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back to article Sock-wielding movie pirates go to prison

Two members of a movie piracy gang were sent to prison yesterday in Virginia. Willie Lambert, 57, of Pittston PA, was sent down for 30 months and ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution, along with other co-defendants. Sean Lovelady, 28, of Pomona, CA, was sentenced to 23 months and must pay $7,500 in restitution. Two more …

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Anonymous Coward

"...How did they think they would get away with this?..."

More to the point, who combines a longing to see the latest Hollywood crap-fest so badly, with a freetardery so ingrained they'd rather watch a cobbled together version filmed hand-held through a sock, than shell out a couple of $$$ to catch it at a cinema?

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Anonymous Coward

...and who then pays a donation for the privilege of watching a bootleg?

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K
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Couple of $$$?

You've obviously not been to the cinema in a while!

Last time I went, it cost about $65 for 2 us...

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FAIL

Re: Couple of $$$?

$65 ? Bleedin' heck!

You were ripped off mate!

Went to the cinema a couple of weeks ago and it cost a tenner for two of us.

Ok, so it was an Orange Wednesday, but even if we'd both had to pay it would still have only cost half of that $65.

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Re: Couple of $$$?

I saw Skyfall on opening night and it cost me €18 for two of us.

Prior to that I took my youngest daughter to see Brave on a Saturday morning and it cost €7.50.

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JDC
WTF?

Re: Couple of $$$?

Saw Skyfall the day before yesterday and it cost the wife and me 15€ in total, would have been 18€ if we'd gone to the town's other cinema and pre-booked online...

65$ ??? Or does that include the romantic meal after?

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I didn't see shit and it cost me dear

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Couple of $$$?

$65??

I suspect the clue to the price is the $ (I assume US), a family bucket of popcorn and 2l of coke each will add to the price..

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Mushroom

Re: Couple of $$$?

It probably includes coke and popcorn....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Couple of $$$?

I always get a free cinema ticket so long as I bring someone along with me - http://www.ceacard.co.uk/

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Re: Couple of $$$?

"You've obviously not been to the cinema in a while!

Last time I went, it cost about $65 for 2 us..."

Was the cinema you went to called We Saw You Coming?

Even at the Studio Movie Grills I've been to when working in Texas only came to about $50 for the two of us and that included a steak dinner and drinks while we watched the film.

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Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

I can believe it. Last time I went to a matinee alone (and the tickets are half priced at that time) it cost me $8 to get in, and the drink(aka giant cup of ice with a few drops of soda in it) was $3.50 for a medium (large was almost $5) Then popcorn was $4 a bucket. Add in a box of ($1 at the store across the street) candy they charge $4.50 for at the time, and I was at $20 for one person.

This was quite a few years ago too as I've not seen one movie advertised since that has made me want to go to a theater (let alone pirate it)

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Facepalm

Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

I will have to check the cinema T&C more closely in future.

I didn't realise it was compulsory to buy a large fizzy drink, popcorn and sweets when watching a movie.

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Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

Reminds me of that Black Books episode where Bernard Black gets locked out of the shop and goes to the movies -

"Excuse me, there appears to have been some sort of mistake - I bought popcorn and a drink and now I have no money left?"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

Cinema food prices have always been a rip-off but they seem to have a game at the minute called 'let's see how far we can inflate these prices and still get mugs to pay it'

Our local cinema has a huge board above the tills that proudly declares -'get a regular popcorn and regular drink for ONLY £6.40' and for that you get a cup which holds about the same as a regular can of coke along with the same size cup filled with popcorn

The annoying thing is they still get a lot of people buying it, if everyone refused they would have no choice but to lower their prices to a more reasonable level.

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Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

I really hate seeing the word 'only' when used in cinema food kiosks and service station cafeterias, amongst other places... "A bacon roll and cup of tea ONLY £6.99!"

"F&^4 OFF!"

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Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

The funny thing is ithat it's illegal (in the uk) for cinemas to prevent you bringing in your own food/drinks as long as it's not smelly. The BBC has covered this a few times.

