Feeds

back to article Minicam movie pirate gets record-breaking five years in prison

A member of the IMAGiNE piracy crew, which specialized in recording and distributing movies filmed in cinemas using camcorders, has received a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to copyright infringement. Jeramiah Perkins, 40, of Portsmouth, Virginia, is the second-to-last member of the team to be sentenced to …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Thumb Down

Lucky they got this menace to society locked up for a good long time.

In other news, an Iraq war vet got 6 month in jail for raping a teenage girl.

71
4
Silver badge
Meh

The length of the sentence depends on the strength of the lobby group and how much it is prepared to donate to political causes.

38
2
Thumb Down

It just amazes me...

... just how much public money is used to pay for the punishment and discovery of copyright infringers when Hollywood is so proficient at the creative accounting that denies billions of dollars to the public purse by way of overt (and unbelievable) tax avoidance.

Who would believe that Lord of the Rings did not make any profit.

19
0
Silver badge

Re: It just amazes me...

Yeah, but what they save in tax they pay out in bribes lobbying.

7
0
Bronze badge

...length of the sentence depends on the strength of the lobby group ...

Oh yes, the old adage at work:

Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

1
0
Silver badge

in other news

iraq war

0
2
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: in other news

Huzzah, glad to see those scum behind bars for the good long sentence they deserve. Fucking pirates, they're worse than rapists, and I'm glad to see that their sentencing reflects that.

*Smashes head into desk repeatedly.

4
0
Thumb Down

"This group was the most prolific English-language movie theft group in history, and shutting it down was a huge step forward in helping to reassure consumers that the movies and TV shows they watch online are legitimate and secure, not stolen."

Though I don't condone what they did because it is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights, nothing was "stolen". Noone was deprived of the ability to see the films they pirated, at most the copyright holder is out a little money (and arguably, not even that).

27
5
Silver badge

I'm going to steal from the MPAA too

I'm going to spend some of my money on some electronic components for an art project I'm making. A staff, stuffed full of batteries and tipped with a 500W light bulb.

I *could* spend that money on a DVD instead. But I'd rather have the staff.

By MPAA logic, that means I'm stealing money from them.

14
1
Anonymous Coward

nothing was "stolen"

Yes there was. The confidentiality and control over the intellectual property. If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either. If I then make it available to all and sundry I still haven't stolen anything, but you will probably not be very happy with me and I can be collared for making the theft possible.

I am not defending how record and movie companies go about protection intellectual property (which is different to how they make a profit), but I hear this argument with data theft too and it's total BS. The party owning the information/material/song/movie suffers damage, and you caused it or contributed to it.

If you get a pirated copy of a movie or scrape the MP3 sound off a YouTube clip for your music collection you know full well you have done something that isn't right because the creator doesn't get a penny for this. You can then argue that you would have never bought it or never gone to the cinema to watch it, or will buy it when you like it, the fact remains that downloading is illegal in some countries, and providing such material is illegal in most.

Something doesn't become legal because you want it to be, try not to delude yourself. If you lose sight of that you may get yourself into trouble very quickly. What I do agree with is that record and movie companies are going about it the wrong way because they are busy perverting the laws to suit themselves (a bit like Google and Facebook work on changing your perception of privacy and so get you to let go of your rights), but until the laws have changed it's illegal. Full stop.

Having said that, the fines are ridiculous. You get less for murdering someone, which makes me wonder what someone would get for murdering a record industry executive. Not that I would encourage that, but it's an interesting exercise in logic.

Let the downvotes begin..

21
27
Anonymous Coward

faulty logic

" If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either. If I then make it available to all and sundry I still haven't stolen anything, but you will probably not be very happy with me and I can be collared for making the theft possible."

Depended upon what "all & sundry" did with my credit card numbers.

If they sat and looked at them, no problem. If they passed them on to others, who sat and looked at them, still no problem.

It doesn't stop me from passing them on to others to make purchases.

