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Swedish Man Fined $650,000 For Sharing 1 Movie, Charged Extra For Low Quality

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  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:20PM (#45720855) Homepage

    How does fining someone many times their net worth accomplish anything?

    Someone could fine me $5 million or $50 million dollars. It doesn't change the fact that I can't ever hope to pay it.

    Are these numbers just meant to scare people, or do they *actually try* to collect many times a person's net worth from them?

    • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:23PM (#45720875)
      Everyone knows that copy infringement is stealing - that means they must have stolen (and therefore possess) that much worth of property and so are perfectly capable of paying such a fine. Obviously.
    • by ark1 (873448)
      Yes, it is about setting an example. You may have nothing but many have at least some wealth (House, Car, investment etc). This all can be gone.
      • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:32PM (#45720993)
        In many cases, it can't be. Unless they can claim that you bought the house with illicit funds, they can't take your house in the US, and I'm sure they are even more lenient in most of Europe.
        • by Assmasher (456699) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:41PM (#45721111) Journal

          Unfortunately you can have your home seized in a forfeiture if you default on paying back a judgement, so if the judgement is large enough, yes, you can lose your home.

          Maybe all file sharers should incorporate into Subchapter S or LLCs ;)...

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          Hardly true. Plenty of asset forfeitures based on simply being involved with illegal activity. Oh, that car with the completely empty secret compartment? Ours now. The house you bought with your inheritance that we caught you dealing drugs from? Ours now.

          For example:
          http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Yea5RW9iAJYJ:ij.org/how-a-philadelphia-family-lost-their-home-to-asset-forfeiture-3+&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us [googleusercontent.com]

          (Cached, the original site wasn't answering...)

          Next it's the c

          • "Hardly true. Plenty of asset forfeitures based on simply being involved with illegal activity. Oh, that car with the completely empty secret compartment? Ours now. The house you bought with your inheritance that we caught you dealing drugs from? Ours now."

            That's not a court judgment. Asset forfeiture is a completely different thing, and is totally irrelevant to the situation at hand.

            In the U.S., I am pretty sure that the courts don't (can't?) force you, in a judgment, to give up one home and (I am also pretty sure) one car, or the tools you need to make a living. For example, if you're a carpenter they could not touch your toolbox in most circumstances.

            In regard to asset forfeiture: I think in the long run, seizure of assets that weren't directly part

          • And further, there is no legal basis for seizure of a computer because in the U.S., copying for personal use is not a crime. A court can theoretically fine you the statutory amount for that civil infraction, but that's in the form of dollars, not property. There is no "forfeiture of assets used in the crime", since there was no crime committed.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          >they can't take your house in the US

          No, but in the US they can file a lein on the house which puts them ahead of you whenever the house is sold. And if you have a mortgage, some lenders add a clause to the loan that allows them to require full repayment of the loan immediately if a lein is attached, with foreclosure to follow soon after.

          So no, technically they cannot take you home, they just get the bank to do it instead.

          • by willy_me (212994)
            Only in the states is it popular to mortgage your house and minimize payments. Something about interest and taxes? Is it just in California? Hopefully an American homeowner can bring me up to speed. But my point is that other countries have different forms of taxation which encourage homeowners to actually own their house. I do not know what it is like in Sweden, but in Canada you have a much higher percentage of people who own their house when compared to, for example, California.
            • by Z34107 (925136)

              Only in the states is it popular to mortgage your house and minimize payments. Something about interest and taxes? Is it just in California?

              Do you mean to tell me that Canadians buy homes from cash on hand?

              in Canada you have a much higher percentage of people who own their house when compared to, for example, California

              That might have something to do with the fact that most Canadian homes don't cost over a million dollars [trulia.com].

              • In Canada mortgage interest isn't tax deductible so there is more incentive to pay down the principle. It isn't buying homes from cash on hand but it is a little different from the American environment.

