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Piracy Crime The Courts Your Rights Online

Former Leader of Film Piracy Group Sentenced To Five Years In Prison 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the assault-with-a-deadly-upload dept.
colinneagle writes "The acknowledged leader of once prolific movie piracy group IMAGiNE was sent to prison this week for five years, one of the longest sentences ever handed down for criminal copyright infringement. In addition to his prison term, Jeramiah Perkins, 40, of Portsmouth, Va., was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. On Aug. 29, 2012, Perkins pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. According to the Department of Justice, Perkins was indicted along with three other defendants on April 18, 2012, for their roles in the IMAGiNE Group, an organized online piracy ring that sought to become the premier group to first release Internet copies of movies only showing in theaters. According to court documents, Perkins directed and participated in using receivers and recording devices in movie theaters to secretly capture the audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies. They then synchronized the audio files with illegally recorded video files to create completed movie files suitable for sharing over the Internet via BitTorrent file sharing technology."
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Former Leader of Film Piracy Group Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

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  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:53AM (#42487885)

    The guy didn't harm anyone and we're locking him up in a cage for 5 years. Well I guess it serves him right for living in this stupid country. Being born here was the dumbest thing I've ever done and remaining here when I could leave is even dumber.

    • by lgw (121541)

      Well, leave then. Plenty of places will accept you if you have a degree. Don't let the door hit you where the dog should have bit you.

      • Leave to where? Is there somewhere that the Global Police Force doesn't give itself jurisdiction?

    • by jd2112 (1535857)
      No one harmed? Somewhere there is a movie exec still driving a 2012 S-class Mercedes because he can't afford a new one. How can people live in such utter poverty?
      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        No one harmed? Somewhere there is a movie exec still driving a 2012 S-class Mercedes because he can't afford a new one. How can people live in such utter poverty?

        Actually I messed this up. What I meant to say was "Somewhere there is a mistress of a movie exec still driving a 2012 S-class Mercedes because he can't afford a new one." The movie exec is still driving a Bentley.

  • Outrageous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:54AM (#42487889)
    Prison time for copyright infringement? Really?

    Just another sign of how completely out of control the copyright system has become.
    • Prison time for conspiracy, not infringement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but if this guy hadn't been pirating then the movie industry wouldn't have lost out on billions of dollars of revenue and this recession thing might not have been so bad. After all, half the people without jobs lost them because of him.

    • Re:Outrageous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Internal Modem (1281796) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @12:13PM (#42488009)
      Maybe it's just the fact that a physical structure (the movie theater) has been compromised in a way similar to breaking and entering, but I honestly think there's a difference between copying a DVD and setting up receivers in a movie theater to capture a proprietary audio broadcast.

      He made more than $400,000 in profits from his illegal wiretapping. I think part of the defendant's actions do cross the line between intellectual property theft and criminal theft, especially because he set up PayPal accounts to accept payment for IMAGINE's releases.

      Why should he feel free to profit off the expenses paid by the movie theater for retail space, electricity, equipment, and movie fees? At a certain point, even if the theater still has the item that is claimed to have been stolen, the defendant is stealing his for-profit content from the movie theater.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Maybe it's just the fact that a physical structure (the movie theater) has been compromised in a way similar to breaking and entering, but I honestly think there's a difference between copying a DVD and setting up receivers in a movie theater to capture a proprietary audio broadcast.

        I don't. I think the dividing line is the commercial benefit. Nobody should ever see jail time for downloading copyrighted materials. But selling them without permission? How else are we supposed to provide them an incentive not to do this? On one hand, copyright has been distended all out of proportion, on the other hand these guys were selling current media and the more current the better. I have limited sympathy for them. The only sympathy I do have for them is that nobody should be placed into our priso

      • by Kjella (173770)

        I don't really see it, maybe if it was an unique theme park ride that lost a lot of its "uniqueness" when people could see it without going there but the movie theater he recorded it in didn't suffer any particular negative effects - not any more than any other movie theater trying to show the same movie at least. Sure it's probably a violation of the cinema's rules like not bringing your own food and drinks, but we don't put people in prison for 5 years because of that. The clash is between this guy and th

        • He did make over $400,000 in profits. It's hard to argue he didn't take that money from theaters that were paying for the rights to show the movie. He didn't do this for altruistic reasons. He set up a business that was based on ripping off others content.
          • by 1u3hr (530656)

            He did make over $400,000 in profits. It's hard to argue he didn't take that money from theaters that were paying for the rights to show the movie

            Actually, it's very easy. He paid for entry to the cinemas. He never took a cent from the cinemas. He didn't prevent them from showing the movie. No one contemplating going to a cinema would stay at home and watch a lousy cam rip instead if you imply he reduced their market. Though if the movies were complete crap maybe some downloaded it as a preview and decided to skip it. But in that case, they probably would have just gone to another film and the cinemas still sold the same number of tickets on average.

