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MPAA Scores First P2P Jury Conviction 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the connection-reset-by-jury-of-peers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The MPAA must be celebrating. According to the BitTorrent news site Slyck.com, the Department of Justice is proclaiming their first P2P criminal copyright conviction, against an Elite Torrents administrator. The press release notes, 'The jury was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of a small group of Elite Torrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group. At sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2008, Dove faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.'"
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MPAA Scores First P2P Jury Conviction

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  • Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:04PM (#23975317)

    10 years in prison? I realize that's a maximum, but the reality is he's done nothing that should be even closely considered to being a danger to society.

    This hangup about defending our bullshit economy which truly only services the "haves" in the first place is being taken to extremes and I'm getting tired of it.

    I say pirate everything, convince your friends, family, etc. Let's see what they do when EVERYONE is downloading their shit. Are they going to throw us all in jail? Then where will they be?

    Fuckers.

  • by deft (253558) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:05PM (#23975331) Homepage

    ...to NOT name your group on a torrent site something that allows information about structure to be gleaned.

    Sure, uploaders may be only uploading only legal content blah blah blah, but there's no reason to publicize your role in the organization unless you can sure as hell sheild yourself while these lawsuits are bounding about.

    Even the mob knows to call people "freinds of ours", not money launderers, assasins, gun runners etc. Please don't flame me because this is "security through obscurity".... because sometimes it works i.e, I still don't know where angelina jolie lives. Well played angelina, you hot little baby collector.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:11PM (#23975383)

    I can see how you got the flambait mod, mainly for the last sentence.

    However, you do have a valid point about just what danger to society this person poses and whether or not 10 years is a punishment that fits the crime.

    It would certainly seem that the powerful in this country are pushing for stronger and stronger criminal punishments for what would otherwise be a civil matter between 2 entities.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cocoshimmy (933014) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:11PM (#23975385)
    I totally agree, the punishment does not fit the crime. 10 years in prison should be reserved for things like rape, manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon and other crimes of similar severity. Music/Movie/Software piracy should not be put in the same category.
  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:15PM (#23975431) Homepage Journal

    Now if they won for a downloader or innocent uploader

    Define "innocent" uploader. Do you mean "uploader of copyrighted content who has not been arrested, given a jury trial, and convicted?" Or do you mean "uploader of uncopyrighted content"? Because there's a lot of legal difference between the two.

  • by xx_toran_xx (936474) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:15PM (#23975433)
    "Security through obscurity" is what can sometimes make or break a lawsuit. The ability of a juror to make the connection between what a website might call an "content administration officer" and that user's actual role is what is at stake. The obscurity in a title like that leaves their role at the website open for interpretation. Obviously the plaintiff (MPAA) would argue it for uploader, but the defendent could argue it another way.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:18PM (#23975453) Homepage Journal

    A stiff fine would seem to be in order, and civil damages. Jail time is pretty harsh for this kind of IP crime though.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:19PM (#23975461)

    > Are they going to throw us all in jail?

    Of course not. Only those with enough money to pay, but not to defend themselves.

  • NOT P2P (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:23PM (#23975499)

    You gotta love these people. They are trying to make it sound like P2P itself is criminal, or certainly criminal by association.

    This piracy group merely chose P2P as a medium to transfer it's files.

    That would be like government catching a bunch of whatchamacallit smugglers on bicycles and then announcing "the first bicycle whatchamacallit criminal conviction". Ummm, yeah right. What the hell does bicycles have to do it?

    It's not surprising that piracy groups have chose P2P to transfer their files. It is most efficient transfer medium with the highest market share. It used to IRC DCC transfer, and then before that it was FTP. A long time before that, it was file transfers through BBS. Bootleg copies used to be made on cassette tapes as well. Did that mean cassette tapes were also inherently "evil" and predisposed towards piracy? I think not.

