IMer Pleads Guilty To Criminal Copyright Infringement

83 replies
Will the keepers of the illegal IM product vaults be next? One can only hope.

A North Carolina IMer who had an illegal download site, monetized it with advertising and accepted donations that resulted in his thieving customers getting the keys to the piracy vault so they steal even more has pleaded guilty in Virginia to criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy.

Matthew David Howard Smith, 23, faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Founder of NinjaVideo Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Conspiracy
#copyright #criminal #guilty #imer #infringement #pleads
  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    Check out the site now:
    This domain name has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations

    I was curious what they were about as I knew nothing about that site. I was met by DOJ logos and a statement. Kind of interesting to say the least.
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    Tim Pears

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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    Look for more stories like this, in the very near future, as I have said numerous times over the last two years, the internet police are about to seriously effect the Internet Marketing world, In 2012 the new FTC guides will begin to be enforced, a lot of people are not even aware that they are in violation of these rules, and it is not going to be very pleasant if your unaware of how this will effect your business.

    This is just the beginning...
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  • Profile picture of the author calhoun
    Wow, ten years in prison for something that was done on the internet. Not just any prison but federal. That's where the bad people go. So this guy, who never harmed anyone physically is going to get locked up alongside former gang members? Be careful guys.

    Ten years is a long time. A decade. That's so scary.
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    • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
      Originally Posted by calhoun View Post

      Wow, ten years in prison for something that was done on the internet. Not just any prison but federal. That's where the bad people go. So this guy, who never harmed anyone physically is going to get locked up alongside former gang members? Be careful guys.

      Ten years is a long time. A decade. That's so scary.
      If you rob the bank, where do you go?

      The only difference is he robbed and then marketed his stolen goods online for more cash..
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      Whats the latest movie you watched? Anything good?

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      • Profile picture of the author Christine2011
        Originally Posted by Suthan M View Post

        If you rob the bank, where do you go?

        The only difference is he robbed and then marketed his stolen goods online for more cash..
        LOL... good point.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by calhoun View Post

      Wow, ten years in prison for something that was done on the internet. Not just any prison but federal. That's where the bad people go. So this guy, who never harmed anyone physically is going to get locked up alongside former gang members? Be careful guys.

      Ten years is a long time. A decade. That's so scary.
      Never harmed anyone? What about the movie and tv industry and all the people who earn their livings from those industries? Stealing their copyrighted property that they make a living from is harming them and their families.

      So, if someone comes to your house and robs you silly, but doesn't harm you physically, you're ok with that?
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      • Profile picture of the author Ti
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Never harmed anyone? What about the movie and tv industry and all the people who earn their livings from those industries? Stealing their copyrighted property that they make a living from is harming them and their families.

        So the father who films a video of his baby's first steps in his home, something which happens only ONCE in the child's lifetime, which has a TV in the background showing Glee, should face a felony charge when he uploads the video to Youtube to showcase his child to his family because his website which linked the Youtube video has Google Adsense?

        Corporations have created copyright laws not to product their interest in a fair and reasonable manner, but instead to abuse civilians and rob them of freedom and finances. To think otherwise is to be extremely naive and insulting.

        No offense It is unfortunate that the greater purpose of copyright laws is not widespread information to the general public.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Ti View Post

          So the father who films a video of his baby's first steps in his home, something which happens only ONCE in the child's lifetime, which has a TV in the background showing Glee, should face a felony charge when he uploads the video to Youtube to showcase his child to his family because his website which linked the Youtube video has Google Adsense?
          Are you serious?

          You're equating a home video with a TV on in the background to a full-fledged piracy operation?

          You have to be kidding...
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            Corporations have created copyright laws not to product their interest in a fair and reasonable manner, but instead to abuse civilians and rob them of freedom and finances. To think otherwise is to be extremely naive and insulting.
            Interesting attitude - it's the excuse of those who try to justify their actions. It's the entitlement of "I need" used to excuse taking things others have worked to build and using it for your own gain.

            There is a tendency for IMers to find excuses for what they do or to excuse others. Too young, didn't know, didn't mean to.... didn't realize I'd get caught...didn't think I'd really get punished.... When you find excuses to justify what is nothing more than theft, you say something about your own ethical stance.

            I think some here would argue if you rob a small bank you should get a shorter sentence

            This guy is 23 - at what point do people become adults and responsible for their own actions?

            kay
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        • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
          Originally Posted by Ti View Post

          So the father who films a video of his baby's first steps in his home, something which happens only ONCE in the child's lifetime, which has a TV in the background showing Glee, should face a felony charge when he uploads the video to Youtube to showcase his child to his family because his website which linked the Youtube video has Google Adsense?

          Corporations have created copyright laws not to product their interest in a fair and reasonable manner, but instead to abuse civilians and rob them of freedom and finances. To think otherwise is to be extremely naive and insulting.

          No offense It is unfortunate that the greater purpose of copyright laws is not widespread information to the general public.
          You are joking, aren't you?

          I assume that you have a real-life example to point to as the basis of your extreme, and extremely misguided, portrait of the proud father? Thought not. Let not your imagination run wild.

          Corporations didn't create copyright laws. The framers of the U.S. Constitution did, as part of the framework of basic private property rights in this country. To think they were created by corporations to abuse civilians is naive, insulting and ignorant.
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        • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
          Originally Posted by Ti View Post

          So the father who films a video of his baby's first steps in his home, something which happens only ONCE in the child's lifetime, which has a TV in the background showing Glee, should face a felony charge when he uploads the video to Youtube to showcase his child to his family because his website which linked the Youtube video has Google Adsense?
          This (and the unquoted balance of your post) is reality-inverting, fantastic idiocy on full display for the world to see. It is the precise kind of reality-inverting, fantastic idiocy that undermines confidence in Internet Marketing as a noble pursuit and clouds the issues that law enforcement encounters 24/7/365.