                If I was an American I might still have a mortgage because it would have made relatively more sense to invest money other ways than it would to pay down my mortgage.

                As a Canadian paying down my mortgage had a relatively low ROI but it was risk free and I wasn't giving up any tax exemptions. Canada doesn
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How does fining someone many times their net worth accomplish anything?

      It's a death penalty.

    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:37PM (#45721071)

      Both presumably. By collecting them they scare people. The judgement was $650K, even if that is above his net worth (it may or may not be), they may be able to garnish it from future wages. $650K is below the lifetime earnings of a lot of people.

      This is not to say that the ruling isn't completely unreasonable.

      Piracy is tricky. People who produce content do have some right to keep other people from stealing it. It is very difficult to track down individual pirates, so most get away and reasonable fines are not a deterrent. This leads to a sort of reverse-lottery where lots of people take a chance at disastrous penalties.

      Part of the problem is that the public is very split on what is reasonable.

      Some people believe ALL content should be free.

      Some people believe that small payments for content are reasonable, but that some industries charge "unreasonable" rates for content.

      Some people believe that the industry should make all content available at the same time everywhere at the same rates.

      Some people do not mind paying the rates industry charge, but prefer to download for reasons of convenience, lack o tracking, lack of advertising, or others. (many of the people who pirate Game of Thrones would purchase the content if they were allowed to without creating a subscription that they know may be difficult to cancel).

      Some people are happy with any arrangement that industry wants because the purchase is voluntary .

      It would be interesting to see a survey of opinions on this and see how well public opinion matches the law.

      • They have no *right* to "keep other people from stealing it."  That is madness--that means they can shut down the internet.

        The only "right" creators have to themselves is to try and make money off their work.  *Try*.  That's it.
      • by ruir (2709173)
        You can try to rationalise it as much you want it, however they dont have the right to wreck some poor sod life just to make an example of it for the rest of us. And then fining it extra because it is low quality...yes honour, he deserves the double of the fine, because he wrecked up our mercedes and he is giving a bad image of our brand?? To the hell with them I say.
      • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:34AM (#45722971) Journal

        Piracy is tricky.

        Granted.

        People who produce content do have some right to keep other people from stealing it.

        Define "stealing" in this context. Because "stealing" patents by utilizing the underlying ideas in more or less spelled out ways in a patent application are the basis of most industries in their foundations. It's only much later is there any real recognition of patents, generally, as companies (and people) feel a need to create artificial barriers of entry to preempt competition.

        Now, the case in point is copyright, and certainly there's a much greater view of respect for that field precisely because it is, in theory, supposed to be of a much more narrow scope. But, we're so far down that rabbit hole--the very definition of a derivative work has become so warped and the time span for a copyright to last has grown so large--that the respect for copyright at all has really had a falling out.

        It is very difficult to track down individual pirates, so most get away and reasonable fines are not a deterrent. This leads to a sort of reverse-lottery where lots of people take a chance at disastrous penalties.

        Which is the problem, full stop. If reasonable fines are not a deterrent, well, they're simple not a deterrent. Sometimes justice and punishment aren't a deterrent. That's life. Strive to correct this in some way only makes the situation worse. I mean, by the logic stated, jay walking should carry perhaps 20 years or even a death sentence. That's absurd.

        Part of the problem is that the public is very split on what is reasonable.

        A more major part is that those writing the laws are being effectively bribed with money from copyright holders into writing laws beneficial to copyright holders. So, that there is a "split on what is reasonable" is true. But, we live in a democracy, and I'm quite certain that way more than 90% of people are not in the "fine a person into oblivion". Hell, ever time you see a story showing the vast majority of a nation are committing piracy, it's a good sign you should rethink your laws to decriminalize it more, not try to crack down harder on it. That doesn't inherently mean that content creators won't be paid at all--although they may have to come to terms with the idea that even fewer will make a living wage from it. But, it may mean devising another system than copyright to facilitate it.