    Sorry, I guess I just can't get over how completely full of shit some people are. We can argue about piracy and intellectual copyrights all day long. That's fine. Let's just not be intellectually dishonest doing it.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:25PM (#23975523)
    In other words... these guys were using P2P at the technical level, but they were really doing the uploading of the content. **AA has a long win streak against uploaders, it's downloaders that they've had so much problems with.
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:35PM (#23975623) Homepage Journal
    Despite how bad it may sound, this is more or less not a big deal for the average person. It is like video game companies going after people who host ROMs of copyrighted games... Not that bad. Now if they won for a downloader or innocent uploader... That would be different.

    No this is horribly bad. First, it is a basic travesty of justice. Prison time for P2P? Unless he was putting nuclear weapon designs on P2P, there is no reason for this. lets put people in jail for twenty years if they steal a loaf of bread. That's progressive thinking!

    Second, the legal system loves basing later decisions on prior landmark cases. this has just told every judge for the next fifty years that criminal punishment id ok for civil infractions.

    Third, the economy is in the dumps, and every peerson we imprision for piddly ass crap like this is costing taxpayers $$$. Ten years is not cheap. The people responsable should be dragged into the street and tarred and feathered for such frivilious use of taxpayer money.

    Finally, bad laws erode respect for good laws. The more people become acoustom to breaking laws that are poorly written, the more acoustom they become to breaking laws in general.

    Very bad ruling.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:46PM (#23975705)
    Reminds me of the time the SF Police raided TechTV (while TechLive was on the air) because the company had been associated with something called "CyberCrime". Cops thought they had the dumbest criminals ever, they actually had a canceled investigative news show.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:47PM (#23975729) Journal

    Clinton signed in a law making copyright infringement a felony. He also passed the DMCA, and a bill that withheld all federal funding to any group working on embryonic stem cell research. He also fucked a 19 year old in the Oval Office when he was supposed to be working on his presidential duties -- which is legal, but we got a bitch match over it and then he lied in court and almost got impeached for perjury.

    Clinton is a remarkable man as president; he seems to have caused all kinds of economic and legislative nightmares, and spent most of his time stripping the rights of the American People.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:49PM (#23975751)

    So what do you consider the prison industry?

  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:56PM (#23975817)

    While I dislike the **AA's tactics as much as the next guy...you wouldn't cut somebody slack for not realizing that, say, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is illegal, would you? Or that going 105 MPH in a 55 MPH zone was illegal?

    Ignorance isn't an excuse.

  • by adminstring (608310) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:57PM (#23975831)
    If you'd like to come over with your car-duplicating equipment and make an exact copy of my Ferrari without damaging it, you're welcome to do so.

    :-)
  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:01PM (#23975885) Homepage Journal

    Well, if someone steals the secret designs for the new Widget(tm) that a company has then they should get jail time and that is an IP crime, although you could argue it's industrial espionage. We agree on this matter though. I would think probation would be enough even (plus a fine), not even six months. Six months in jail can totally ruin a person's life, whereas if they get probation they might just be able to keep their job/house, etc.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:07PM (#23975957)

    I've got to agree; while pirating anything certainly costs *someone* *some* business, it's *definitely* not worth TEN YEARS of someone's life! That's absolutely ridiculous!

    That being said, i'm currently *absolutely smashed* and my opinions not worht taking into account.

    sorry -_-

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HockeyEngineer (991023) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:10PM (#23975993)
    Not if Bill C-61 (aka the Canadian DMCA) becomes law.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:10PM (#23975995) Homepage Journal

    But anything large-scale that isn't infrastructural (meaning recreational software) is going to essentially die in your sick little fantasyland.

    No, it'll just need to be paid for differently: by charging for the programmers' labor instead of charging for copies of the files they produce.

    How dare those people expect to make a living out of their work. It should all be free for you to use, and god [i]damn[/i] the whole "making enough money to eat" thing.

