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The Courts Crime Microsoft Piracy

Czech Judge Cuts Deal With Software Pirate: Get 200K YouTube Views Or Pay Huge Fine 95

An anonymous reader writes: A judge allowed a software pirate to make a anti-piracy PSA and get away from paying a $373,000 / €351,000 fine he owed Microsoft and other software manufacturers. The only condition was that his video should get over 200,000 views on YouTube. From the BBC's coverage of the trial's unusual outcome: [The defendant, known only as Jakub F] came to the out-of-court settlement with a host of firms whose software he pirated after being convicted by a Czech court. In return, they agreed not to sue him. ... The firms, which included Microsoft, HBO Europe, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox, estimated that the financial damage amounted to 5.7m Czech Crowns (£148,000). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represented Microsoft, acknowledged that Jakub could not pay that sum. Instead, the companies said they would be happy to receive only a small payment and his co-operation in the production of the video. In order for the firms' promise not to sue to be valid, they said, the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week. ... But, if the video did not reach the target, the spokesman said that — "in theory" — the firms would have grounds to bring a civil case for damages."
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Czech Judge Cuts Deal With Software Pirate: Get 200K YouTube Views Or Pay Huge Fine

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:19PM (#51009289)

    And thus he is probably fine.

    but not fined.

    Right.

  • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:24PM (#51009299)

    Just don't use proprietary software. Simple as that, no legal risk.

    I don't want Windows or Office or that Adobe thingy, not even if its for free as in money.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:50PM (#51009421)

      Actually I think if he does make an anti-piracy PSA, he should go exactly on that angle.

      "Kids, don't download closed source software on the internet. I know they're charging hundreds of dollars that you can't afford, but they'll rip you a new asshole like they're trying to do to me! Instead, search out and use FREE open sourced software. There are plenty of options for just about every program you could need, completely free, and no risks of a legal shake down by companies such as microsoft who add spyware to their programming anyway!

      Please take a look in the description for links to many free linux installers, helpful how-to videos on how to install them, as well as a large list of free software sites! Don't be a part of the piracy problem, be a part of the solution of freedom from bug-written, backdoored, closed sourced, software!

      Remember to like and subscribe!"

      • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @05:43PM (#51009807) Journal
        What part of "his co-operation in the production of the video" makes you think he will get to write the script?
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          No matter what is in the video, what makes you think the foolish judge has not turned him into an instant internet hero and made the pigopolists look even worse. Especially to all those views from people who can not speak Czech and just viewed the content to 'argh' support the pirate 239,002 when I added my support. So to be fair what are the latest penalties for abusing DMCA takedown, still fuck all?

    • As if that could protect you from being sued.

    • He wasn't USING the software. He was uploading it to various warez forums for others. This is actually the exact sort of person these businesses and courts should be targeting rather than the end users. Sadly this seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:29PM (#51009319)
    The going rate for YouTube Views on Fiverr is around $5 per 3000.
  • I have a hunch something like this will easily go viral and easily get the 200k views in a matter of days.

  • Mostly a Fake! (Score:5, Informative)

    by paskie ( 539112 ) <pasky AT ucw DOT cz> on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:38PM (#51009371) Homepage

    This is mostly a fake story fabricated by the local anti-piracy organizations.

    The judge has nothing to do with it - the guy was sentenced and released on parole, with no damages granted - the associations were referred to civil legal proceedings, and *one* of the associations made an out-of-court settlement offer to the guy. They'll make a viral video about him and the association will not sue.

    The $373,000 are damages that would be claimed by the association, but these damages are typically grossly overestimated and only fractions of the claims are granted by Czech courts. The judges usually require detailed analysis of the damages to get convinced what to grant.

    Skilled news spinning, in short.

    • It's posts like these giving the inside scoop which make slashdot great. So is he still on the hook for actions from the other organisations?
  • Hoax - sort of (Score:5, Informative)

    by awe_cz ( 818201 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:38PM (#51009373)
    This is a PR campaign orchestrated by BSA (Business Software Aliance), see this article (in czech, google translated) https://translate.google.com/t... [google.com] It's not right to pirate software but it's also not right to lie, shame on you, BSA.
  • So wait... what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat. c o m> on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:43PM (#51009401) Journal

    The firms, which included Microsoft, HBO Europe, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox, estimated that the financial damage amounted to 5.7m Czech Crowns (£148,000). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represented Microsoft, acknowledged that Jakub could not pay that sum. Instead, the companies said they would be happy to receive only a small payment and his co-operation in the production of the video. In order for the firms' promise not to sue to be valid, they said, the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week.