3
2
Silver badge
FAIL

"If you get a pirated copy of a movie or scrape the MP3 sound off a YouTube clip for your music collection you know full well you have done something that isn't right because the creator doesn't get a penny for this."

Your post was doing well until this point.

If I scrape a song from YouTube, the creator misses out on a few pennies from me. However, if I buy the album legitimately - the creator receives a scant few pennies from me, which is a pretty shitty deal on a fifteen-twenty euro purchase.

The people making the most noise are invariably not the "creators".

18
1

" If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either."

Indeed you have. You have stolen my wallet and contents. Regardless of whether or not I recover all or part of my wallet and contents and regardless of how long you have deprived me of there use, you have committed a theft.

What happens to the credit card info thereafter is FUD.

Making a copy of a protected work may well be actionable in most jurisdictions but it is not theft.

7
2

Re: I'm going to steal from the MPAA too

I hope they jail you, too. Evil Thieving Bastard!

2
0
Bronze badge

@ejit, I agree his analogy is flawed because taking your wallet deprives you of the ability to use its contents even briefly. But the larger point is still valid. If the wallet wasn't grabbed but instead he memorialised them while you were making a purchase from someone, you are probably closer to a representative analogy.

If I understand this correctly, this criminal is responsible for 40% of the English movie piracy yet he only got a $15000 fine and a 12 years sentence. This does seem lenient for that level of infringement. Why then do we bankrupt people downloading 25 songs?

This copyright math (tm) makes bloody quantum theories a walk in the park. I guess I should leave it for the experts.

1
1
Bronze badge

RE: Let the downvotes begin..

You asked for it

downvotes+1000

Hey el Reg, please add this to his downvote total, as you only let me downvote him once.

0
6
Headmaster

" If I grab your wallet and make a copy of your credit card numbers, I don't steal anything either."

Indeed you have. You have stolen my wallet and contents. Regardless of whether or not I recover all or part of my wallet and contents and regardless of how long you have deprived me of there use, you have committed a theft.

Wrong. Theft is defined as permanently depriving someone of something. If I take your wallet and return it, it's borrowing. If I take your car, and return it, it's taking a vehicle without consent, which is specifically a crime. If I take your car, drive it recklessly with no regard, damage it, and return it, it could be considered theft.

1
2
Silver badge

So if I were to rob the corner shop, and then return the goods I stole, I wouldn't have commited a crime?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

"return the goods I stole" => there was no theft (e.g. Theft Act 1968)

" if I were to rob the corner shop, and then return the goods I stole, I wouldn't have commited a crime?"

Laws can vary depending on where you are. Relevant law in the UK may include wording such as "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it" (see e.g. Theft Act 1968 and similar).

Please note the explicit use of "permanently depriving".

If you were to take (not rob) some goods from a shop without paying for them, and then return the goods (which you hadn't necessarily stolen), it would be interesting to see what the police and (if it got that far) the courts made of it. If there was no intention of permanently depriving, it cannot possibly be theft, according to the wording above. IANAL.

In the UK, if you take someone's vehicle without the owner's permission, and allegedly plan to return it and are then nicked, any resulting prosecution will not be for theft.. A separate offence, "taking without the owner's consent", had to be created to cover those circumstances, because it's trivial for the accused to claim that there had been no intention to "permanently deprive" the owner of the vehicle.

Maybe the FACT etc people need an offence of "copying without the owner's consent". Oh wait, there already is a law covering exactly that. Copyright law (where applicable).

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I agree his analogy is flawed because taking your wallet deprives you of the ability to use its contents even briefly. But the larger point is still valid. If the wallet wasn't grabbed but instead he memorialised them while you were making a purchase from someone, you are probably closer to a representative analogy.

Nope. By memorising my CC number you certainly haven't committed a theft. You've just learned something! Learning is good mmmkay.

I'd still have my card number. All's well.