        Some people are happy with any arrangement that industry wants because the purchase is voluntary

        Piracy is voluntary too, between two consenting people to copy some bit of data. The rub is of course that it's piracy that's the issue, not whether people are somehow obtaining content from the industry directly without paying.

        It would be interesting to see a survey of opinions on this and see how well public opinion matches the law.

        See above. I'd say Napster was a good effective opinion poll of a sort. I am wary, though, of how any survey may be stacked one way or another to distort the message people wish to express. After all, most people may feel guilty about piracy, but that doesn't mean they feel they should be punished for it. Self-guilt happens in lots of circumstances which are clearly entirely victim-less, so it's important to not extrapolate unwarrantedly even if surveys did suggest that some sort of fine or whatever would be appropriate.

    • by zlives (2009072)

      write a promissory note, copy right it. when they take it sue them for x+1

    • How does fining someone many times their net worth accomplish anything?

      Someone could fine me $5 million or $50 million dollars. It doesn't change the fact that I can't ever hope to pay it.

      Are these numbers just meant to scare people, or do they *actually try* to collect many times a person's net worth from them?

      They do try to collect, because the numbers are adequately large to make it worth their while. Numbers are numbers, they don't lie.

      It's those damn statisticians that lie ...

    • by Sentrion (964745)

      Of course nobody really expects to collect from common citizens when they are caught file sharing. But a court judgment of $50 million dollars looks like a substantial loss on paper and such tactics help companies claim massive tax deductions and even to use such figures to lobby legislatures to pass special laws, get special lower tax rates, and even get subsidies.

  • ONE movie? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:21PM (#45720865)

    From the second paragraph of TFA:

    The then 25-year-old was a moderator and uploader and between April 2008 and November 2011 allegedly obtained huge quantities of content from the warez scene and shared the titles with the site’s users.

    ONE Movie!?? C'mon Slashdot.

    • by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:29PM (#45720951) Homepage Journal

      [T]he court ordered the now 28-year-old to pay $652,000 in damages for the unauthorized distribution of just one of the movies in the case. For the other 517 the man was handed a suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete 160 hours of community service.

      • by alannon (54117) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:52PM (#45721231)
        This entire thing really only makes sense if you take a look at it in terms of court costs. He was being prosecuted on 517 counts, which makes him, in my mind, much more than just a casual media pirate (as suggested by the summary). If the evidence was pretty much equally clear on each of the 517 movies, it probably saved a lot of court time and money to pin all of the substantial penalties on a single count and then suspend the rest of them. The downside for the court is that a huge amount of publicity it generated because of the "$650,000 for one movie" angle, whereas this might have caused less outrage if it had been a $1250 fine per movie, even if the total had been the same. If somebody else has another explanation as to why they would choose this bizarrely lopsided penalty, I'd like to hear it. Okay, scratch all of that. I read the related article, http://torrentfreak.com/largest-ever-bittorrent-tracker-movie-uploader-trial-concludes-131120/ [torrentfreak.com] and it says that only a single producer seeked damages. What an asshole, destroying someone's life for the sake of a 25 year old shitty horror movie.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mythosaz (572040)

      Nobody here wants to hear how he was part of an organized criminal scheme; they just want to seem clever by explaining how copying isn't theft.

      • Re:ONE movie? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Adam Colley (3026155) <mog@nOsPAM.kupo.be> on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:50PM (#45721213)

        It /isn't/ theft.

        Theft is defined (at least here) as taking someone's property with the intention of permanently depriving them of it.

        Nobody has been deprived of anything, it's a copy, the originals still exist.

        There might be /some/ argument that it's depriving the already super rich hollywood producers of their revenue but generally that assumes anyone who pirated something would have otherwise bought it which is certainly not the case. Most piracy is by children who don't have any money and could not have bought the content anyway.

        There's also the rather thorny issue of determining which user of a particular IP address pirated the content, some people have open wifi networks, should they be responsible for the actions of others simply because they chose to be a good neighbour? I think not.