          Even when law enforcement scores a win for the protection of property rights -- and thus scores a win on behalf of the public and businesses large and small -- the Fantastic Idiots Wing of IM always can be counted on to obfuscate and to create a thick layer of fog and ground clutter.

          Patrick
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      • Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Never harmed anyone? What about the movie and tv industry and all the people who earn their livings from those industries? Stealing their copyrighted property that they make a living from is harming them and their families.

        So, if someone comes to your house and robs you silly, but doesn't harm you physically, you're ok with that?
        Yeah, I mean think of those poor celebrities. Now that a small minority are downloading their work they wont be able to buy that gold plated swimming pool they always wanted. Or that mansion with the giant fountain in the South of France.

        It needs to stop.
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        • Profile picture of the author spearce000
          Originally Posted by GoodnightSweetRatRace View Post

          Yeah, I mean think of those poor celebrities. Now that a small minority are downloading their work they wont be able to buy that gold plated swimming pool they always wanted. Or that mansion with the giant fountain in the South of France.

          It needs to stop.
          Most people in the film business don't make anything like that sort of money. Next time you see a movie, stay behind to read the credits at the end. Look at the number of jobs there are. See how many other businesses were involved other than the studio/ production company. These are the people who take a hit when a movie gets pirated - not the leading actor!
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        • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
          Originally Posted by GoodnightSweetRatRace View Post

          Yeah, I mean think of those poor celebrities. Now that a small minority are downloading their work they wont be able to buy that gold plated swimming pool they always wanted. Or that mansion with the giant fountain in the South of France.

          It needs to stop.
          When you suggest that it's OK to steal from wealthy or well-known job-creators and owners of property, do you write the PR talking points yourself or farm them out?

          Is it OK to steal from less-well-to-do folks, too?

          Patrick
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Somebody call maintenance - the filter on the gene pool isn't working again...
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        • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
          Originally Posted by GoodnightSweetRatRace View Post

          Yeah, I mean think of those poor celebrities. Now that a small minority are downloading their work they wont be able to buy that gold plated swimming pool they always wanted. Or that mansion with the giant fountain in the South of France.

          It needs to stop.
          Another post full of faulty logic. You're missing the reality and the bigger point that the vast majority of people who work in the film and music industries don't make millions of dollars. Let's talk about the key grip, the back stage manager, the camera person, the graphic designer, the choreographer, the editors, etc. Sure, the well known celebrities are going to make their huge sums of money, but people stealing are costing a lot of other people their jobs.

          The next time you watch a movie, watch all the credits at the end of the movie. There are usually hundreds of names listed. These are all people who got paid to make that movie. The same thing goes with music. There are a lot of people involved in making that music.

          This is something that some of the thieves don't think about (or couldn't care about) because all they care about is getting something for nothing. They aren't getting it for nothing, there is a real cost associated with it and one of the costs are jobs.

          RoD
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    • Profile picture of the author ClaireFisher
      Originally Posted by calhoun View Post

      Not just any prison but federal. That's where the bad people go.
      Hahahahaha.......like Martha Stewart? :p

      The Federal Pen is better than the State. I don't plan on taking up residence at either, but I'd rather be in Federal.


      It just goes back to knowing the law. Do you read the TOS? No. That would take forever. Common sense is key, but this kid knew he was doing something illegal.
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      Originally Posted by calhoun View Post

      Wow, ten years in prison for something that was done on the internet. Not just any prison but federal. That's where the bad people go. So this guy, who never harmed anyone physically is going to get locked up alongside former gang members? Be careful guys.

      Ten years is a long time. A decade. That's so scary.
      That's a huge part of the problem - people mistakenly think that infringing on copyright online is OK because no one is harmed by it.

      @Justin - they're not going after some kid that innocuously uploaded a video from MTV to YouTube to share with his friends. They're going after the providers...the dealers if you will, that are profiting off blatant, willful infringement.

      And hopefully at some point, they'll revisit rules on sites like YouTube, and force them to take ownership of policing their own site.

      We're really still in the beginning of this...there's a lot more to come.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
        I hope the b-lack hat sites that sell pirated versions of e-books (including many offered via WSO's) are next on the list.

        Folks, if your stuff being stolen and sold or offered for "free" via donations report them to the feds!

        We have a history of saying "oh, they would never buy anyway so just ignore them" and that gives them the impunity to steal and rip us off.

        If we all start at least reporting the offending site maybe it will make it into the feds radar.

        A lot of these kids really don't see anything wrong from stealing info products since it's "on the Internet". Maybe seeing this when they visit their favorite BH/"sharing" site would help:


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        • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
          Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

          I hope the b-lack hat sites that sell pirated versions of e-books (including many offered via WSO's) are next on the list.

          Folks, if your stuff being stolen and sold or offered for "free" via donations report them to the feds!

          At that Justice Departments site is this: "To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov"


          One of my neighbors is in Federal Prison at the moment. It seems he scammed the IRS out of almost $700,000 in taxes owed. They caught him. He is in a minimum security federal prison with other white collar crime inmates. I think he has another 3 or 4 months of his 18 month term to serve.

          Fortunately for his family, the business he owns is still doing well being run by his employees. This has kept his family in their very nice, large home, and it will give him the income to pay back the Feds.

