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Piracy Crime Movies United Kingdom

33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater 465

Posted by Soulskill
from the know-when-to-fold-'em dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Philip Danks used a camcorder to record Fast & Furious 6 in a U.K. cinema. Later, he shared it via bittorrent and allegedly sold physical copies. Now, he's been sentenced to 33 months in prison for his actions. "In Court it was claimed that Danks' uploading of Fast 6 resulted in more than 700,000 downloads, costing Universal Pictures and the wider industry millions of pounds in losses." Danks was originally told police weren't going to take any action against him, but he unwisely continued to share the movie files after his initial detainment with authorities.
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33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

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  • SOLD them (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:04AM (#47729459)

    Making a copy for yourself is one thing, but selling them is another. THAT is copyright violation.

    I would say he got 33 months for that, not the act of recording it.

  • by tgeek (941867) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:10AM (#47729535)
    Nah, the real crime here is . . . STUPIDITY:

    1. He failed to sufficiently anonymize his upload and got caught (I'm unclear if he was caught from his p2p or physical sales though).
    2. When he DID get caught, he didn't cease doing something that would land him in jail
    3. We can (and have!) debated all day long about the morality of p2p sharing . . . but he went a step further and was monetarily profiting from his acts (albeit via physical media as opposed to p2p sharing). I think it's safe to say most people don't agree with this.

    Now is a 33 month prison sentence fair for gross stupidity? /shrug I've heard of worse . . .
  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:15AM (#47729579) Journal
    Actually, they should have caned him. 33 months in prison is stupid. Beat him 40 times and send him home.
  • by TWX (665546) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:25AM (#47729697)
    Yes, this happened in the UK, not the US, but I don't think that the point I'm about to make is invalid...

    Crimes and punishments need to be re-evaluated. No truly-victimless crime (personally using drugs without any intent to distribute, for example), when being the only crime, should never receive stronger sentences than crimes that don't affect persons directly and only lightly, at best, affect corporations (like this theatre-cam incident), and those types of crimes should never receive stronger sentences than for those where a person is individually victimized or significant chattel property is stolen (mugging, home burglary, car theft, etc), then would come violent personal crimes (any crime involving brandishing of a weapon, battery, threats of a greater harm like using the claim of a planted bomb, etc) and crimes where a person's life-savings were taken putting them into severe hardship, etc.

    The scale should be steep; it should take numerous, numerous counts of the small crimes to even approach the sentences of the next crime up the scale, and the nature of what becomes a count should accurately reflect what's going on. In the case of providing copyrighted material, the law needs to bear in mind that much of the time the material would not have been purchased by the consumer had it not been available for free anyway, so the actual damage to the content creator is lower than usually represented.
  • by ruir (2709173) on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:32AM (#47729771) Homepage
    I would be fine with metal detectors at theatres. While you are at it, besides shoving down their throat one hour of adverts as it already happens, whip them too. I am not going to theatres anyway, these people do not deserve our hard earned money. As for the proceedings of the movies trickling down to actors or people, or the actual book writers, dream on, Hollywood accounting makes sure they only get a pittance.
  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:42AM (#47729929)

    "If he deliberately recorded and actually sold physical or digital copies, I have no sympathy for him. Why would I?"

    33 months prison for 'violating' an imaginary right invented by a foreign industry to increase their profits?

    What would you say if you got that much prison for drinking out of a puddle after a rain instead of the tap you pay for, just because the water company invented an unlicensed water drinking offense?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2014 @10:47AM (#47729985)

    And what benefit does jail time give the public? Jail time for non-violent offenders is the stupidest, most useless thing we could do with these people. There are all sorts of public services that are in dire need of manpower. A shit ton of community service as a punishment is far far far more useful than just incarcerating people. I find it astonishing how primitive and archaic peoples' thinking is when it comes to punishments for crimes. Just like we don't spank kids anymore because it's pointless and counterproductive, we should also stop "spanking" non-violent offenders but put them to good use instead.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Friday August 22, 2014 @11:06AM (#47730197)

    And what benefit does jail time give the public? Jail time for non-violent offenders is the stupidest, most useless thing we could do with these people. There are all sorts of public services that are in dire need of manpower. A shit ton of community service as a punishment is far far far more useful than just incarcerating people. I find it astonishing how primitive and archaic peoples' thinking is when it comes to punishments for crimes. Just like we don't spank kids anymore because it's pointless and counterproductive, we should also stop "spanking" non-violent offenders but put them to good use instead.

    Agreed, though this sentence is meant to dissuade other would be uploaders from copyright infringement. That is the point of the sentence, for others to think twice before uploading. Much like not all tax evaders in the U.S. are caught, the IRS will make an example of high profile celebrities.

  • by DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:22PM (#47731559) Homepage

    What would you say if you got that much prison for drinking out of a puddle after a rain instead of the tap you pay for

    I don't think I'd be particularly concerned, assuming:

    • He was also charging people for that same puddle of water
    • The puddle of water was created by the water industry at great expense
    • The industry had a legal right to the puddle of water, with precedents going back centuries.
    • Drinking the water was purely for entertainment, and not a requirement for continued living

    I'm not saying 33 months isn't an excessive sentence, but you just sound dumb when you make these comparisons.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:06PM (#47733323)

    It is not punishing his family. It is restoring them to the status they would have been in if the culprit had not committed his crime.

    That's not necessarily true. While his children may have benefited from growing up in a home with extra money, they are likely not benefiting from that money anymore (that source dried up a long time go), and taking their property does nothing but punish them for the acts of their father.

    You believe it is appropriate to punish the children of a criminal when the criminal himself is no longer available for your revenge? Would you be receptive to someone who knocked on your door with a confiscation notice for your car because your father stole $100 from someone 20 years go and your father isn't around to be punished, so you must be in his place? How many generations would it take before the father's crimes would be cleared from the blood of the progeny?

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