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back to article Movie pirate forced to ditch Linux

A BitTorrent admin convicted of uploading movie files is being forced to ditch Linux if he wants to use his PC. Scott McCausland (AKA sk0t), the ex-admin of the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker, was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith just …

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Won't it run under Wine?

Seems like the obvious solution.

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WINE....

....Obviously does not run it then =)

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The solution

Wine.

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Why is this in software?

I don't see why this isn't some kind of hardware monitoring system that just plugs inline to connection? e.g. some specialist router or ADSL modem? Wouldn't be that hard and would be OS independent. Not that it wouldn't be too hard to route web traffic through an SSH connection etc.

And if the user wants to use Ubuntu, why doesn't he just install VMWare and run his 'nux install through that. Windows would only be a shell round about it. Admittedly taking up half his system resources..... He'd still have to buy Windows itself but then until recently most PCs came with it whether you wanted it or not, so he may very well have a copy lying around anyway. And if not then he can always get a copy from bittorrent..... oh wait. Probably not a clever move.....

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Dual Boot?

Okay, it won't do a lot for his uptime figures, but needs must.

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Ditch?

Surely they are only "monitoring" his online activities?

If so, he can stay offline with his pet ubuntu, or install windows - assuming he can afford it - and use that for his online whatever.

As for him having, " served his time". Well, no he hasn't. He's served half his time - the bit inside. So, if he does not like the terms I suggest he go back inside and use the facilities there. If he doesn't like it he should not have committed the crime.

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Sweet

Sweet One: Wow -- fines payable to Microsoft, these days

Sweet Two: A half bright judge obviously heard that Linux is for hackers and thinks it'll make a difference. Cygwin, anyone?

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The Ultimate Punishment

But in all honesty, how impossible would it be to disable a the monitoring software? Also, what happend to privacy? I'd love to know what the software was actually monitoring...

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The FSF should have fun with this

I'd think that that champions of free software, the Foundation for Software Freedom should get involved with this.

Although what skOt did was illegal it's surely similarly illegal to force someone to use a piece of software (windows) against their will?

A very good analogy is to be found on torrentfreak - you got caught speeding so we're gonna force you to have a speed monitoring system installed. Thing is that it won't work in your cheap car, our system is only compatible with a chevvy so you have to buy a chevvy or not drive.

Looks like that insanity rules in 'the land of the free'

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VMWare?

How about just installing his beloved ubuntu under vmware? Set it up with bridged networking so it appears to come from the host machine, load windows and the monitoring software, then load ubuntu in the virtual machine.

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Anonymous Coward

probation

He's on probation as part of a plea agreement. They're not forcing him to use Windows; the alternative to meeting the conditions of his probation would be to go back to jail and serve the standard term for the crime he was convicted of.

Yes the criminal penalties for piracy are overblown. So are the criminal penalties for a lot of other things, the difference being most of the people who are convicted of those things don't have the support of a bunch of whiny internet users convinced that broken copyright laws are the biggest social injustice going.

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Battle Royale

Monitoring bracelet? wtf?

Will it work like a Battle Royale neck bracelet?

"ubuntu detected" "bleep bleep bleep" BOOM!

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Haha truely screwed!

So funny, but I do feel for the guy.

Reckon their software would run under wine? haha

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Ohh Harsh...

Ohh punishing a 'nix fanboy to use Windows? Any idea's if its going to be Vista? Sounds like the 21st century version of water torture to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Colinux?

>"... the two felonies that they gave me,"

surely he acquired his own felonies?

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VMWare...

...is free. Buy cheapest copy of Windows XP you can get and run your favourite Linux flavour in VMWare or similar. Problem solved.

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Sorry, what?

"...was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith..."

Five months in prison for sharing a film... Not that there's anything inherently broken about copyright law or anything.

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Poor Blighter

Cruel and unusual punishment indeed. But, how's he going to pay for an 'attorney' then?

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Punishment!

Clearly, the authorities understand that Windoze is a punishment!

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Crap

"while I a currently unemployed and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me"

Uh, dude, you COMMITTED those two felonies; they weren't a gift from on-high.

At least running Windows will let him buy a few decent games to play during his "time off"...