        • Re:ONE movie? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @09:11PM (#45721403)

          The copyright cartel are very skilled at propaganda; it follows that they would invent emotive and abusive terms for copyright infringement, like 'theft', 'stealing', 'piracy', 'criminal', etc.

          What's truly criminal, is is the abusive, corrupt practice of bribing lawmakers (sorry, 'lobbying', or 'campaign contributions') to buy favourable laws and regulations to prop up failing business models.

          This guy gets to be yet another example.

          • by xenobyte (446878)

            The word 'stealing' implies an evil act of greed. When I infringe on copyright it is an act of last resort. I download the most recent episodes from the series that I follow. Most are never going to be aired here in my country, and there's nowhere online I can pay for these. Sure, there's probably some people out there that would accept money for the pirated content but that not what I'm talking about. I want to send money in the direction of the people that should get paid (cast, crew etc.) but there's sim

        • by fisted (2295862)
          GP neither said nor implied it was theft, so basically all you did now is trying

          to seem clever by explaining how copying isn't theft

          • by Zynder (2773551)
            GP trolled hardcore and you know it. Adam walked right into that minefield as expected so that you can then come here and say "told ya so!" I swear I've seen the same thing on Fox News....
            • by fisted (2295862)
              Oddly, I am GP.
              No idea whether GGP was trolling, i didn't read more than the first line.
              GGGP wasn't trolling I believe, but rather trying to be funny (successfully so)
        • Smuggling is a better analogy. Piracy involves the theft of good from another by force. Theft here should be understood to indicate that the victim is no longer has his property. Smuggling involves the circumvention of government enforced artificial scarcity. The victim of smuggling is often a government backed monopolist (though, sometimes it's the exchequer given how often smugglers circumvent tariffs) and will resist the end of lucrative scarcity.

          I say therefore that those who now claim the title "pira

        • Theft is defined (at least here) as taking someone's property with the intention of permanently depriving them of it.

          Nobody has been deprived of anything, it's a copy, the originals still exist.

          For example, that's not how theft is defined in Germany. In Germany it is "with the intent to enrich yourself". Depriving the other is no part of it. And clearly by making an illegal copy you are enriching yourself.

          However, it isn't theft at all because theft is only about actual physical objects. But then if you read the actual article, the movie company said "we would have sold him a license to give away free copies of this movie for $650,000. He could have bought that license. Instead he gave away the

    • by LocalH (28506)

      +4? Really, Slashdot? This AC obviously didn't read the article, and neither did anyone who modded them up.

  • Sweden? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gavrielkay (1819320) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:23PM (#45720877)
    I'm surprised at this coming from a Scandinavian country. It sounds much more like something you'd hear from a U.S. court. Common sense tells me they'd have tacked on the extra fine either way though: low quality = damage to reputation, high quality = damage to profits. There was no winning move in that sense.
    • I'm surprised at this coming from a Scandinavian country. It sounds much more like something you'd hear from a U.S. court.

      Evidently, no single country has a monopoly on ludicrous.

    • Re:Sweden? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:32PM (#45721001)
      I wonder if they're also going to fine negative reviews of that movie. Because, you know, they also damage its reputation. ;-)
    • Be careful. Issuing a negative review of a Scandinavian country might get you borked by a Swedish judge!

      • by Zynder (2773551)
        No kidding! I once went to see the loveli lakes with my seester and when she expressed her disdain for them, a moose bit her!
        • by Zynder (2773551)
          Oh and don't even get me started on what happened on our Central & South American tour....all I can say is I hope you like llamas.
    • Well, Sweden is totally bought out by the US government. Has been for a long time now. They openly inspect all traffic that goes through Sweden's border, including the traffic from Finland and Russia and report everything back to the US, and they themselves admit to doing this. That's why we have plans here to build a pipe to Germany or somewhere instead and stop using the pipe through Sweden.