    More like god damn the people who are too blind, or too attached to a broken business model, to realize that you don't need copyright to get paid for working. People in most other industries manage to get paid for their work without any special monopoly protections like copyright.

    You tell those "fucking GNUtards" to "get a job in the real world", but maybe you should follow that advice yourself. You'll find that in the real world (i.e. industries that haven't become addicted to copyright), people don't do the work first, for free, and then spend months or years trying to get people to pay them for the work they've already done. They find customers first, and do the work once those customers have agreed to pay them for it.

    Or is it just that now they've [i]already[/i] made the games, it's okay in your entitlement-based mind to say "oh, fuck you, we're going to take it and make it free for everyone, and too bad for you if you relied on it for income"?

    If your income depends on people not being allowed to share information with each other, then you're doing it wrong.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:17PM (#23976073) Homepage

    It's easy to forget that. I'm all for the death penalty and harsh criminal convictions, but only for violent crime. IP infringement is not a crime that we need to take 10 years from somebody for. Let's not forget that we will spend anywhere between 300K and 400K as taxpayers to do it too. Is is really that cost effective for us to do this? To protect big media companies? To protect society, or our values?

    Copyright laws have a huge cost to society, I think they should be abolished then we wouldn't have to deal with this crap.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:18PM (#23976091)

    I agree that 10 years is absurd, maybe 1 year and a boatload of community service.

    As for your assertion that this shouldn't be a matter for criminal courts, well, the law disagrees with you:
    copyright.gov [copyright.gov]
    Title 17 Chapter 5 506.a.1.B was probably violated, though not mentioned in DOJ press release.
    Title 17 Chapter 5 506.a.1.C was definately violated.

  • by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:21PM (#23976131) Homepage

    Well they are involved with organised crime groups such as "Media Defender".

  • by againjj (1132651) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:22PM (#23976147)
    Agreed, this is not the same as what all those other cases are, but you can be pretty sure that the MPAA is going to try and make it look like it to the general public. Unfortunately, I must agree with the conviction -- this really is clearly wrong (I am not commenting on the sentencing). It was being distributed before the movie was even showing in theaters! This clearly crosses the line of copyright law in both spirit and letter, unlike those other cases.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:24PM (#23976171) Homepage Journal

    he's done nothing that should be even closely considered to being a danger to society

    Ah, but you forget piracy funds terrorism...

    I say pirate everything, convince your friends, family, etc. Let's see what they do when EVERYONE is downloading their shit. Are they going to throw us all in jail? Then where will they be?

    The government would love this, as the entire populace could be stripped of most their constitutional rights and be easily controlled and turned in to virtual serfs as 'restitution'.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:30PM (#23976243) Journal

    10 years? Please USA, get a grip


    10 years is just the maximum possible penalty. In a few extreme cases, such as, say, the head of a large-scale commercial piracy ring, I could see it occasionally being appropriate.

    I've seen cases of murderers getting less than this.


    You've seen murders getting much more than that, too, however.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deimtee (762122) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:32PM (#23976267) Journal
    They don't want nasty violent people in there, they want nice malleable workers who will do what they are told because they are too shit scared to move. You know, white colar recreational drug users.
  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:38PM (#23976373) Homepage

    How about the 8th Amendment? Or am I going overboard with the interpretation of "cruel and unusual punishments"? It seems 10 years for copy infringement and piracy seems to be overboard in my books.

    I've also seen murders get less then this, so yes. I think 8th might apply.

  • by fnj (64210) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:48PM (#23976489)

    It's the maximum sentence, dumbass.

    You're the dumbass. It's immoral, stupid, hateful, vindictive, corrupt, and absurd to even have the option for a penalty this severe in a case like this. Under any sane legal system, this would be a CIVIL case, not a criminal one.

    Death was "only the maximum" sentence for witchcraft too at one time, dumbass.