I've seen managers try to argue that crisps might be noisy, but if they were then they wouldn't be selling them at their concession stands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Couple of $$$?

Saw Skyfall as well and spent £30, however in that price we did get to enjoy the movie on large leather sofa, cushions and a bottle of wine included for the price.

Would def pay that money again to see a flick in that style lol.

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Meh

Re: Couple of $$$?

Skyfall....UK...UCI Cinema. Granted they were gallery seats, but it was a "discount" night and for two of us it cost £36.

If cinemas priced themselves more sensibly, we might see less piracy. I don't expect to pay the cost of a new release blu-ray or a good AAA game title to see a film *once*.

Mind you, loved the return of the DB5. *drool*

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Trollface

Re: Jason Hindle Couple of $$$?

No, it wasn't $20 for one person. It was $8, plus a $12 fine for being a big fat porker.

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@Alan Brown

Illegal? Where's the proof?

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TS

TS:

Telesync - the video is exactly the same spec as Cam although may be from a later, better recording, but the audio is recorded not with the camcorders microphone but from a direct source. Typically a headphone socket in the chair, possibly for the hard-of-hearing. Sometimes the FM transmission from a drive-in movie theatre. Well worth checking the samples before downloading.

everyone's heard of IMAGiNE. and very good they were too. Don't know where they're going to get the money. they didn't sell these things.

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Big Brother

@nigel 15

"everyone's heard of IMAGiNE. and very good they were too. Don't know where they're going to get the money. they didn't sell these things."

Money seems unlikely to be the motivation. The politics concerning who controls what you are allowed to see, hear and do in order to see and hear what you choose, and what you have to pay has become a cold war, and this is one of the front lines. Copyright holding corporations, their owners and their agents getting rich to the maximum extent regardless of who gets locked up or extradited or why, regardless of artists being forced into poverty and having their best work locked up and made unpublishable by unfair contractual terms, and regardless of heritage destruction when owners lose interest and others are in fear, or maximum freedom of expression and privacy of communications. But you can't have both.

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Oh for fuck's sake. Give it a rest.

Nobody is stopping you expressing yourself freely. All the movie companies want to do is stop people seeing their movies without paying. As they've made the damn things, they've every right to ask for money for you to see them.

Don't like it? Find something else to occupy your time. Nobody owes you a comic book adaptation.

The problem with your kind of argument is that the people who make this stuff need to eat as well, and all the freetards have never come up with an alternative system that allows "free" viewing of creative works without shafting the people who had to spend the months of effort putting these works together.

Artists are being forced into poverty just as much by fuckers like IMAGINE ripping them off. There are no saints here.

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Who's who?

Seeing as you are so clever can you work out if it was cinema piracy that prompted copyright muggers or was it copyright pirates that causes the cinema wners to mug us?

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

"All the movie companies want to do is stop people seeing their movies without paying."

I think that is one of the many things they want to do, but I don't think it is the one that many people take issue with.

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Big Brother

@Kristian Walsh

Nobody is stopping you expressing yourself freely.

Try explaining that to

George Hotz in relation to his publications concerning Sony network and games console technology ?

Then there the reason Adobe got Dmitry Sklyarov locked up before he was bailed and forced to stay for months thousands of miles away from his family until the corrupt case against him was thrown out ?

Then there's the case attempting to extradite Richard O Dwyer not for hosting any infringing content but for publishing links.

And don't get me started on Kim Dotcom who was arrested and had his hosted servers seized due to alleged infringement by his customers.

The war taking these prisoners is against the free exchange of information certain influential business interests don't want you to have, who are able to buy laws restricting what you or I are allowed to publish and do, not because this infringes what they claim to own directly, but because it makes it more difficult for them to control access.

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Re: Artists are being forced into poverty

Yes, I remember seeing Stan Lee begging for spare change in the subway this morning.

At least... He looked like Stan Lee.