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Ru

So...

By way of punishment, he is required to purchase products from Microsoft? That's a rather nifty way of gaining new customers.

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Cruel and Unusual

Doesn't the Geneva Convention on Human Right outlaw the use of "cruel and unusual" forms of punishment?

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Fixed the quote for him:

relatively unemployable with the two felonies that t/h/e/y/ /g/a/v/e/ /m/e/ I COMMITTED.

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xjy

Cruel and unusual punishment

Well, not so unusual perhaps, but definitely cruel.

I'm still seething more than five years after being forced to change to Windoze from my Mac for daily work because of dongling constraints and new workplace corporate straitjacketing.

Soon getting a new Mac with Intel though, so part the home part of the work problem will be solved.

I feel so sorry for this guy - it's like a supporter of a heliocentric solar system around 1600 being burnt at the stake.

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Anonymous Coward

Five months....

Perhaps the severity of the sentence was related to the pain inflicted on others.

If he'd shared "The Phantom Menace" he might've got 10 years.

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Anonymous Coward

@ ClammyLammy

You beat me to it.

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Bronze badge

Internet connection sharing?

Just a thought, but if they need to monitor the computer he is accessing the internet with then surely he just needs a second computer which he is accessing that computer with and telling it what to do on the internet.

It fits the terms...

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ignored

Sorry ClammyLammy - but the good 'ol USA ignores the Geneva Convention nowadays.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it fair?

Decide for yourself:

"Scott McCausland [...] was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"

"Nicole [...] Richie was nabbed last December driving the wrong way down a motorway. She subsequently coughed to a "driving under the influence of drink and drugs" rap, and was sentenced to four days' jail."

The mind boggles. Clearly either:

1. the cost of risk to life is less that the cost of risk to profit; or

2. justice really does favour the rich.

Either way it hardly seems fair to me.

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Huh?

".... I a currently unemployed and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me," McCausland told TorrentFreak.

"I think that this whole situation is just one more way that they can impose their will onto me. I have contacted my attorney, and we are going to fight this," he added.

Is it just me or is anyone else wondering how an "unemployed and relatively unemployable" bloke can afford a lawyer for this type of action? If it was a criminal defence case then he could get a public defender, but this is some sort of counter action, not defence. Like everyone else said, install your favourite virtual platform, run Ubummedtoo and shut up.

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a little insecure relying on software isn't it?

Whats to stop this guy from buying a new hard drive and swapping it out as soon as the techs have installed the monitor and left his home? Surely unless it requires the pc to be on 24/7 it won't be able to tell the difference between the pc being off, and the pc being on with the monitoring software sat on an unused drive? Even regular (surprise) inspections could be handled with a little forethought (knock at door, switch off pc, open panel, swap cable to other drive, close panel, answer door) 20-30 seconds at most if set up right.

Whenever the original drive is put back in, the windows installation won't be able to tell that the hardware has been used without it, vmware or a dual boot would leave traces that an inspection or the monitoring software might see. (your windows partition going from 300GB to 10GB might raise a few eyebrows)

The only thing i could see working against that, is if some sort of hardware monitor has been installed. Can't imagine anyone creating linux drivers for something like that though, considering most networking companies can't even be bothered with wireless drivers.

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Whine EMUlation

A Wine/Whine SituAtIon... with the user acting as an observer of himself, in turn observed by the AuthorITive EntitIEs. NOW a quantum connundrum; attempt to observe crImE without freeDOME.

FOSS has become WUSS, with FOrced WinDOW Vendor LOCK-IN for locked-in users.

Hence, the solution is open source emulated in closed source, ruSSian d011 style, a vIPer in the garden of GATES.

WINDOWS UBER ALLES - let freeDOME ring!

(SETI gr33tz to AMFM; peace-out!)

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Anonymous Coward

Seems quite reasonable to me.

If iPlayer users have to use Windows, I'm not going to lose any sleep over a criminal having to do the same..

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drunk driving

"Nicole [...] Richie was nabbed last December driving the wrong way down a motorway. She subsequently coughed to a "driving under the influence of drink and drugs" rap, and was sentenced to four days' jail."

you think she got of cause she is rich ?? truth is its takes a 3 duis to get six months in jail.

whats does that say??? wecarte more about protectingprofit then lifesr

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Anonymous Coward

unfair?