Many companies, their employees and several close family members and friends already have precisely that information and they haven't stolen anything either. If you or any of them were to pass my card number on to a third party, you still wouldn't have stolen anything. If said third party then USED THE INFORMATION to take my money WITHOUT MY CONSENT, then AT THAT POINT that third party WOULD have committed a theft/fraud as something of mine would have been taken and AT THAT POINT you could be implicated as a conspirator (but you still wouldn't have stolen anything)... Do you see?

You really need to lay off the RIAA koolaid... you've had WAY too much already! It's rotting your brain.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

"Nope. By memorising my CC number you certainly haven't committed a theft. You've just learned something! Learning is good mmmkay."

There's a point where you have to come down from your ivory tower and realize that someone who *wants* access to your CC number is probably going to try and steal from you if they get it.

"koolaid"

Quite. Good luck, kid. I notice you didn't post your CC number so we could all learn something, so you have the germ of a hope of future cluefulness right there.

0
3
Anonymous Coward

"If I scrape a song from YouTube, the creator misses out on a few pennies from me. However, if I buy the album legitimately - the creator receives a scant few pennies from me, which is a pretty shitty deal on a fifteen-twenty euro purchase."

Your post was doing well until this point.

Firstly, how do you know how much the creator receives? I suspect you in fact don't, but are relying on "common knowledge". So the whole thing is based on supposition. It's also worth pointing out we're talking about the movie industry today, which is a completely different kettle of fish to the music industry, but hey.

Secondly, what is a few pennies divided by zero? The creator goes from receiving something to receiving nothing. It isn't right, as OP said, so why argue the point on this basis? If you don't pay, you are rejecting the principle that people should be paid for their work.

Thirdly, year after year, people still voluntarily enter into such contracts with the recording industry, without coercion. It may be a shitty deal, but presumably it's better than no deal, which is why people sign. Someone with neither the talent nor the opportunity to make that choice, and with no particular insight into the costs involved in promoting an artist, seems ill-qualified to determine what is or is not a shitty deal anyway.

The people making the most noise on this are in fact the pirates, who have an endless barrage of crappy self-serving excuses for behaviour which they know damned well is immoral, of which "well we're not depriving the artists of *much*" is perhaps the shittiest. If recording artists really are on the bread-line, as you imply, presumably those few pennies are pretty fucking important to them, no?

0
2
Silver badge

I dunno why I'm wasting my time replying to somebody that isn't even up to putting their name beside what they say, but...hey, I guess I'm bored.

"Firstly, how do you know how much the creator receives? I suspect you in fact don't, but are relying on "common knowledge". So the whole thing is based on supposition." - that's right. People sign contracts, but don't tend to want to discuss said contracts.

I can name you a bunch of well paid movie stars. I can even name some bit players in B-movies. But with notable exceptions of scriptwriters who got famous in their own right (the Joss Whedons of the world) and directors who tend to write their own stories (the James Camerons of the world), I can't name you one single scriptwriter.

However...

"It's also worth pointing out we're talking about the movie industry today, which is a completely different kettle of fish to the music industry, but hey." - it is easier to talk about the music industry for two reasons; the first is simplicity as in many cases the composer and the performer are the same person (at least, for the stuff I listen to) and it is simpler to find information on how much a person would receive based upon a standard contract. Let me ask you - if you are watching a film based upon a Japanese film based upon an animé (or manga) based upon a light novel, who the hell is the "creator"? There are so many fingers in the pie that it is going to be difficult to determine who to call "creator". Logically it would be the author of the light novel, but maybe a lot of the character designs were devised by the manga/animé team? The Japanese movie would then jiggle the story to better fit the duration/constraints of a film; and the Hollywood remake would ditch all the stuff that wouldn't make so much sense to an American audience and stick in things they think would be better. Who's the "creator" now? Who has the most influence on the final product - the scriptwriter, the directory, or the editor? That is why I referred to music. It's simpler to discuss.