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Re: Artists are being forced into poverty

@Crisp: I know it's sarcasm, but Stan Lee made his money before mass copying. He also worked in a medium (print comics) which is relatively difficult to copy and share, even in the digital age (but as more and more publications go to tablets, piracy will bite them too). Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with some musicians, or especially filmmakers, and make that argument to them - the result may open your eyes.

Basically, the "X is rich, so I don't have to pay for the work of Y" argument is like stealing from your local corner shop and justifying it because, as a grocer, they must have the same amount of cash as Tesco. There are very few mega-rich artists, and a hell of a lot whose average earnings are less than a competent IT professional can expect.

@PyLETS - Holz and Sklyarov had legitimate motives for their work, and it could be argued that the facilitation of piracy was not their main objective, but rather an unfortunate side-effect of circumventing the copy protections in place. Neither of them set out to profit from the work (although it's debatable in the case of Sklyarov).

However, O'Dwyer and Dotcom are completely different category: they operated, for personal gain, services for the unlicensed redistribution of other people's work. Sure, MegaUpload was sometimes used for legitimate purposes, but the majority of the content that was found there was unlicensed copies of feature films. These guys were opportunistic scumbags, and if you really think they were running these services to take some kind of stand on artist freedoms, you're an idiot.

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Re: Kristian Walsh

I understand the point you are making, but I just don't see starving artists having their works copied all over the internet for free.

What I do see is mega rich stars and production companies that are literally swimming in money complaining that some 14 year old kid has just downloaded their movie. Christina Aguilera is not going to go without food just because I downloaded her latest LP.

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FAIL

Re: Kristian Walsh

Christina Aguilera might not be going hungry, but the session musicians who appear on the record might. And if you pirate Skyfall, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench won't go hungry but Lara Dunleavy (trainee hairdresser) and Joe Cassar (carpenter) might.

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Re: Kristian Walsh

As I understand it, those professions get paid for their work. They don't get a royalty every time the film makes money do they?

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Re: Kristian Walsh

To reduce risk to their financers, many small producers defer their payment until after release, so yes, they do lose if sales are low. The real loss is later; lower returns dissuade investors from funding any film projects except sure-fire hits. So, you're looking at a future of tie-ins and franchises, if this hasn't already happened.

Crew are paid on-set, but the seniors like the director and sometimes cast are often on deferred payment.

To the other poster, the reason you don't see the small artits suffering is because they're low profile. This isn't about Skyfall or Aguiliera - these crews systematically lifted every cinema release, not just the ones that could afford it.

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Anonymous Coward

Amateurs

Seeding such torrents is an activity less likely to be apprehended and more likely to bring discredit to the MAFIA and their feral lawyers when carried out using compromised bots or WiFi networks belonging to someone else. Besides which, who wants to see cammed images taken surrepticiously within an audience if smarter hacks and social engineering can obtain master copies, sometimes even prior to public release ?

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Pirate

You folks don't get it

The fact that the viewing quality of camera-captured movies stinks doesn't matter.

On the providing end, it is a matter of bragging rights -- make that "bragging rites." There is competition among the various pirate groups for first release. Then there is further competition about (what passes for) quality.

On the consuming end, it is a game, comparing, by skimming through, the (lack of) quality of subsequent releases by subsequent pirate groups of the same movie. It's a hobby, mostly for tweeners and teens, collecting pirated movie releases, like other people collect stamps or commemorative plates. The fact that they're breaking the law adds to the mystique.

Only the most brain-dead freetard would actually watch such bilge rather then paying money to see the film at a theater.

Prosecuting the pirates is the same old scam as always. It's based on the myth that piracy costs the studios money in lost ticket sales.

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Re: You folks don't get it

Anything that keeps teenagers out of the cinema is a good thing for the rest of us movie-goers!

Joking aside, I'd be surprised if the average age of cinema audiences hasn't fallen, since older people with a job now have a large TV, Blu-Ray and a respectable sound system at home, if they wish. There will be no kids rustling crisp packets, they can pause the film for toilet breaks, and have a cigarette if they so choose.