  • The judge, that made that "UNWISE" ruling, should be "punished" by his peers (judge colleagues), for lowering the image of the whole judiciary system in the eyes of normal (sane) people :-)
  • Low Q? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knacklappen (526643) <knacklappen@gmx.net> on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:27PM (#45720933) Journal
    Sorry, there is (naturally) nothing in the article or the court ruling about adding an extra fine for low quality. Would have been nice, though. =:)
    • by fatphil (181876)
      This paragraph looks like the nearest in subject-matter (quality and fine mentioned), but to my eye says almost the exact opposite!

      """
      Nordisk Film A/S har till grund f&#195;&#182;r skadest&#195;&yen;ndsanspr&#195;&yen;ket &#195;&yen;beropat f&#195;&#182;ljande.
      NN har upps&#195;&yen;tligen eller av oaktsamhet gjort filmen Beck, Levande
      begravd tillg&#195;&#164;nglig f&#195;&#182;r allm&#195;&#164;nheten och har d&#195;&#164;rigeno
      • by fatphil (181876)
        And in other news, fuck you slashdot for being, well, erm, how can I put this nicely? Fucked?
        • Re:Low Q? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fisted (2295862) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @10:03PM (#45721839)
          No, this is pure PEBKAC. With your 6-digit uid you're supposed to know /. is latin1-land(*).
          You're doing it wrong on multiple levels.
          starting with a 2-byte UTF8 char (say, 0xc3a4, the UTF8-equivalent of latin1's 'ä') first you break the sequence up into 0xc3 and 0xa4, already removing all meaning, which you then convert into html-entities, apparently TWICE, so what you end up sending to slashdot actually looks like: &amp;#123; where 123 is half of a utf8 char value, on a site expecting latin1. Ehm.

          And then you loudly whine about slashdot being broken, when it (correctly) renders your input like you told it to: &#123;
          I suppose you're one of the people who curse the their TV, as in, the actual device, if nothing good is on air.

          And there's even a preview function. Dammit. You are broken.


          (*) That's not to imply I'd support that shit. Slashdot should be UTF8 (but your comment would be broken regardless)
          • by fisted (2295862)
            For completeness:

            Nordisk Film A/S har till grund för skadeståndsanspråket åberopat följande. NN har uppsåtligen eller av oaktsamhet gjort filmen Beck, Levande begravd tillgänglig för allmänheten och har därigenom gjort intrång i Nordisk Film A/S:s upphovsrätt till filmen. NN är till följd av intrången skyldig att utge dels skälig ersättning dels ersättning för ytterligare skada till följd av intrånget. Skadeståndskravet grundas på den uppladdning som ägde rum den 25 oktober 2010. NN har även laddat upp samma film den 15 maj 2010 men denna uppladdning utgjordes av en avfilmning av biofilmsversionen och var av dålig kvalitet, varför målsäganden valde att beräkna skadeståndet utifrån ett senare tillgängliggörande.

    • by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:58PM (#45721287) Homepage Journal

      What part of:

      I fallet med Beck-filmen beräknas skadeståndet bland annat på kostnaden för att licensiera filmen, på att delningen slagit mot försäljningen och för att den delade filmens kvalitet försämrat filmens rykte.

      can't you understand ? :)

      In preview mode, UTF-8 codes for å, ä and ö are displayed correctly. I used HTML entities in this note.

    • by alexhs (877055)

      Well, your nickname suggests that you might speak swedish, so it would make my previous comment not that funny for you :) Is this an issue of mistranslation, or did you miss the relevant parts ?
      In the court ruling, the relevant part seems to be pages 33-34/41, and here are excerpts (and I guess it answers my question):

      (All translations are by Google translate, corrected for a few obvious mistakes, including typos in the swedish text)

      Ersättning för annan skada
      [...]
      Marknadsstörningen har värderats till 500 000 kr.

      Damages for harm
      [...]
      Market disruption has been valued at SEK 500 000.