"Secondly, what is a few pennies divided by zero? The creator goes from receiving something to receiving nothing. It isn't right, as OP said, so why argue the point on this basis? If you don't pay, you are rejecting the principle that people should be paid for their work." - I'm tempted to call you penny wise and pound foolish. You have rather missed the point, so let me outline it for you. If I buy an album, at full price, and the actual creator receives a few pennies, in which screwed up version of reality is this right? The difference for them between a ripped off download of an entire album and a legal purchase is around 50p (if they wrote) and a quid (if they wrote and performed). Per song, we're looking at 5-10p apiece assuming ten songs on an album. Now think about how much you pay for a song download, and for an album. You seem to believe it is sufficient to say that people should be paid for their work. The point I was getting at was that people should be paid fairly for their work. Important difference - without them there would be no product, so why does the credit card company receive more than the songwriter? [go read the Guardian article linked on the second page of comments]

"Thirdly, year after year, people still voluntarily enter into such contracts with the recording industry, without coercion. It may be a shitty deal, but presumably it's better than no deal, which is why people sign." - you might find this interesting: http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17

"Someone with neither the talent nor the opportunity to make that choice, and with no particular insight into the costs involved in promoting an artist, seems ill-qualified to determine what is or is not a shitty deal anyway." - if you are referring to me here, then you are right that I have neither the talent nor opportunity to look to accepting or rejecting a recording deal. I can, however, read. Allow me to quote from the Guardian article: "Regardless of what royalty rate he's on, Skinner will still have to cover all recording and promotional costs from his share of the income.", and if that isn't enough to convince you that the musicians/band cough up for a lot of the stuff out of their share (just what is the purpose of the label if they don't take on some of these costs!?), the negativland article lays it out quite clearly. It is depressing.

"The people making the most noise on this are in fact the pirates," - the pirates are the ones that lobbied congress in the US for the fee per stolen song to be $150K? The pirates are the ones that confiscated a child's laptop for a failed attempt at an illegal download, with the thing in question subsequently purchased legally before said confiscation? The pirates aren't the ones claiming that $58 billion per year is lost to the US economy (and this $58-lots-of-zeroes applies only to the US, scale it up for global damage) - though as Rob Reid points out, the claimed losses due to piracy - this $58b per year, is on par with the entire maize crop failing, plus all of the fruit crops, plus, well, pretty much all of the crops failing. [ http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html and http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/20/the-numbers-behind-the-copyright-math/ ]

"who have an endless barrage of crappy self-serving excuses for behaviour which they know damned well is immoral," - funny, it's the same whatever side of the fence you look. Either way, the creator gets shafted.

"of which "well we're not depriving the artists of *much*" is perhaps the shittiest. If recording artists really are on the bread-line, as you imply,". Lesson one: understand the concept of "irony". Lesson two: understand the concept of "sarcasm". Then try again.

The point, as it obviously needs to be stated again and again to you is how little the artists receive from our purchase.

I dream, and hope, of a time and place in the future where digital downloading will be simple, affordable, and not tied up with licence bullshit [you have a song, I have money, who gives a damn what countries either of us are in]. A track will cost, say, 50p. 10p will go to the hosting service provider. 10p will go to the transaction handler. About 30p (how much would the VAT be?) will go to the band/artist. That is per track. They'll be looking at around £2.50-3 per album sale, which is surely better than the current standard arrangement. You'll notice that the record companies are not even mentioned. This probably explains all the screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth from them at the moment. They'll want to resist the option of musicians selling directly to their fans with every fibre of their being. It's just a shame they are so shamelessly fucking up "copyright" in the process of rescusitating their dying business model.

2
0
C 7

Just think...

How many movies Americans could have seen in the theater with the amount of tax money being paid to prosecute and lock these guys up.

7
1

Shirley

The best quality cinema copies are created by the cinema staff themselves, a good camera setup in the projection booth and audio captured directly from the sound system. I assumed they were done in less copyright conscious countries though.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Shirley

Indeed.