That said, some films really do benefit from going to the cinema amongst our fellow humans. There's a point in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance which could be either taken as horrific or blackly comic- our audience went with the latter. It helped that it was an independent cinema that didn't make you feel exploited and cheap as soon as you walked in the door. It serves good beer at reasonable prices, rather than crap sweets at an extortionate prices.

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Mushroom

Re: You folks don't get it

'Collecting them' isnt illegal. Only distributing them.

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Facepalm

Re: You folks don't get it

"'Collecting them' isnt (sic) illegal. Only distributing them."

The only way to collect them is to download them, and downloading them is illegal.

Sheesh!

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Re: You folks don't get it

I'd settle for keeping out the nigerian who insisted on having a very loud(*) conversation in Ibo on his mobile through the ENTIRE BLOODY MOVIE.

Management were (of course) nowhere to be seen.

(*) Actually it was more like shouting.

Times like that I wished it was legal for theatres to install jammers.

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks!

Thanks for removing another cam supplier from my future search results. It is just more crap I have to sift through while searching for the best quality BD/DVD rips. I have never been so impatient that I wanted to see a film through somebody's bad vision. Screeners are the only way to go if you MUST see it sooner.

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Re: Thanks!

Even the annoying sub titles on screeners piss me off...I just wait for the doovde release....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks!

..then wait another 5 months until it's £3-£5 at a supermarket near you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks!

Either way you'll still be obliged to watch pirates are the antichrist' warnings.

The big appeal 'pirated' films is that you don't get all the crap that's put on DVDs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks!

>Either way you'll still be obliged to watch pirates are the antichrist' warnings.

Those have long been a running joke amongst myself and my sometimes puerile mates... during the "You wouldn't steal a car, would you?" advertisments, we compete to list more and more stupid crimes "You wouldn't kidnap a goat, would you?", "You wouldn't shoot Jeremy Vine with a nail gun, would you?" etc.

Talk about preaching to the converted...I've bought the sodding DVD, what more do you want? Some people might use a DVD decrypter of their choice to remove these adverts and make the movie available to their TV over the network or USB... or they might think it's just easier let someone else go to the effort and download the result off the internet.

At least Orange have bought some humour to their cinema 'Don't let your mobile phone ruin a good film' advertisements.

Oh and another thing: Fall asleep in front of a VHS film and eventually the TV will receive no SCART signal and turn itself off. Fall asleep in front of a DVD and you will awake at at 3am having had a loop of weirdly dramatic title music play at you as you snooze.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks!

How this admission get any up votes? This sort of talk should get you an immediate ban from this site's comments.

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WTF?

Re: Thanks!

Yes, because we don't want a representative sample of IT types on here do we.

Face it, much as you may not like it for moral, or 'i'm better than you' reasons, some people with IT knowledge like to download movies. WHY should they be banned just because you morally disagree with them? I think you're mistaking El Reg for a religious institution

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thanks!

>How this admission get any up votes? This sort of talk should get you an immediate ban from this site's comments.

He admitted to watching pirated material, but he didn't say how to access pirated material.

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Bronze badge

Re: Couple of $$$?

That must include the obligatory large sized popcorn.

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Pirate

RE: You folks don't get it

"The fact that the viewing quality of camera-captured movies stinks doesn't matter."

This also invalidates the claims made by the rights holders that DRM of high def content is needed to save their industry. Sure, given the availability of a direct digital copy, downloaders will prefer that over a cam'd version. But the crap quality stuff recorded in theaters is sufficient to satisfy the black market. Whatever the level of current piracy, there doesn't appear to be a segment of consumers that is willing to access illegal content, but is holding out for the high quality stuff.

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Stop

So sorry...

"...How did they think they would get away with this?..."

I'll answer your rhetorical question with a few others...

How long has this kind of thing been going on anyways? Do you think one small group being prosecuted is going the stop the larger whole?

Apologies to all the studio execs that won't be able to make their mortgage payments this month.

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