While I'd agree that the punishment overall is a bit harsh--unless this isn't his first offense, I suppose he's lucky they let him use a computer unsupervised at all... Look at how Mitnick got shafted as part of the terms of his release. Surely it would be easier to just give him a fixed IP and monitor the traffic there, instead of some kindergarten-grade monitoring software that likely would be fairly easy to circumvent. And what does it do, throw an alarm if he launches bittorrent? Or is there some poor fool that did committed a worse crime than he did, and has to examine every packet transferred from his PC... Onion routing anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

convicted felon gets sentenced to having to pay a convicted monopolist.

What gets me is a convicted (copped a plea) felon gets sentenced to having to pay a convicted monopolist.

http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/25883/

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Anonymous Coward

Legal system

Nicole Richie: Teams of highly paid lawyers, PR people, publicists, handlers, bodyguards. A city that caters to the very wealthy, and bestows upon them a higher status than your average citizen. Endemic corruption and gladhanding.

Scott McCausland: Just a dude I've never heard of, who lives in a conservative, backwater state, known for the inequity of their courts, endemic corruption, and catering to the rich and powerful. Probably public defender, probably didn't keep his mouth shut.

Moral: If you're rich and have a daddy who's famous for writing some songs in the eighties, your $400/hr lawyer will give you the extremely good advice of "don't say a thing, don't admit to anything, and let me handle this."

If you're just some poor hacker geek, WTF are you doing running an illegal enterprise out of your house?

Corollary: Much like prohibition of alcohol and drugs, the prohibition on file sharing is gradually stratifying the population into varying degrees of criminality. The lower end of the scale will continue to be eaten as sacrifice to Lady Justice, and the higher-ups will continue to become immensely wealthy, only to be finally toppled by an eventual RICO case.

Final conclusion? More laws = more people being declared criminals, leading to higher enforcement fees, weakening the economy, and removing skills workers from our national industries. Stigmatization of family members of the lawbreakers leading to generational criminal tendencies. Increased legislation, gradually placing more activities into the heading of illegal acts.

1984, knocking at your door.

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who gave you?

"...and relatively unemployable with the two felonies that they gave me,..."

I was kind of under the impression that *you* did this to yourself by uploading films rather than them giving them to you... Guess it's easier to blame someone else though

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Anonymous Coward

But ...

is there such thing called justice? Since when US has any fairness? The sad thing is, our gov is closely following.

Like it or not, it is now the rich and powerful control group of slaves, which we call "government". Election is matter of vote either evil number one or evil number two. It doesn't really matter who you vote, you are voting evil.

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Anonymous Coward

Outed!

A Merkin and AManFromMars are one and the same! At least, I don't understand either of them ...

I'll get my coat.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't you get it yet?

When are any of you going to understand in any capitalist system property rights are absolutely fundamental to the whole scam. There is no common ownership and therefore protecting private property is crucial.

In fairness, he stole a $150 million picture made and financed by an independent film-maker. Lucas risked his own money on this film, no one elses. People have been jailed longer for not paying a 100 quid telly licence or 500 quid poll tax bill. I had to pay to see this film and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't either.

At the end of the day he's just another crook and should be treated like one. So many of these comments read as special pleading whereas if we're all equal under the law he's no different from a mugger or purse-snatcher. Unless of course we're saying all victims of crime are unequal too. How fucked up is that?

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Not merely a felon, but a moron

Two computers - one really crappy one picked up at Goodwill for $20 running Windows 95 and the monitoring software (permanently browsing any web page that auto-refreshes from time to time). One decent one running Ubuntu.

Problem solved - and the Goodwill PC with Win95 is cheaper than any current version of Windows *without* a computer.

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Anonymous Coward

VIRTUALIZE!

Why not virtualize windows under Ubuntu? Then it runs where it belongs. In a window.

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right.....

*whine* I committed TWO felonies and cannot afford to buy windows, so instead I'm talking to my lawyer about fighting these charges that the man has laid upon me!

don't lawyers cost money?