          Several years ago I gave a talk at one of these minimum security prisons. I was surprised to find the front door open, and it simply led into a room where prisoners could access vending machines. There were 3 or 4 unarmed guards near the door, and they and the prisoners were actually quite friendly toward each other. It was not at all what I expected.

          That said, I am guessing the fellows who owned the NijaVideo site, probably won't have a source of income to pay back all the royalties owed to the copyright owners.

          :-Don
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

          I hope the b-lack hat sites that sell pirated versions of e-books (including many offered via WSO's) are next on the list.

          Folks, if your stuff being stolen and sold or offered for "free" via donations report them to the feds!

          We have a history of saying "oh, they would never buy anyway so just ignore them" and that gives them the impunity to steal and rip us off.

          If we all start at least reporting the offending site maybe it will make it into the feds radar.

          A lot of these kids really don't see anything wrong from stealing info products since it's "on the Internet". Maybe seeing this when they visit their favorite BH/"sharing" site would help:
          Well, since the feds are equally targeting the Make Money Online sites and products, that could have unintended results. The feds could care less about Internet Marketing ebooks being ripped off. ICE was created specifically to go after the people sharing copyrighted movies and tv shows.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            Well, since the feds are equally targeting the Make Money Online sites and products, that could have unintended results. The feds could care less about Internet Marketing ebooks being ripped off. ICE was created specifically to go after the people sharing copyrighted movies and tv shows.
            Good caveat, if you have products promising to make "$100K per minute by pushing three buttons" when it's just BS then they deserve to be targeted as well.

            But if they're on the up and up, they should report these sites. And they just don't steal Internet marketing e-books.
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            • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
              Banned
              Sigh....read, people. He could get UP TO 10 years. That doesn't mean he will get 10 years. It's possible he'll get little or no time, especially if he testifies against the other 4 defendants who decided to go to trial. Even those guys aren't going to get 10 years if found guilty.

              What I want to know is how they had access to movies that hadn't even been released yet.

              Many of the movies offered on the website were still playing in theaters, while others had not yet been released.
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              • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
                Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

                What I want to know is how they had access to movies that hadn't even been released yet.
                Copies of soon to be released films are often distributed to movie critics for review. I suspect that is how they got a hold of them.

                Just a guess...

                Bill
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                • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
                  Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

                  Sigh....read, people. He could get UP TO 10 years. That doesn't mean he will get 10 years. It's possible he'll get little or no time, especially if he testifies against the other 4 defendants who decided to go to trial. Even those guys aren't going to get 10 years if found guilty.

                  What I want to know is how they had access to movies that hadn't even been released yet.
                  Originally Posted by mywebwork View Post

                  Copies of soon to be released films are often distributed to movie critics for review. I suspect that is how they got a hold of them.

                  Just a guess...

                  Bill
                  Many movies are recorded while someone is watching them in the theater.
                  They use small camcorders or video cameras then upload the videos to the
                  download sites.

                  I started a thread about this a while back because I felt bad after I had
                  borrowed a video from a friend of a friend that clearly showed someone
                  getting up in front of the person recording the video at the theater.

                  I didn't know it at the time. Only after we began to watch did I realize it.
                  Kinda thought it was weird that they had a copy of it when it wasn't
                  yet released to the public on DVD.


                  Have a Great Day!
                  Michael
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                  • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
                    Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

                    Many movies are recorded while someone is watching them in the theater.
                    They use small camcorders or video cameras then upload the videos to the
                    download sites.

                    I started a thread about this a while back because I felt bad after I had
                    borrowed a video from a friend of a friend that clearly showed someone
                    getting up in front of the person recording the video at the theater.

                    I didn't know it at the time. Only after we began to watch did I realize it.
                    Kinda thought it was weird that they had a copy of it when it wasn't
                    yet released to the public on DVD.


                    Have a Great Day!
                    Michael
                    I bought one of those when I visited Bangkok, Thailand. I was like wow, how did they get that movie so soon and it's so cheap. My friend told me it was probably filmed by someone who snuck in a camcorder in the theater.

                    Sure enough. So weird.

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                • Profile picture of the author JimmyR
                  Originally Posted by mywebwork View Post

                  Copies of soon to be released films are often distributed to movie critics for review. I suspect that is how they got a hold of them.

                  Just a guess...

                  Bill
                  Don't think this really happens anymore. It used to be very popular but I suspect they are massively cracking down. It would be very easy for them to watermark these copies and instantly track down the release source
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    • Profile picture of the author capitalalchemy
      Originally Posted by NY1 View Post

      Lol, he won't be locked up with gang members, they rarely go to federal prison. When they do, they go to ADX and that's not where he is going to go. Federal prison is not necessarily worse than a state prison, in fact, many times it is better. If you are a geeky business guy... you want to go to federal over most state pens.

      He'll be locked up with crooked business people in a Club Fed at worst. Crimes like that they don't lock you up with "violent" criminals, they lock you up with crooked business people and serve a vegan lunch right after state run pilates programs. Think Martha Stewart... not Pelican Bay.

      Now, if he went to a state prison, that would be a different story. That is where gang bangers go. Even then, though, he would go to a minimum security pen, not a medium or max, so he would not be around gang bangers, just people in on drug poss charges, larcenies and simple assaults. They might wave a flag, but they ain't bangin.

      As far as him not being violent... there are plenty of non violent criminals on drug charges in prisons... what's good for the hood is good for the suburbs.

      No reason why a dude from where I grew up should get 5 years for holding a bag while a kid from the burbs can get away with internet crimes. You can do a lot more financial damage on the web than you can on the corner.