      Skada på filmens anseende
      Omdömet av en film påverkas tydligt av den tekniska kvalitet, ljud och bild, som den visas i. En film tillgängliggörs först i de sammanhang de tekniska förutsättningarna är bäst, bio eller dvd/bluray och därefter tv och lagliga nedladdningstjänster. Att se en illegalt nedladdad film, ofta på datorskärm med väsentligt lägre upplösning än dvd/bluray och med undermåligt ljud, försämrar filmupplevelsen betydligt. Den som har sett någon av de illegalt nedladdade filmerna far typiskt sett en sämre filmupplevelse än den som har sett originalet och detta påverkar de omdömen som skrivs på internetforum av dem som har sett de illegala filmerna. Dessa omdömen sprids mycket snabbt på internet och far ett stort genomslag. Sammantaget innebär detta en skada på filmens anseende. Denna skada har värderats till 300 000 kr.

      Damag

  • When is George Lucas writing a fat check for his Star Wars re-releases?
  • Lesson: always upload in 4K to minimize punishment.

  • by Elixon (832904) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:34PM (#45721035) Homepage Journal

    The message the judge is sending is this:

    If you pirate movies then you shall do it properly! No cam, webrip, telesync or other crap! All releases that does not match BRRip quality will be punishable by law!

    Judge is obviously very tired of all that poor quality and out-of-sync crap out there. We all are!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought Sweden was civilized?
    This is absolutely barbaric.

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:41PM (#45721107)
    Don't count on the judicial branch to come riding in on a White Horse. legalzoom [legalzoom.com]
    • by droptone (798379)
      To take a couple of examples from that list:

      In February 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee to go from McDonalds. Liebeck was sitting in the passenger seat of her nephew's car, which was pulled over so she could add sugar to her coffee. While removing the cup's lid, Liebeck spilled her hot coffee, burning her legs. It was determined that Liebeck suffered third degree burns on over six percent of her body. Originally, Liebeck sought $20,000 in damages. McDonalds refused to settle out of court. Howev

  • by jensend (71114) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:46PM (#45721175)

    I don't like to see people breaking the law. But what I really don't like to see is a torrent search where the only results are 480i DivX versions. Good grief, people. Can't you see how this damages a movie's reputation? If you must upload pirated movies, upload 1080p x264 encodes or I will double the damages when the case comes to court. Now, please excuse me; I need to get some more popcorn.

    --Christina Brobacke, Västmanlands Tingsrätt

  • Just wait the for the US movies studios to use that with the DMCA and other laws to take down bad reviews.

  • You used to be cool...
  • I detest the RIAA, MPAA, and all the rest of the organizations
    which screw both the artist AND the end user. For example, as a matter of
    principle I will never use anything from Sony again, after the root kit
    fiasco they perpetrated.

    But at some point reality has to set in, with respect to everything being "free".

    Quality films or music or books cannot be produced for free.
    And it is unreasonable to expect artists to work without being paid.
    You or I can't work without being paid -- we would starve and be homeless

  • Je should have offered to mail popcorn. That would have reduced the fine bin $10'000. I mean, every penny counts.
  • what the heck does that mean?

    it does not sound appealing to me.

    I would prefer to order the open source soup instead.

    (google translate is the weird)

  • by rwyoder (759998) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @09:27PM (#45721555)

    ...but nothing short of a script rewrite could help them.

  • Now that is "fark ready" headline.

  • by koan (80826)

    I wonder if they give MacGuffin releases less of a fine.

  • by Misagon (1135) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @07:28AM (#45724439)

    4.3 million SEK is probably a large portion of the movie's total revenue, if not surprassing what it has already made.
    It was made for ad-funded free TV for Chris's sake ...

    It got low reviews from critics, and the series was already a trite.
    Would filesharing it at low quality really degrade it's quality? Sorry, but you can't polish a turd.

    (No offence to my cousin's husband who plays the lead in this movie. He's got to eat too...)

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