      • by kawabago (551139)
        The fact that he could make such a profit tells us the content is over priced to begin with. That he could pay for technology to capture the content, deliver it and still make a profit tells the whole story. The entertainment industry creates copyright infringers by demanding far too much for content. Lower the price, you'll eliminate the infringers. Of course, you can't tell anyone that they are asking too much for something they own, even if it's incredibly easy to steal, like content. The war on drugs s
      • Talk about a slanted description. He set up video cameras and microphones in a theater. That is not wiretapping, that is copyright infringement in the worst case.

        breaking and entering

        Nobody is accused of that.

        intellectual property

        Propaganda term.

        criminal theft

        No such thing happened here.

        he set up PayPal accounts

        So?

        accept payment for IMAGINE's releases

        Did a judge decide that IMAGiNE was not engaged in fair use? See, long before our copyright system was hijacked and turned into a weapon aimed at the Internet, we relied on judges to decide if an act of copying was legal or not. You know, back when copyrights wer

        • "Did a judge decide that IMAGiNE was not engaged in fair use?"


          "Fair use" only covers "brief excerpts of copyright material" for "criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research."
          • In fact, fair use can include the reproduction of an entire copyrighted work. That is why judges decide these things; there is no hard-and-fast definition.
      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        He made more than $400,000 in profits from his illegal wiretapping.

        I don't see that figure, or any figure, in TFA.

        Otherwise you use the words "Illegal wiretapping", "criminal theft". Makes him sound really evil. But I didn't see those words in TFA either. Though I don't doubt the *AAs would use them. Did you just make them up?

        I don't see how anyone could make more than pocket change distributing movies online. Who'd pay? You can get them free in a minute if you want. Especially since it sounds like he was making cam rips in cinemas. I wouldn't watch a cam rip if you paid

      • He made more than $400,000 in profits from his illegal wiretapping.

        Bingo! We have a winner here. 5 years for stealing (yes, stealing) $400k is not terribly unreasonable. That works out to about $80k a year. Definitely a reasonable salary.

    • I'm glad to not live in USA. Prison is meant to prevent individuals from physically harming others; someone arguably causing profit loss to some corporation belongs to a civil (not criminal) court.

      Unlike theft, with copyright infringement there is no loss of the source, its someone taking a photograph of a painting without permission, not someone taking it away from its owner.

      Besides copyright in USA was meant to put a limit to hereditary rights from the English printer guilds, not preserve them. That is wh

  • I am so glad our Justice Department is busy locking up such horrible and dangerous criminals. Thank goodness the Department of Justice is hard at work locking up these criminal masterminds. Now we can all feel safer.

    They go to great lengths to ensure the content industry fat cats don't lose any money, because how else could they afford their eight figure salaries if a few people get their disgusting hands on their content without paying? They might have to go down to ... *gasp* seven figure salaries, ugh

    • by Dopefish_1 (217994) <slashdot AT thedopefish DOT com> on Saturday January 05, 2013 @12:01PM (#42487937) Homepage

      At least here, they're going after someone who was systematically and deliberately distributing copyrighted content, rather than just some poor kid running bittorrent.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      You do know these corporations are publicly owned? That people who work for a living have 401K retirement programs that share in the profits of these films? Unlike so many that simply downloaded films for their own use this dude had a business going where he was making hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. He is the type of pirate who the criminal copyright laws were written for originally. He belongs in prison.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Although I agree that commercial infringement like this deserves the slammer, I don't agree that anyone lost any money. The only way copyright infringement costs sales is if the book or movie sucks and people are warned that it sucks. On the other hand, there are many fine books and films that will lose money because nobody heard of them. Nobody but bad authors ever lost money from copyright infringement (in this case I'd say the money the guy made belongs to the studios) but many artists starve from obscur

        • by amiga3D (567632)

          It's really hard to say but the way I always look at it is that if someone downloads a movie from someplace like a torrent then you can't say if they would have paid for it or not. On the other hand here we have people that did pay for it and the money did not go to the studios. You can't really say they didn't lose money because technically any money he made was lost to the studios.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            In this case I agree, folks were paying for these downloads. I mentioned in another comment that this was in fact wrong, that the money paid should have gone to the studios. TPB is entirely different; studies all show that piracy sells content, although counterfeiting does not. Piracy and counterfeiting are two didfferent things.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Noo! They had quality rips!

  • I remember getting quite a few releases from IMAGiNE back in the days where I still had lots of FTP accounts. Nowadays I don't really know/care who releases it as I just grab it from usenet.

  • by julian67 (1022593) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @01:20PM (#42488457)

    IMAGiNE made telesync cam copies. If that wasn't bad enough they then encoded the already shitty video using xvid thus guaranteeing it would be soft and blocky with muddy colours.

    I'd give them another couple of months.

    • I'd give them another couple of months.

      You remind me of a joke my wife told me:

      A retired couple was on their porch swing watching the neighborhood when the wife leans over and suddenly slaps her husband. "That's for forty years of bad sex!".

      They continue sitting still for a few minutes when the husband leans over and suddenly slaps her back. "That's for knowing the difference!"

  • There's plenty of free software and media out there... no need to rip people off.

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