    Excuse the language, guys, but I'm replying to a witless anonymous coward. Anything goes in this case.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:03PM (#23976625) Homepage Journal

    Because the people in other industries are producing physical objects.

    Look a little harder. Open the yellow pages and you'll find hundreds of businesses that don't produce physical objects - they perform services.

    Writing software is a service too, and you can get paid for performing it, just like a barber gets paid for cutting hair and an accountant gets paid for balancing books. Just because copyright encourages you to think of a program as a thing that you create and sell doesn't mean that's the natural way to treat it, and certainly doesn't mean that's the only way to treat it.

    And you're utterly, factually wrong about businesses "doing the work once those customers have agreed to pay them for it." Never fucking heard of retail, dipshit?

    Why yes, I have. But it seems you haven't heard of services, so I'll give you a few minutes to look them up on Wikipedia.

    Ready? OK.

    Now, is there a reason you think retail is a better model than services for software development? Or are you just going to swear and insult me some more to distract from the lack of substance in your argument?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:19PM (#23976741)

    > Well, if someone steals the secret designs for the new Widget(tm) that a company has then they should get jail time and that is an IP crime, although you could argue it's industrial espionage.

    That's still just a matter of money, so we should stick to fines and such. I wouldn't go with jail time unless they did something worse than just that (e.g. were repeat offenders at least). Otherwise, they become a drain on society.

    After all, what do we do when a _company_ 'steals' and idea from another company? But the unequal justice between what companies can get away with and what people can get away with is another matter entirely.

    Sometimes, I wish I was a company so that I wasn't bound by all the laws normal people have to obey.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:19PM (#23976743) Journal
    Maybe we should just build Imaginary Prisons for those who "steal" Imaginary Property? Then the punishment could truly fit the crime. :)
  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:35PM (#23976861)

    you wouldn't cut somebody slack for not realizing that, say, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is illegal, would you? Or that going 105 MPH in a 55 MPH zone was illegal?



    Both of those though are inherently dangerous. Would I cut someone some slack if they were say, jaywalking? Yes. What about not having a penny needed to buy something if you have a penny on you. Yes. What about a guy who comes back for another free sample? Yes. Downloading things illegally is much like my situations I just gave, it isn't harming anyone really and therefore shouldn't be tried in criminal court and really, all the *AA's fines are excessive, $1 per song max. Any more and it should be considered excessive.

  • 10 years? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:37PM (#23976881)

    So, some pirates can get 10 years, yet we have Massachusetts' representative James Fagan calling a 10 year mandatory sentence for 3 time offending child predators 'draconian'. Ridiculous.

    -Bradley H.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:47PM (#23976947)

    I think it's time you consider the possibility that people are not buying your records simply because you are not very good.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cocoshimmy (933014) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:24PM (#23977211)
    Your analogy is flawed because it involves a home invasion in which an individual is severely hurt financially. The amount of financial damage this hacker has done to the movie industry or any individual is equivelant to someone breaking into your house and stealing a can of pop from the fridge.

    But i'll play along anyways. Lets say this robber stealing your TV, movies, or whatever and got caught in the act. He then says to himself "hmm...i'm gonna get 10 years if this guy catches me and calls the police. But, if i beat the living shit out of him i'll only get 5 years and possibly less since it's a first offense and thats only if he manages to get to the phone so i might as well break his spine just in case." What do you think he's going to do? He should be punished and your desire for vengence is understandable but if you make a petty offense a felony with a huge prison sentence, you encourage those involved to commit violent acts, which they otherwise would not undertake, in order to avoid capture. (in this case breaking your spine)
  • Re:Intellectuals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:35PM (#23977275) Homepage

