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WW2 Vet Sent 300,000 Pirated DVDs To Troops In Iraq, Afghanistan 650

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
nbauman writes "WW2 veteran 'Big Hy' Strachman, 92, pirated 300,000 DVD movies and sent them to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they were widely distributed and deeply appreciated. Soldiers would gather around personal computers for movie nights, with mortars blasting in the background. 'It's reconnecting to everything you miss,' said one. Strachman received American flags, appreciative letters, and snapshots of soldiers holding up their DVDs. He spent about $30,000 of his own money. Strachman retired from his family's window and shade business in Manhattan in the 1990s. After his wife Harriet died in 2003, he spent sleepless nights on the Internet, and saw that soldiers were consistently asking for movie DVDs. He bought bootlegged disks for $5 in Penn Station, and then found a dealer at his local barbershop. He bought a $400 duplicater that made 7 copies at once, and mailed them 84 at a time, to Army Chaplains. The MPAA said they weren't aware of his operation. The studios send reel-to-reel films to the troops."
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WW2 Vet Sent 300,000 Pirated DVDs To Troops In Iraq, Afghanistan

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  • Quote from article (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:25PM (#39822301) Journal
    It was completely willful:

    “It’s not the right thing to do, but I did it,” Mr. Strachman said, acknowledging that his actions violated copyright law. “If I were younger,” he added, “maybe I’d be spending time in the hoosegow.”

    The guy spent $30,000 of his own money to do it. Maybe the MPAA could sue him for a portion of the 'profits'. The best part is he was continuing to make copies, right there, while they were interviewing him. It's brought joy back to his life.

  • Re:Well that's okay (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:37PM (#39822503)
    At the going rate, it would be more than $3 million for the same number of DVDs...
  • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:54PM (#39822793)
    and send them to my son when he was in Iraq. He said they got passed around a lot. They liked the latest TV stuff even more than movies.
  • by Rolgar (556636) on Friday April 27, 2012 @01:16PM (#39823177)

    Unlikely considering Dan Glickman and Chris Dodd are both Democrats, Senators even, and were the last two CEOs of the MPAA.

    I also seem to recall the SOPA debate, large numbers of each party were on each side of the issue, so it wasn't really a partisan issue.

  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday April 27, 2012 @01:30PM (#39823379)
    Lobbying from the Movie/TV/Music industry overwhelming favors Democrats [opensecrets.org] by nearly a 3:1 margin. There's a tendency for people to interpret politics as "D = good, R = bad" or vice versa depending on your political affiliation. It is never that simple.
  • Re:Well that's okay (Score:3, Informative)

    by toriver (11308) on Friday April 27, 2012 @02:03PM (#39823857)

    Yes, he means the Taliban that grew out of the U.S.-backed Mujahideen back when they were "good guys" fighting the "evil" Soviet invaders. Apparently fighting U.S. invaders is not as "good".

  • Re:Well that's okay (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goobermunch (771199) on Friday April 27, 2012 @02:07PM (#39823921)

    Not really. At $150,000 for willful infringement, and 330,000 copies, he's looking at $49,500,000,000, in damages. (SRC: 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(2)).*

    That's about 1/3 of Hollywood's combined gross for every movie released 1996 and 2012 (as of last weekend). (SRC: http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/ [the-numbers.com])

    No due process problem with that.

    --AC

    *Actually, the statutory damages are per work, not per infringing act, so the real number would be reduced to reflect the number of titles he copied, not the number of copies he made).

  • by cavePrisoner (1184997) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:32PM (#39825089)
    I'm an army guy, so I have a different perspective. EVERYONE needs some entertainment/escape, but nobody's catching a ride to somewhere else for a friggin movie. That's why reel to reel doesn't make sense. The soldiers most in need don't have access to it. Soldiers usually have laptops. In Afghanistan, there are no copyright laws anyway. You can buy pirated movies through local shops by the truckload. They'll even let you bring back your pirated movies through customs as long as they are for personal use. ie, you can't have a bunch of copies of the same movie.

    If you really want make a soldier happy, you have remember that they might be at a tiny outpost with a platoon of young men all deployment. They might not have seen a female for months. Yes, send porn.
  • by rockout (1039072) on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:04PM (#39826419)

    base theaters which have more technical support and equipment than anything Main St. can rustle up.

    Not that this is very important to the topic at hand, but as a former member of our military that spent 5 years overseas, I can tell you that the base theaters pretty much all suck, the sound is awful and the projection is worse, and we went off-base wherever it was possible to watch movies instead. Of course, it's not possible to do that in Iraq or Afghanistan. Just don't tell me about "technical support and equipment" - even if we had it, it sure didn't go into making our base theater any better. Those places blow.

  • Re:Well that's okay (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Friday April 27, 2012 @10:05PM (#39829193) Homepage

    If if if.... wars are fought for politicians careers, and contractors shareholders. All the lofty ideals are just the lies they use to dupe 18 year old poor kids into signing up to die.

    and from that BS, I would be happy to have clean hands.

    My Fucking grandfather fought in Korea. He sat in a half track with machine guns gunning down DPRK soldiers for the "lofty goals" of fighting communism and keeping "South Korea" free... in a conflict that officially has outlived him. To "keep free" a country which, still to this day, arrests political dissidents who insult the government.

    Lofty ideals my ass. We are allied with the Saudis....the people who only decided, after very public international pressure was applies, that maybe they shouldn't stone a woman to death who was seen in public with a man who wasn't her husband...oh yah...and gang raped by the group of men who saw her in public without said man. Yah.... tell me more about your lofty ideals.

    Given who we are really talking about being in charge, and what wars are really fought for...I will take clean hands any day of the fucking week.

  • Re:Well that's okay (Score:4, Informative)

    by Genda (560240) <mariet@got.nERDOSet minus math_god> on Saturday April 28, 2012 @11:42PM (#39835347) Journal

    There are equally qualified historical references that strongly suggest that the military had spent a billion dollars (back when that meant something) and they were damned if they weren't going to see their new toy go BOOM!!! Moreover, we were already looking down the barrel of what we saw as Soviet competition/expansion, and we needed to scare the Schist out of them. There were a lot of politically expedient reasons to drop the bomb, on a friggin Catholic Church (near ground zero), but don't for a minute suggest it was to save American lives or hasten the end of WWII. That simply doesn't wash. In fact, in the early days of nukes there was talk of turning China and Russia into matching blue glass ashtrays, and the Army Corp of Engineers had grand plans for using nukes to build huge new canals all over the planet.

    By the way, if the First bomb was necessary? Why the Second one? Why did we test the effects on nukes on our own soldiers? Why did we hide the fact that fall-out from nuke testing had seriously impacted people in eastern Nevada and south-western Utah? Why have we never talked about the mishandling of radioactive wastes from bombs or their transport through heavily populated towns and cities? The entire fiasco that has been the arms race from poison mine tailings killing innocent native Americans, to lack of a sane plan to decommission our weapons is incredibly well documented.

    The whole MADD thing was mad from the start and has continued being mad to this very day. Vaporizing, incinerating and irradiating people was, is and forever will be an unconscionable act.

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