      Well, at least he'll learn a lot while he's there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dash Evra
    He and his partners totally deserve it. I mean, come on... Providing people tools to download free movies? For a couple of "smart guys," that's pretty dumb!
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Says
    I feel copyright infringment is a huge thing, but some people don't really understand it. This guy probably understood what he was doing, especially because he stole from others. But there are many copyright infringments that are first time offenses and are taken way too far.
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    • Profile picture of the author beks001
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
      Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

      They should totally put their focus on actual homeland security and stop worrying about these petty crimes . . .
      Economic security is homeland security. There will neither be economic security nor homeland security if creators and entrepreneurs are denied the fruits of their craft by organized pirates and vast sums of wealth get channeled to and claimed by white-collar criminals.

      The legitimate creators in this case were used as a free labor force so IM thieves could line their pockets while building nothing but a theft factory. "Customers" even could order what they wanted to have stolen. This is destroying the value of intellectual property, the chief organizing principles of the marketplace, the turbines of trade -- and it undermining the legitimate economy in favor of the black market.

      Patrick
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      • Profile picture of the author cjreynolds
        Originally Posted by Patrick Pretty View Post

        Economic security is homeland security. There will neither be economic security nor homeland security if creators and entrepreneurs are denied the fruits of their craft by organized pirates and vast sums of wealth get channeled to and claimed by white-collar criminals.

        The legitimate creators in this case were used as a free labor force so IM thieves could line their pockets while building nothing but a theft factory. "Customers" even could order what they wanted to have stolen. This is destroying the value of intellectual property, the chief organizing principles of the marketplace, the turbines of trade -- and it undermining the legitimate economy in favor of the black market.

        Patrick
        We should all be concerned about copyright laws, even if our concern is only self-preservation. I've been making (and trying to make) a living from my own intellectual property for years now, and it doesn't serve my best interest to support the idea of intellectual property theft - not only from a moral standpoint but an economic one, also.

        joe
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    • Profile picture of the author PleaseHelpMe
      I recently started using Copyscape in order to protect my content and what a surprise it is to see how some blatantly copy from my website.

      It is also good to check content your receive from writers that you hire. I caught one who gave me somebody else's work. Glad I caught it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
    Saw an instance this morning in which a serial spammer was using a free Blogspot (Blogger) Blog to promote a purported "free" videocast of today's NFL games. I mean, it was just brazen:

    1.) Serial spamming.
    2.) Use of free hosting platform as possible bid to forestall domain seizure.
    3.) Monetized with advertising, including audio/video popups that played instantly.
    4.) A bid to download an executable.
    5.) An apparent registration form.
    6.) An apparent video player that used the logos of famous journalism companies and the words "as seen on."

    Man, they really will steal it and monetize it -- even when it's nailed down to the limits of technology and despite the law.

    Patrick
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  • Profile picture of the author 1Dina
    This is just the beginning...expect a lot more of these sketchy sites to go down. Copyright infringement is definitely not an OK thing.

    Do you think he should pay a fine and jail time or just a big fine?
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    • Profile picture of the author InfoMania Online
      This is definitely scary even for those that are honest. However if they are able to rid the world of crooked online IMers, that will be good for us right? I will just keep checking my sites to make sure I am in compliance.
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      • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
        Originally Posted by InfoMania Online View Post

        [SIZE="3"][FONT="Book Antiqua"][B][COLOR="Blue"]This is definitely scary even for those that are honest.
        It is no more scary than watching the news and seeing somebody busted for any other crime. Don't break the law and you will have nothing to worry about. With that being said, you should set out to know the law, so you do not inadvertently break it. Ignorance is not an excuse.
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    • BUT, where are all you "Copyright infringement is definitely not an OK thing" when someone is selling a blatant infringement WSO right here on the forum?
      Just yesterday........Well, it turns out "it's not copyright infringement if he was never going to let them download the movie anyway". I told him it's fraud instead.
      Never mind, I'm ranting,
      Stef

      Originally Posted by 1Dina View Post

      This is just the beginning...expect a lot more of these sketchy sites to go down. Copyright infringement is definitely not an OK thing.

      Do you think he should pay a fine and jail time or just a big fine?
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  • Profile picture of the author MattVit
    Firstly, he broke the law. I agree he did the wrong thing. Just so that's clear...

    But this is SO typical of the American 'justice' system. Punish, punish, punish. It's literally a joke that the US has the highest incarceration rate. I mean... Americans are the first to dig on other nationalities for their treacherousness and uncivilized culture. Come on... seriously?

    The view on this is wrong. What we have here is a kid who is self-employed, starting a business the easy way (which was the illegal and wrong way). He found the cheapest source of supplier, made a 'shop' to 'sell' these goods indirectly through ads and donations. The supplies are highly sought after at the price he made them available for.
    It's a business.

    With this in mind... has anyone heard of 'rehabilitation'? What would be better, throwing away money to punish him, or spending (significantly less) money on helping him to run a legitimate business? Sure, put him away for a few months, teach him a lesson, 'punish' him, but give him the tools to do what he was doing LEGALLY.

    Good on the kid for trying to make his own way. However, on the flip side, what a lazy way to go about it, hey!

    Source: my Bachelor of Criminology course.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by MattVit View Post

      With this in mind... has anyone heard of 'rehabilitation'? What would be better, throwing away money to punish him, or spending (significantly less) money on helping him to run a legitimate business? Sure, put him away for a few months, teach him a lesson, 'punish' him, but give him the tools to do what he was doing LEGALLY.
      Matt, without the kind of retribution you're talking about, there would be no 'Australia'... (tongue in cheek)

      Seriously, though, I believe this is less about retribution than it is about deterrence. Look at the folks just in this thread who think the sentence was severe, and would not want it for themselves.