I find it hard to believe that any camcorder "thief" has been capable of producing the camcorder copies floating around. To be more exact, I would really like to buy the same camcorder he has.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Shirley

The best quality cinema copies (i.e. before release on DVD/BD) are the promo copies of the films. It took them a while but the distributors are now quite good at extensively water marking in various methods these films so they know exactly where the film leaked.

Unfortunately for the movie industry, many leaks are before this stage where the watermarks are applied and therefore can only be leaked by insiders.

1
0

I don't trust the MPAA

I don't trust the MPAA. They lie and lie a lot it seems.

13
1
Anonymous Coward

"reassure consumers"

Thank goodness for that, I've been unable to sleep for worrying.

25
0

Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

I have zero interest in watching a movie recorded on a camcorder in a theater full of people where you do not even have direct audio half the time and when you do it sounds like somebody shoved the microphone where the sun doesn't shine then connected it to the source......Bluray FTW!!!

I guess the general public does not feel the same way as this as these guys were able to sell their pirate warez to others in order to buy some extra servers etc.....I guess the question I would be asking myself is was it REALLY worth it???....Have fun in jail and keep that soap on a rope held tight boys!!

5
13
Anonymous Coward

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

a few years ago when films took a very long time before DVD release cams were more popular, but now? why bother.. the DVD/Blu-ray comes out after a few months, if you still can't afford it then use the cheaper option of waiting until its on the TV...

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

My local town only had a cinema built towards the end of last year, prior to that the nearest was a 30 min motorway journey to a big out of town complex. Even when I have been to the cinema, it's expensive, full of noisy people throwing things, generally uncomfortable seats. I've been in cinemas where the picture was blurry, flickered, and/or the sound too loud and so washing out half of it.

With a drink and a snack it will cost more than buying he blu-ray! And you cant even pause it to nip to the toilet! It's no wonder people watch cam copies.

Even now i have a local cinema, I'd much rather sit comfy at home, with my finely tuned system, watching a high quality version... there's no need to make people wait months for the DVD/blu-ray release!

6
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

>use the cheaper option of waiting until its on the TV...

Of course I don't begrudge ITV showing films with advert breaks... but what puts me off is the shoddy fashion in which they cut the film for the breaks, slicing into the movie at the worst possible dramatic moment, often taking a few milliseconds off the last word of the dialogue. Very off putting.

Come the big finale, the big explosion or poignant conclusion, The End, fade to black, music swell and WALLOP! Some idiot starts yabbering away about what is on next. Its is like eating a good meal and then someone stuffing a bar of soap in your mouth when you are still savouring your last forkful.

It's interesting that the main sponsor is 118 118... anyone with a smartphone / PC can get the information that 118 118 charge for for free, so I assume that the adverts are aimed at people without internet. Maybe they assume that everyone with the internet has either downloaded the movie already or bought the DVD from an etailer, and therefore won't be watching it on ITV.

The consumer isn't treated with respect, so asking the consumer to show respect by not 'pirating' is hypocritical. I go to the cinema, I buy DVDs when they are reasonably priced.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

Showcase Cinema Deluxe in Cabot Circus, Bristol: Please fix the squeaky ventilation fan in one of your screens!

I did have enjoy watching The Town there, very late in its run and at a late hour of the day: Myself and four of mates were the only people in that screening. Superb!

£3.75 for 75cl of plain water? 'ck off!

1
0
Mushroom

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

Oh. Prison rape jokes. How novel and in the best possible taste.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Who Watches Camcorder Movies Now Anyway

Oh. Prison rape jokes. How novel and in the best possible taste.

Old fashioned as well. Soap on a rope is no longer allowed. They have shower soap dispensers...

.. mounted only a foot off the floor.

3
2
Silver badge
WTF?

Now I am glad they were arrested and punished, criminals should be punished...

