes profits away from the copyright holder.

      I agree with you and the Supreme Court. Copyright infringement itself is not stealing.

      However, the laws also allow for retribution, which generally means you turn over any profits to the copyright holder, and then you can end up paying some hefty fines, depending on how much damage you cause.

      And we all used to think getting an F in English cl

    • Re:Newspeak (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wylfing (144940)
      Agreed. And:

      "The theft of intellectual property victimizes...the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."

      So shall we assume that drug patents, which definitely cause the American people to shoulder the burden of increased costs, are the next target of the Justice Department? Or how about the cost to the American public of being deprived of free access to 50-year-old ideas and expressions?

    • Re:Newspeak (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your assessment is compelling but overbroad/incomplete.
      In Dowling, giving a narrow interpretation of the National Stolen Property Act, 18 U.S.C.S. 2314 the Court wrote:

      The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more c

  • by jlefeld (814985)
    "100GB of material, the equivalent of 250,000 songs," Wouldn't 100GB be about 25,000 songs. The iPod 20GB advertises 5,000 songs can be stored on it. So wouldn't 100GB be 25,000. Just a little technical inaccuracy I found.
  • I'm curious... Were these guys running a pay service (ala, "Pay me money, and you can download my warez"), or was it a public p2p ring?

    Sounds like a private/pay system, which is how you get busted. If however, it was a public system, this could be a bad thing for technology as a whole!
  • Wikipedia Sophistry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:51AM (#11418783) Homepage
    From wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

    "More recently, in the 2000s, people have used civil disobedience to protest....the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

    An act of civil disobedience invloves openly and blatantly breaking the law, so that the inevitable arrest is very public, in order to garner public sympathy for their cause.

    A couple of guys hiding behind the (assumed) anonymity of the Internet, breaking the law for their own personal gain doesn't quite pass the civil disobedience litmus test.

    Somebody needs to correct that entry.
    • by Björn Stenberg (32494) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @11:07AM (#11419498) Homepage
      The wikipedia entry is correct. Just because you don't know about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      One of the more famous examples is Dr. David S. Touretzky's "Gallery of CSS Descramblers [cmu.edu]", which contains more than 20 different examples of code that is (assumed to be) illegal under the DMCA.

      The page also prominently displays Dr. Touretzky's name, email address and a photograph of him. It was explicitly created to draw attention to the absurdity of the DMCA law, through civil disobedience:

      If code that can be directly compiled and executed may be suppressed under the DMCA, as Judge Kaplan asserts in his preliminary ruling, but a textual description of the same algorithm may not be suppressed, then where exactly should the line be drawn? This web site was created to explore this issue, and point out the absurdity of Judge Kaplan's position that source code can be legally differentiated from other forms of written expression.
  • Er, felony? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @10:51AM (#11419340) Homepage
    Dear god. Felony copyright violation charges? *blink* That has to be a misprint.

    Maybe I don't understand what the word "felony" means or applies to. My understanding is that a felony charge is given for causing life-threatening or altering harm to another person.

    What kind of things get classified as felonies? Is grand theft auto a felony? How about breaking and entering? I don't think inciting a riot is, or in many cases even something like attacking another person (non-lethally). Drunk driving isn't a felonous charge unless you -really- fuck up.

    This isn't a violent crime, has not even the slimmest chance of harming someone's livelyhood, and about as harmless as some guy on the street in Mexico selling "Timex" watches on the street for $15. Maybe less so.

    It just seems incredibly draconian and fascist to have laws that protect corporations to the utmost while punishing the violators with a life-destroying sentence. Copyright law is a fucking civil issue. The parties involved should have the option to take them to a civil court, and nothing more. Now, if these people hacked into systems to store or acquire their warez, sure, prosecute them federally. But this is just rediculous.

    I can see it now. School cops will start looking for CDs and removeable hard disks when they search through students' lockers now, and burned CDs will first be an automatic 2-week expulsion, followed up by a $20,000 fine the second time and 6 months imprisonment at the county jail. Then, it's pound-me-in-the-ass prison.
  • Max 5 Years?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmarx (528279) <dmarx@hushmTEAail.com minus caffeine> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @11:45AM (#11419937) Homepage Journal
    These guys could get 5 years?!
    My Corrections professors told the class about somebody who got 1-2 years for date rape. Under what system of morality is copyright infringement worse than drugging somebody and raping them?
    • by Cyno (85911)
      Under what system of morality is copyright infringement worse than drugging somebody and raping them?

      Uh, that would be capitalism.

      Now if they had lots of money, wore suits and drove around in limos the DoJ wouldn't even have arrested them. They would have probably just got a C&D letter in the mail or a call from their lawyer. Maybe next time they'll think ahead and sell their stolen movies for the millions it takes to avoid legal problems. Cuz we all know millionaires never break the law.

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