      Don't believe the 'kid' will actually spend ten years in jail. Odds are, he'll serve about 18 months in a minimum security facility. With access to all the educational tools he wants, including the Internet. If he wants to acquire the tools to do things legally, he'll have the opportunity.

      But the government will still have the means to act quickly if he backslides.

      If the thought of ten years in the graybar hotel scares one kid enough to keep him on the straight and narrow, it's an accomplishment.

      If it were purely about punishment, we'd find some far off island and just dump him there...
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      • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Matt, without the kind of retribution you're talking about, there would be no 'Australia'... (tongue in cheek)
        Hmmm... don't tell that joke in Australia. Quick way to lower the temperature in the room significantly.


        Originally Posted by Rod Cortez View Post


        It's actually so much easier to make money legally, I don't understand why people even bother. All that energy put into these kinds of schemes and then always worrying about looking over your shoulder. No thanks.

        RoD
        So true.. if that kid had put the same kind of nous and energy that he put into an illegal scam, into building a legitimate business he'd probably be making some great money and wouldn't be going to jail.
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    • Profile picture of the author Patrick Pretty
      Originally Posted by MattVit View Post

      . . . What we have here is a kid who is self-employed, starting a business the easy way (which was the illegal and wrong way). He found the cheapest source of supplier, made a 'shop' to 'sell' these goods indirectly through ads and donations. The supplies are highly sought after at the price he made them available for. It's a business.
      I think you described his method well, but severely downplayed the damage it caused while going heavy on the language syrup to downplay the criminality. This was nothing short of "in-your-face" piracy carried out in the plain light of day.

      It is indeed a "business" -- one that uses a criminal business model to steal wealth from entrepreneurs and channel it to people (fellow thieves) who didn't earn it.

      Yes, he was "self-employed" -- as a programmer-thief in a network of thieves. I'd say that even describing him as "self-employed" extends to him a language courtesy he does not deserve. I'd say the same thing about the description that he "started a business the easy way." His "business" was ignoble -- plain and simple. He deserves zero language courtesies for entrepreneurial spirit.

      What you described as finding "the cheapest source of supplier" on his way to establishing a "shop" I'd describe as the full-scale leaching off/of the venture capital put up by the financial backers of the movies and the full-scale theft of the labor of every person who had a proprietary interest in the legitimate venture.

      He wanted their stuff and he took it -- while assisting others to do the same thing. He even arranged what some IMers would describe as "multiple streams" of income to flow to the scheme.

      Originally Posted by MattVit View Post

      With this in mind... has anyone heard of 'rehabilitation'? What would be better, throwing away money to punish him, or spending (significantly less) money on helping him to run a legitimate business? Sure, put him away for a few months, teach him a lesson, 'punish' him, but give him the tools to do what he was doing LEGALLY.
      Four others face criminal trial in this case. He appears to be the first of five indictees to have pleaded guilty, which possibly means he's already in the government's camp and singing for his supper. If that's the case, I believe the prosecutors will recommend to the judge that he be shown some slack. I doubt that the Feds view him as Jack the Ripper, and the statutes do not call for a Jack the Ripper sentence.

      But it nevertheless is a serious crime -- one that affects the foundations of society, the key underpinnings of the economy and the future health of commerce. Business cannot thrive -- and neither can the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom itself -- when wealth and labor are hijacked, repurposed and rechanneled into the hands of thieves and pirates.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
        Originally Posted by Patrick Pretty View Post

        Business cannot thrive -- and neither can the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom itself -- when wealth and labor are hijacked, repurposed and rechanneled into the hands of thieves and pirates.
        Agreed. The foundations of a free society lie in the ability to own personal, physical, and intellectual property, and for those people to capitalize on that property, creations, etc. so long as it doesn't violate the rights of anyone else.

        Rob
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    • Profile picture of the author dorianjohn425
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      • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tillman
        This is by far one of the dumbest things you can do in the online world...did he ever hear of the word "prison"? lol sad sad indeed
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    • Profile picture of the author spearce000
      Originally Posted by MattVit View Post


      The view on this is wrong. What we have here is a kid who is self-employed, starting a business the easy way (which was the illegal and wrong way). He found the cheapest source of supplier, made a 'shop' to 'sell' these goods indirectly through ads and donations. The supplies are highly sought after at the price he made them available for.
      It's a business.
      No, the view on this is right. It costs millions of dollars to make a movie. Many people who work in the industry get paid a percentage of how much money the movie makes (it's known as “points”) and they don't get the sort of mega money that Hollywood A-Listers get, either. When people do what this guy has done, they're literally making a deduction from some hard working backroom guy's (or gal's) paycheck. It's not a business, it's a crime. Lock him up and throw away the key! [End of rant]


      Source: My 23 years experience in the film & video business.
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  • "Many of the movies offered on the website were still playing in theaters, while others had not yet been released"

    That's easy Seinfeld did it 15 years ago!!
    And BTW. In most 3rd world countries they sell pirated movies on EVERY street corner, in bars, on the buses etc. The going rate is $1.85 per DVD. Some of them will have up to 4 movies on one DVD for the same price.
    Stef
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    • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
      Originally Posted by BeenThereDoneThat View Post

      "Many of the movies offered on the website were still playing in theaters, while others had not yet been released"

      That's easy Seinfeld did it 15 years ago!!
      And BTW. In most 3rd world countries they sell pirated movies on EVERY street corner, in bars, on the buses etc. The going rate is $1.85 per DVD. Some of them will have up to 4 movies on one DVD for the same price.
      Stef
      ..and you forgot to mention you can get this in HD and bluray qualities as well with some titles..