But surely community service would be a better punishment than Jail time along with compensation of some kind?

Jail time is not a sensible punishment for non-violent offenders...

And no matter what the MPAA say, Piracy is not Theft, it is copyright Violation, sometimes criminal, but you are not physically taking something off another person, your only reducing the potential income of the copyright holder slightly....

And anyone who thinks this was a good punishment is an idiot...

27
6
Silver badge
Devil

Don't be silly, everyone knows that every time a little old lady watches a pirate movie the entertainment industry loses BILLIONS and BILLIONS! It must be true, they've said so themselves, and after all they would know.

18
1
Silver badge
Flame

And

never forget that the movie industry rarely if ever makes any money from movies

In large part due to their tax avoidance schemes.... "oh no Harry potter took £3 billion at the box office" but by creative accounting , the studio declares a loss for tax purposes.

11
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: And

But just think... now these people have been arrested and convicted the FBI can interrogate them about all the Terrrerists they've been funding with their ill-gotten gains!!!

2
0
Silver badge

Reminds me of one of my favourite Ted Talks

The 8 billion dollar iPod

20
0
Gold badge

I wish I could upvote that a gazillion times. Copyright violations are an offence, but the fines levied to try and rescue a totally busted business model are even more offensive..

9
0
Anonymous Coward

>Reminds me of one of my favourite Ted Talks

That was very good!

Hell, people could argue that the move in fashion from prog rock to punk cost jobs, because punk didn't require as many sitar players or as much of the studio engineer's time. We live in a strange world where people are (in theory) rewarded for inventing labour-saving devices, yet politicians are desperate to be seen to be creating jobs.

...

If I didn't have to work full time to live, I'd love to lend a hand on a film set- be it serving meals to the cast, carrying kit, or creating props and concept art if my skills lay in that area.

1
0
Thumb Up

In reply to TED Talks

I liked the line from the talk...

"[The first MP3 player] was a big Christmas hit, because what little hoodlum wouldn't want a million and a half bucks-worth of stolen goods in his pocket?”

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

And what about the bankers

The current financial crisis has ensured that thousands of people have lost their homes, their jobs have been taken any hope that they had of living a reasonably comfortable life has been completely destroyed. In this day and age it is almost the equivalant of having your death warrant signed.

Those that created and profited from this situation have lined their pockets, bankers, wall street traders, insurance companies etc and strangely enough none of them go to jail. Ok one or two puppet figures got slapped.

And yet for some strange reason the powers that be decide to put someone into jail for 5 years for a crime for which no one will ever suffer. Although it might actually mean that one of the film studios bosses next yacht might only be 28m instead of 30m long.

Justice seems to have lost all meaning.

Society is pushing itself towards the edge of a very nasty situation. I just hope that I can avoid getting caught up in the backlash...

26
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: And what about the bankers

Actually, I have seen corporate crisis plans in major cities that have started to incorporate riots as a medium level risk rather than the "low" it used to be, and a number of the bigger ones are working on developing mitigating strategies.

We're not out of the recession, not by a long shot, mainly because the root causes have simply not been addressed. The US has engaged in quite an impressive effort of diversion where the entire planet is angry with tax havens instead of with Wall Street for causing yet again a global crisis (it's not exactly the first time). From a PR angle it's impressive, also because the US has a few of those tax havens itself..

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: And what about the bankers

Justice applies to the rich and privileged.

Steal a £5 you are a common criminal.

Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

.. and a knighthood ..

4
0
Meh

Steal £500 million it's creative accounting.

.. and a knighthood ..

Loose £45 Billion and loose your knighthood (but keep your pension).

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Justice seems to have lost all meaning"

"I just hope that I can avoid getting caught up in the backlash..."

Wise words. But it's not going to be easy. In the UK, when the backlash from the active part of the 99% does finally get serious, it may make the 2011 riots pale into insignificance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zccrskOqQ [Call IT Democracy : Bruce Cockburn]

1
6

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.