    How will not getting 200,000 views enable him to be more able to pay the amount he is said to owe, exactly? If the whole point of cooperating with them and making the video was to reduce his damages, apparently on the basis that he supposedly would not be able to afford the damages in the first place, it seems entirely pointless to threaten to come back and sue him for just as much if it doesn't reach a particular view count.

    That said, this story is probably high-profile enough that he will probably get the requisite number of views anyway.

    • He also isn't making the PSA - he's appearing in it, but he's really just an actor playing himself. He isn't writing it, or directing it.

      It's a stunt, but a harmless one. The use of a real person as a case study heightens emotional connection to the audience, and the 'view or sue' novelty ensures plenty of media coverage (like this) that will ensure the video is widely seen. There are a lot of things competing for people's attention on the internet, it takes something unusual to be noticed.

      • It's backfired (for me) in the sense that "wow, these fuckers are evil - do I really want to support that ?"

        Probably not; which is the best linux distro? I need to do development too.

        • They're all pretty much the same really. Ubuntu (and it's bastard children) seem to be updated better than the others, but I use OpenSUSE, because of mono.

          • I too use OpenSUSE, because it was the first to support btrfs, and btrfs is really nice. Even if it still has a lot of bugs in.

  • Streisand Effect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @03:50PM (#51009419)

    As a legal tactic.... brilliant!

  • Oldie but still my favorite:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF9rT1RHhAQ [youtube.com] RIAA PSA Commercial

    I think the only thing stopping the copyright regimes from doing that for real is they're still trying to get the legislation passed via their paid congress ppl.

  • I still think that the original video [youtube.com] was much better.
  • His view count seems to be stuck at 194130 views for the past few minutes. Doesn't YouTube update the view count every minute or so?

  • by xororand ( 860319 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @04:56PM (#51009671)

    Publishers often refer to copying they don't approve of as "piracy." In this way, they imply that it is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnapping and murdering the people on them. Based on such propaganda, they have procured laws in most of the world to forbid copying in most (or sometimes all) circumstances. (They are still pressuring to make these prohibitions more complete.)

    If you don't believe that copying not approved by the publisher is just like kidnapping and murder, you might prefer not to use the word "piracy" to describe it. Neutral terms such as "unauthorized copying" (or "prohibited copying" for the situation where it is illegal) are available for use instead.

    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy... [gnu.org]

    • http://copyrightsandcampaigns.... [blogspot.com] "Which got me thinking: where does the use of "piracy" to refer to copyright infringement come from? Was the term appropriated from the "ay, matey" pirates in a secret 1999 meeting of RIAA flacks, as they girded for battle with Napster? Hardly. When I started looking into it, I was somewhat surprised to learn that "piracy" has been used as a synonym (or near-synonym) for copyright infringement for about 350 years. In his exhaustive etymological study of the terms "piracy"
    • For years I told my niece I was a pirate with a straight face. You should have seen the look on her face when she realized I wasn't lying. Don't take that away from me :).
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Do you also campaign to reclaim the word "hacker'? Those battles are lost.

  • To game the system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @05:25PM (#51009757)

    the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week.

    How about robotically-generated views from numerous cloud instances temporarily stood up for the purpose of generating simulated views?

  • The financial damage equalled 148,000.00 GBP = 223,493.93 USD [xe.com] but he 'owed' these companies $373, 000 ? Huh?

    Anyone feel like using their botnet to 'view' the video (exactly) 200,000 times?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I missed a few words, but as best as I can make out, it's this:
    --------
    My name is Jacob
    Just a few hours ago I was on the same side of the monitor as you
    You can't begin to suspect how easy it to get here
    here where the virtual world of 1s and 0s gets an all too real shape
    Ctrl-C Ctrl-V continually
    I was in communication of people who made warez, I spread illegal computer programs, but I did not feel like I was doing anything illegal
    We took from wealthy firms and ???? (TN: did not catch this part)
    I did it for 8

  • I hope he has ads set up with youtube. I'd love for him to make a few thousand dollars and cover his defense costs.
    • He's only an actor playing himself; the BSA made the video and owns the site (and assumedly runs ads on it to cover their prosecution costs).

  • Someone should send a DMCA Takedown request to the video & see if Sony and Fox appreciate the same tactics they've been using against lawful videos.

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