      This is most prevalent in Asian countries, unfortunately..
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    • Profile picture of the author cjreynolds
      Originally Posted by BeenThereDoneThat View Post

      "Many of the movies offered on the website were still playing in theaters, while others had not yet been released"

      That's easy Seinfeld did it 15 years ago!!
      And BTW. In most 3rd world countries they sell pirated movies on EVERY street corner, in bars, on the buses etc. The going rate is $1.85 per DVD. Some of them will have up to 4 movies on one DVD for the same price.
      Stef
      Not only 3rd world countries - It's a huge problem in countries like China.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Ward
    Originally Posted by MattVit View Post

    The view on this is wrong. What we have here is a kid who is self-employed, starting a business the easy way (which was the illegal and wrong way). He found the cheapest source of supplier, made a 'shop' to 'sell' these goods indirectly through ads and donations. The supplies are highly sought after at the price he made them available for.
    It's a business.
    Are you serious?

    It's no more a business than the people selling bootleg copies of movies at the bus station. Please.
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    • Profile picture of the author MattVit
      Originally Posted by Matt Ward View Post

      Are you serious?

      It's no more a business than the people selling bootleg copies of movies at the bus station. Please.
      Yes, I am serious. Do you understand the definition of 'business'? It sure isn't 'legal business'. A business can be illegal, you know. It's still a business.

      busi┬ĚnessNoun/ˈbiznis/

      1. A person's regular occupation, profession, or trade.


      People selling bootleg copies of movies at the bus station are running a business. It's illegal, but it's a business. :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author spearce000
        Originally Posted by MattVit View Post

        Yes, I am serious. Do you understand the definition of 'business'? It sure isn't 'legal business'. A business can be illegal, you know. It's still a business.

        busi┬ĚnessNoun/ˈbiznis/

        1. A person's regular occupation, profession, or trade.
        have no business to, to have no right to (do something)
        crime n 1. a serious offence, one for which there is a punishment by law.
        criminal n a person who is guilty of crime

        Source: The Oxford Paperback Dictionary.

        People selling bootleg copies of movies at the bus station are running a business. It's illegal, but it's a business. :rolleyes:
        So is selling crack.
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        • Profile picture of the author MattVit
          Originally Posted by spearce000 View Post

          have no business to, to have no right to (do something)
          crime n 1. a serious offence, one for which there is a punishment by law.
          criminal n a person who is guilty of crime

          Source: The Oxford Paperback Dictionary.



          So is selling crack.
          I don't understand your out-of-context definition of 'business'.

          He is responding to me talking about this kid running a business, business in the 'sell services/goods' sense, not 'mind your own business'.

          Maybe what you mean is "criminal business", but I don't understand what you're adding to the conversation, or what point you have. Usually when you copy/paste a dictionary definition, you explain how it is relevant to the discussion.

          And yes, selling crack is running a business. lol (I chuckled while I was writing it).


          When you work for someone, you're exchanging your labor/time for money. This is 101 of employment.

          When you work for yourself, you're exchanging goods/services for money. This is 101 of business.


          I hope everyone can understand this now.

          He's running a business. Full stop. It can be a criminal business, a lucrative business, a legal business, a useful business, a quirky business, a great business.

          The adjective used doesn't matter. HE IS RUNNING A BUSINESS. Thank you.
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          • Profile picture of the author spearce000
            Yes, I concede your definition of "business" is also in the dictionary. However he has no business selling something that doesn't belong to him! (also a definition of the same word).
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            • Profile picture of the author MattVit
              Originally Posted by spearce000 View Post

              Yes, I concede your definition of "business" is also in the dictionary. However he has no business selling something that doesn't belong to him! (also a definition of the same word).
              Haha! I totally agree. Well worded!
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  • Profile picture of the author JimmyR
    I see a lot of people in this thread saying how wrong this is and whatever (and fair enough, it is wrong, but IMO not 10 years in prison wrong), but how many of you are plugging crappy Clickbank products with bullsh*t claims about how good they are? As far as I'm concerned that's as bad as stealing, because these people are thinking they are getting a great product and end up with crap.

    I know not everyone does it, but it's pretty common practice, which is why CB are cracking down.
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    • Amen, Clickbank is one of the largest scam companies in the world, but they do have an ironclad guarantee. I really doubt the guy will get 10 years, maybe 6 months plus probation and a HUGE fine that he'll spend 30 yrs trying to pay. JMHO of course.
      Stef

      Originally Posted by JimmyR View Post

      I see a lot of people in this thread saying how wrong this is and whatever (and fair enough, it is wrong, but IMO not 10 years in prison wrong), but how many of you are plugging crappy Clickbank products with bullsh*t claims about how good they are? As far as I'm concerned that's as bad as stealing, because these people are thinking they are getting a great product and end up with crap.

      I know not everyone does it, but it's pretty common practice, which is why CB are cracking down.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
      Originally Posted by JimmyR View Post

      I see a lot of people in this thread saying how wrong this is and whatever (and fair enough, it is wrong, but IMO not 10 years in prison wrong), but how many of you are plugging crappy Clickbank products with bullsh*t claims about how good they are? As far as I'm concerned that's as bad as stealing, because these people are thinking they are getting a great product and end up with crap.