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Rob

"two felonies that they gave me"

He violated the law apparently, but it was the legal system (not him) that attached the felony convictions to his record. Yes he was rewarded the felonies for his actions but by no means did he give them to himself no more than a powerball lottery winner gives himself $500,000,000.

The young lad is correct in his choice of words while some of the Internet crusaders are left with the taste of footwear in their mouths.

It boggles the mind how copyright infringement is a felony while other crimes (such as DUI) that put lives at risk are not. Why is this you ask? Look at the people who make the laws in the United States. I can guarantee you quite a few of them have at least one DUI, maybe more, on their criminal record.

I received this in an email a few years ago and it's quite amusing. Of course I cannot verify any of it but nonetheless here it is:

"Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees, and has the following statistics:

* 29 have been accused of spousal abuse

* 7 have been arrested for fraud

* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks

* 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

* 3 have done time for assault

* 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting

* 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

* 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year...

Can you guess which organization this is? Give up yet? It's the 435 members of the United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line."

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Maybe its time for him to give up the PC

and actually spend time watching all the crap he's been downloading/uploading.

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Re. A Merkin

A.Merkin and amanfrommars are not one and the same.

A.Merkin is amanfrommars's apprentice. He's not very good as yet but I'm sure he'll improve with time.

Then I'll get two encoded messages to work on in the lonely evenings, woohoo.

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Anonymous Coward

Script Kiddies and Establishment Stooges

First of all, this is Scott McCausland, why are all of you script kiddies giving him advice on wine, VMWare and dual-boot. Why don't you go ahead and ask him if he has tried rebooting.

Secondly, what he did was not against the law or a felony. It may have been "illegal" (against precedent, or the previous decisions of judges) but not against the law. I've read the law, have you? Just because The MPAA says that someone is a pirate and that what they have done is against the law does not make it so.

Get your heads out of the sand and wake up. Look into the history of intellectual property law than decide for yourself. Copyright law neither encourages creativity nor benefits the creator of copyrighted works and was never meant to. The only time that copyright law in the United States is actually broken is when a profit is gained from the distribution or sale of the copyrighted work without the consent of the copyright owner.

This is not a personal property issue, this is a fair-use and basic liberties issue. Per copyright precedent it is illegal to sing a copyrighted song in your car to yourself particularly if it is not playing on the radio or some other media that has a copyright license paid.

Most people need to read more.

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Anonymous Coward

Forced to buy software not so bad

It's no worse than being forced to join a cult (AA) for a drink-driving offence.

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Anonymous Coward

Scott McCausland, Heres some news for you...

Both Linux and Windows run exactly the same when the bloody computer is switched off.

You did the crime, you admitted to it and agreed to go to prison for 5 months in your plea bargain. You agreed to the terms of your supervision order and now you are crying into your unwashed t shirt because you have to use windows if you want to use a computer.

To state it is cruel and unusual punishment to have to use windows when it is wankers like you who spell their name using a jumble of letters and numbers who are half the reason why windows is so bloody awful for the rest of us to use.

It might destroy your precious Hak0r street cred to have to use a windows box but the rest of us who have to use PCs at work all day have little or no choice. It might be crap, covered with more patches than a chain smoker with a hundred a day habit who is trying to quit but it installs on most things, programs I use and equipment I buy work with it and it dosnt take three weeks to configure it to run.

Why not split the difference and buy a mac. Everyone knows people who own them carnt do fuck all with a computer but download music from itunes and draw nice pictures with photoshop.

If Nicole Richie only gets an hour an a half in prison its because she showed a little more imagination and had a whole lot more fun in her crimes and spent a lot less time bitching about her sentance than you did. I mean come on where is the exitement in uploading files to the internet compared with getting shitfaced on drink and drugs and then driving the wrong way up a motorway.

Here is a suggestion for what to do for the next five months. Read some bloody books and take in some culture, watch some TV and ween yourself into the real world, rent a few DVDs, buy a games console, open the curtains, draw the blinds and tidy up and clean the house, learn to play a musical instrument, pen a number one hit song, solve world hunger or even come up with a solution for world peace. Why not even get laid or at the very least enjoy five months of wanking but for fucks sake grow up and get a life and stop waisting our time because there is more to life than what operating system you use on your PC

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