    I agree,

    Theft of imaginary property should be served in an imaginary jail.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suck_burners_rice (1258684) on Friday June 27, 2008 @11:06PM (#23977489)
    Ok let's think about this. What was the Constitution and the Bill of Rights supposed to defend? Your rights, right? Ok, now that we've established that, from whom is this Bill of Rights defending you, the individual? Mainly from the government. Now you need to realize that the government is not some ephemeral entity that determines the order of the universe. It's a bunch of dudes who happened to get elected and happen, therefore, to have power to make things happen. It is from THOSE DUDES that the Bill of Rights is supposed to protect you. Unfortunately, the Bill of Rights is only a piece of paper. It is YOU who must always monitor what is happening and to fight violations of your rights. I believe that in that Bill of Rights somewhere, it says something to the effect that:

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Now don't you think that getting the kind of sentence that a rapist might get is a tad bit CRUEL AND UNUSUAL for downloading or uploading some worthless garbage?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:06AM (#23977819)
    Courier's pretty much died with BBS's. Broadband has made distribution ubiquitous, the 'scene' is easy to get into, and hell-yea it's going to get onto P2P. Huge respect to the groups that kept my BBS supplied, and I - gaming through highschool, but it's not the elitist wankfest above AC would have us all believe. The people who crack & package, sure. The rest of the chain is all the same.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:22AM (#23978217) Homepage

    Ever hear of Tower Records? What happened to them? What happened to most of their big competitors? They've pretty much vanished within the last ten years, didn't they?

    Wal-Mart happened to the big record chains. Tower and all those other bastards sold CDs at list price. Tower also expanded over aggressively in the 90's. High-volume, low-margin discount sellers is what killed the record chains, not piracy.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Flipper (627481) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @03:09AM (#23978649)

    I am more concerned by the fact that turning this into a criminal matter has provided government and corporations the impetus to do away with our privacy and rights altogether simply to provide protection for a few companies profit margins.

    Don't Forget

    These companies are also either in, or connected to businesses (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Honeywell, Wackenhut, etc) that are in the prison business for profit. So, it is in the corporate ruling class interest to criminalize as many people as possible, for long terms, etc.

    There's a reason why America, per capita, is the most heavily imprisoned population in the history of the World.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gn u . org> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @03:10AM (#23978653) Homepage

    A copyright defines rights which are granted to somebody from the government.

    Almost true.

    A copyright defines a set of rights which is temporarily given up by everybody except one entity, for the benefit of that entity. The giving up of those rights is mandatory, in the sense that the law says you have to, and voluntary in the sense that The People (in theory) chooses what the law says.

    I think the generally accepted philosophical POV on /. is that when you're born, you're granted some set of rights. No more rights can come into existence, but they can be taken away or not. The government has the power, when backed by the will of the people, to take away some of those rights, but is unable to create rights.

    Just a random tangent.

  • Re:Fuck the MafiAA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sgant (178166) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:59AM (#23979487) Homepage Journal

    Wait, since when is copyright violations punishable by prison?

    I could see this going to civil court and this guy being sued. But prison? Was he actually getting money for these? Or was it just sharing over the internet for free?

    Again, how did this go from a civil matter to a criminal one?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mjec (666932) <slashdot@mj[ ]net ['ec.' in gap]> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @08:11AM (#23979825) Homepage Journal

    Copyright laws have a huge cost to society, I think they should be abolished then we wouldn't have to deal with this crap.

    For those who haven't seen the argument a million times before, I feel compelled to post it again. Copyright law is a benefit to society.

    The whole point of IP law is that innovation can be protected for a short period of time (sufficient to guarantee a worthwhile return on investment) and then remove that protection to allow the advancement to be used by society.

    In other words, IP laws both reward innovation and encourage openness that wouldn't otherwise be viable. In theory at least. Good principle, shitty implementation. Don't abolish the whole thing though, or we'll go back to black-box inventions and no cooperation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#23981155)

    Anyhow they are usually not respected individuals within the scene and upload things to P2P for either ideological reasons or just to get a bigger epenis.

    So, they do it for the same reasons everyone else in the scene has for doing what they do? Golly, that's insightful.

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