      I know not everyone does it, but it's pretty common practice, which is why CB are cracking down.
      Faulty logic. First off, you're arguing a completely different and separate point; it's a clear apples to oranges comparison and not related to the main point the OP is making. Secondly, how could you even remotely know how many people, if any, in this thread are plugging "crappy Clickbank products"?

      You're also neglecting the fact that there ARE good, valuable CB products. I find a lot of irony in your assumptions.

      You might think it's as bad as stealing, but in reality, it's not even remotely in the same realm, nor the same thing. I'm not saying that there aren't FTC violations or even copyright violations on CB (there are and CB can't catch them all in a timely manner), but that's not what people are discussing here. Parts of this thread are just a symptom of the bigger problem of copyright infringement. It's the pervasive attitude of people who think it's "cool" or "okay" simply because they can do it.

      So the guy gets up to ten years for breaking the law; like someone already mentioned he probably won't do much time, which is a shame. He knew what he was doing was wrong and even if he didn't (to play devil's advocate), ignorance of a law does not protect you. And just because it's not a violent crime he shouldn't get punished to that extent? I'm glad this happened and more of us should report these websites to the authorities when we them.

      This partially reminds me of people who complain about getting a speeding ticket or going through a stop sign when they caught red-handed. "What? A speeding ticket is $241 bucks?? But, but, but, why so much?".

      You know you're breaking the law and then complain about getting punished for it? [/Rhetorical question]

      It's actually so much easier to make money legally, I don't understand why people even bother. All that energy put into these kinds of schemes and then always worrying about looking over your shoulder. No thanks.

      RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRealFade
    guy had it coming if you asked me, how dumb can you be??

    its not like he took a few google images,

    dude was running limewire with paypal donations.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChickenMan
    Cracking down on sites that offer obvious illegal stuff like music, ebooks, etc. is one thing. But FTC stepping and telling people what they should do in trivial matters is pointless and just another example of government overstepping their boundaries and interfering imo. You can't regulate everything.
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Luis
      Banned
      In other news, a drug dealer was sentenced to 6 months in prison...
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  • Profile picture of the author Geeked Labs
    Sounds like a win to me
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    The class envy from some of the posters in this thread is eye-opening.

    Not that you (the collective 'you', from above) ever will with the mindset that you're exhibiting, but what if someday you invented or marketed a product or service that netted you millions of dollars? Would you then think it was all right for someone to come along and steal what you've done?
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    • Profile picture of the author reimer
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  • Profile picture of the author David McKee
    Part of the problem here is the mindset that people have - we may be into this "Internet" thing now 20+ years, but we still have a basic mindset that products that you cannot hold in your hand are not "real" - and therefore stealing them is not "really theft"... even though it most certainly is.

    If I can consume a product or service, I have used it by definition, regardless of how that product or service was delivered. This person stole the labor of others and it does not matter in any way shape or form who was paid, how much was paid, or anything else with regard to the products manufacture - the only thing that matters is it was property, owned rightfully by someone, and stolen by someone else.

    The unfortunate fact is that not only did the website owner steal, those who downloaded the content did as well.

    -DTM
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  • Profile picture of the author BlackNight
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    • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
      Originally Posted by BlackNight View Post

      What can you say when you get involved in that kind of activity.
      "Guilty, your honor."
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Kage
    The internet will become police ground. Wasn't this place supposed to be free for everyone, well, as long as you steer clean of certain unlawful and immoral acts but I don't want my activities to be monitored by an Internet Police.
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    • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
      Originally Posted by Sparda View Post

      The internet will become police ground. Wasn't this place supposed to be free for everyone, well, as long as you steer clean of certain unlawful and immoral acts but I don't want my activities to be monitored by an Internet Police.
      One of those 'certain unlawful and immoral acts' being blatant copyright infringement?

      Watch for Wyatt Earpnet to show up in town soon to clean up the wild wild internets.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        to be free for everyone,
        But you are free - to create your own products, writer your own ebooks, built your own sites, make your own movies. You aren't free to steal what others have built - well, duh, takes all the fun out of it, doesn't it?

        People excusing theft would scream the loudest IF they had a product and others were abusing or stealing it. I've watched a few marketers grow some ethics fast when it was their work product being stolen.:rolleyes:

        kay
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Sparda View Post

      The internet will become police ground. Wasn't this place supposed to be free for everyone, well, as long as you steer clean of certain unlawful and immoral acts ....
      I think that's the point. Copyright infringement is unlawful - and immoral.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author CTonline09
    According to the site notice you can only get up to 5 years for the crime, not sure how it works in america but here in the UK if you plead guilty you will get a lesser sentance than the maximum persuable.

    Oh well its his arse now

    Originally Posted by Patrick Pretty View Post

    Will the keepers of the illegal IM product vaults be next? One can only hope.

    A North Carolina IMer who had an illegal download site, monetized it with advertising and accepted donations that resulted in his thieving customers getting the keys to the piracy vault so they steal even more has pleaded guilty in Virginia to criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy.

    Matthew David Howard Smith, 23, faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16.

    Founder of NinjaVideo Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Conspiracy
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Ward
    There is a huge line between pirating a movie for your own enjoyment. I don't think there is anyone that has ever been charged for doing simply this. The issues come about when you are distributing said copyrighted material, or even worse, profiting directly from it.

    Case A) People that download pirated material from sites that don't use a peer-to-peer protocol for the transfer. It goes from one source to you, and that's it.

    Case B) There are a lot of people that use software like Limewire (or similar) which allows a wide variety of song/video downloads but also automatically puts these files available for others to download from your computer. I'm betting most users have no idea about that; a 40 year old mother who just wanted to listen to the latest Lady Gaga song is unknowingly making it available from her home computer for millions of others to download.

    Case C) Then we have cases like this where someone was knowingly trying to profit from the sales of intellectual property which he didn't own at all. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the problem with this.

    Of all three of those, I am on the fencepost for case A. You can argue it's stealing, but I've never heard of anyone being charged with anything for simply downloading a movie. It's when you use software like BitTorrent, which automatically makes your downloads available for others to download from you (distributing said intellectual material) when you're really going to get ****ed. Even worse is when you're profiting from it, whether it be by a website like mentioned in the opening post of this thread, or the guy selling burned music CD-Rs on the side of the road.
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    • Profile picture of the author noobjet
      Originally Posted by Matt Ward View Post

      There is a huge line between pirating a movie for your own enjoyment. I don't think there is anyone that has ever been charged for doing simply this.
      Oh, contrare. There was a single mother of like 4 kids who downloaded 24 songs on limewire and got sued for millions of dollars. They obviously selected someone who couldn't defend herself to make an example of her.

      Meanwhile big money YouTube serves up pirated content to billions daily with no legal action. Yeah that's right, single mother get sued for millions, while Youtube isn't even challenged because they are 'protected', welcome to the "justice" system.

      Has nothing to do with justice, only has to do with one thing, MONEY. Who has it and who doesn't.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matt Ward
        Originally Posted by noobjet View Post

        Oh, contrare. There was a single mother of like 4 kids who downloaded 24 songs on limewire and got sued for millions of dollars. They obviously selected someone who couldn't defend herself to make an example of her.
        Refer to my example "B" in the above post. Limewire (et al) automatically shares your library with millions of others that use the software. That's where you get screwed over. Of course pleading ignorance is not going to save your ass, but it's true that most of these people have no idea what exactly is happening with their software and why it could land them in legal trouble.
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        • Profile picture of the author David McKee
          Originally Posted by Matt Ward View Post

          Refer to my example "B" in the above post. Limewire (et al) automatically shares your library with millions of others that use the software. That's where you get screwed over. Of course pleading ignorance is not going to save your ass, but it's true that most of these people have no idea what exactly is happening with their software and why it could land them in legal trouble.
          I think it odd that the mother was the one who was targeted as the primary when LimeWire was the one actually doing the sharing - now that does not excuse the Mother in any way, but both parties should have been sued. Apparently this did happen eventually because LimeWire is now gone, but in it;s place has popped up "FrostWire", and any number of lesser copycats (incidentally, FrostWire is just a poor rewrite of an older LimeWire code-base, very likely the same people).

          It is also odd, as has been pointed out, that YouTube, Hulu, and others have entire episodes of TV, Movies, etc. online and nobody seems to be going after these companies... would be interesting to see what "Political campaigns" these companies have contributed to.

          Not that would be an interesting video...

          -DTM
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

            But you are free - to create your own products, writer your own ebooks, built your own sites, make your own movies. You aren't free to steal what others have built - well, duh, takes all the fun out of it, doesn't it?

            People excusing theft would scream the loudest IF they had a product and others were abusing or stealing it. I've watched a few marketers grow some ethics fast when it was their work product being stolen.:rolleyes:

            kay
            Kay, he is free to steal what others have built, as long as he is willing to accept the consequences for committing illegal acts. And people like you and me are free to push for those consequences to be severe.

            As for the second part, I completely agree. And when they do it in public, it can even be entertaining...
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  • Profile picture of the author martyJames
    might be some nice IM opportunities whilst he is in the slammer .For example , as we all know , women love jailbirds . He could create web profiles for his prison buddies and put them up on a new site PenitentiaryLove.com , or similar... just a thought..
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  • Profile picture of the author reimer
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      Originally Posted by reimer View Post

      This is the begining of the end... what would happen if the FTC discovers the WSO section of this forum... ?


      Good bye warrior forum It was a pleasure to meet you..
      Why are so many people putting the WSO section and copyright infringement into the same category?

      This guy stole movies and profited from them as if he made them himself. That is a crime. Show me a criminal offense in the WSO section that remotely compares.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Brain, i think he's referring to the many over the top claims in some wso's, while not relevant to this topic in particular he does have a point. = )
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  • Profile picture of the author reimer
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      I agree that there are less than savory sellers on the WSO section and all around the Internet. Exaggerated income claims and a bit of plagiarism are terrible things and I too wish that they would be more diligent around here, but they are far from being the same as the FBI going after you for videotaping a movie and profiting from it. I only meant that this thread is about one thing and people are making it about another. While all copyright infringements are "criminal", the government only goes after the ones that they believe are "severe". Those are usually forgeries and bootleg movies.
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      • Profile picture of the author reimer
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        • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
          Originally Posted by reimer View Post


          you remark all the damage this man has done to hollywood poor guys...
          I never remarked about how bad Hollywood was hurting from this or anything of the sort. I simply stated that the feds only criminally charge what they consider to be severe violations and those that they consider severe are usually bootleggers and forgers. I'd love to have a healthy argument with you about this, but when you quote me as saying things that you know I didn't say, then I stop playing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vulk
    I love all the hateful comments in this thread that are bashing him "OMG HE'S SO BAD, HE DESERVES IT!!!" But then you guys have websites that claim to make 9400$ an hour but we all know it's just recycled crap.

    Stop with your bs.
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  • Profile picture of the author mllnsgrl
    So, is this similar to those download sites or newsgroups online where you can get a movie, or music?

    How could those sites still exist..
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