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Jeruba's avatar

Have you ever known anyone who got busted for pirating DVDs?

Asked by Jeruba (55888points) October 30th, 2010

Every time I watch a Netflix movie, I see a reminder that the penalty for copyright violation is up to 5 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

Have you ever known of anyone personally (as opposed to a news report) who actually got caught copying DVDs, whether for commercial use or not, and had to pay for the crime?

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21 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

No, never.

The fact of the matter is it just does not work that way, they dont go out and sue every person who pirates a movie or song. What they do, is they find a 14 or 15 year old kid who has a dozen or so movies on their computer and they sue them for an insane amount of money. They spend thousands of dollars on an entire legal team and ruin some kids life.

The idea is to make an example out of them to try and scare others out of pirating. They know they will never ever be able to stop piracy, so they use scare tactics to try and do damage control.

Personally, I would be more worried about being hit by lightning or kicked to death by a elderly donkey on a full moon.

I have met one person online who had got in to trouble for pirating movies, but thats a very strange case. It was a crazy guy who was giving away free copies of the passion of the christ at a market. he was then let off the hook on the basis that he was suffering from a severe mental problem. (he is a 2012 NWO bush did 9/11 & all news reporters are reptilian aliens from the planet nibiru kind of guy)

Vortico's avatar

Yes—well, sort of.

A friend of mine received two letters in the mail one month for downloading multiple movies from a specific film production company (Sony, Warner Brothers, I don’t remember.) The letters were from the film company and simply offered a warning for downloading more movies. He had been downloading two or three movies a day, so it seems reasonable. Also, I have never heard any reports of anyone getting busted for downloading music, software, or books illegally.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’ve been pirating stuff for years.

Send me a PM Jeruba and I’ll tell you what to do to avoid getting caught.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@FutureMemory You mean like posting on the Internet how you pirate tons of stuff?

FutureMemory's avatar

I’ve mentioned it many times before on Fluther. I have no reason to be concerned.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@FutureMemory Fine, then what are these things that you do to protect yourself?

FutureMemory's avatar

@papayalily Give away my stealthy ninja secret ways? I think not!

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, I have no interest in doing it, thanks, @FutureMemory. I am a stalwart if not rabid defender of copyright and think there should be a special circle of Hell reserved for those who steal other people’s creative work.

It just seemed to me that given the consistency of the warning and the frequency with which I suspect this crime is perpetrated, I would have run across somebody who’d been caught at it. But then it occurred to me that some flutherfolk might be likelier than I to be acquainted with media pirates. So I just wondered—are individuals of the sort who’d be renting Netflix for home viewing ever successfully prosecuted for this?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@papayalily Not that you where talking to me, but if you are interested in protecting your self while downloading, I have some info. ... ill message you with it, i don’t think the mods would like if i posted it here in plain view

FutureMemory's avatar

@Jeruba Damn, here I was getting ready to hook you up.

Seriously, I knew that wasn’t something you’d be interested in :)

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Jeruba Regarding defending copyright: you should not be so keen to defend it. It does a lot of damage. The laws are being abused and where never meant to be used the way they are being used.

I could go on and on for hours and hours, so all ill say is, if you have heard all the arguments and counter arguments, and have made your mind up already what side you are on, you can simple ignore this post. If however you would like to have your perceptions challenged a little, I invite you to say so. I can then mount a case for why copyright laws are bad (the way they are currently used). and you can give your counter arguments if you so wish.

Just to give you a little idea where i stand, I personally have developed software, that has been pirated. As my software requires activation, i know exactly who has pirated it, and what domain it is linked to, and thus whos peronal details it is linked to. The way my software works, i could cut them off right now. I could click a couple of buttons and the pirated copies would be rendered useless. I could also sue them. However, i do not. I simply let them get away with it. I lose $69.99 each time it is pirated, and it took me and my partner a whole year to develop it out of our own time and money. and yet, i let it slide.

FutureMemory's avatar

@poisonedantidote I have to ask: why do you let it slide? If it’s that easy for you to render their copy useless, why not do it? Seventy bucks is a lot of money.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@FutureMemory Firstly, I consider it an honour that they think my product is worth “stealing”. there are movies that costs millions to make that are not worth “stealing”.

Furthermore, i will not gain $69.99 by blocking them. The only way i can get my money back is if i sue them, and to do that i need a lawyer, and if i do do that, i will want to reclaim my costs from the other side, and lawyers charge a lot, and that means i would need to sue them for thousands of bucks for something that costs $69.99, and really, im not that much of an asshole.

Also, they are giving me publicity, my software has a link to my site, and any time someone sees the pirated copy, i get something out of it.

But my main reason, is i simply do not believe in copyright laws (the way they are currently used). If another company steals my software, and they start to sell it on mass, then i would sue them. i believe that is what copyright law is there to protect, to protect me from other companies, and to protect other companies from yet more companies. they are not there to allow you to ruin some poor teenagers life or to make criminals out of regular people.

EDIT: also, who am i to go taking regular people to court for pirating my software, when i have a hard drive full of stuff that i got the exact same way.

FutureMemory's avatar

@poisonedantidote Excellent answer. Bravo.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@FutureMemory thx. and yes… i could use the $69.99, specially this year.

Jeruba's avatar

My interest in copyright pertains mostly to creative works such as writing and music. The copyright protection of software and other sorts of intellectual property is a very complex and difficult issue and one that I don’t know very much about. But the fact that those laws may be controversial and hard to enforce does not mean that it’s fine to steal another’s creative work or that we shouldn’t try to protect the rights of the owners. One person’s attitude about putting software into the public domain does not mean that I should labor away on a story until it’s worth selling and then let it go for nothing or that someone else should be able to claim authorship of my work with impunity.

But this question is not about the rights and wrongs of copyright law. It’s about whether responders have personal knowledge of anyone who’s been prosecuted for pirating DVDs.

rooeytoo's avatar

Seems as if I remember reading several years ago about a 60 year old woman who was arrested for downloading music from Limewire. I could be hallucinating and I have no links, but the remembrance is in my head.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Jeruba i sent you a little private message to not derail the thread any further. and i agree mostly btw. its not right to take someone elses creative work. but its not ok to ruin their life if they do either. two wrongs dont make a right and what not.

john65pennington's avatar

I was asked to assist in searching for pirated CDs. i met Federal Agents at a warehouse, that had been open for business, about 6 months. this warehouse was open to the public. information came to us that for each expensive stereo system a customer purchased, 30 CDs would be given as a bonus. as we walked in, we first heard the music playing. i then noticed a suspected pirated CD playing in an open-face CD player. this CD had the title written on it with a magic marker. it was confiscated as pirated, along with approx. 3,000 other suspected pirated CDs. the owner was arrested and a padlock placed on the front door of his business. his warehouse is now empty and for sale.

He is still serving his five years in prison.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rooeytoo That sounds familiar to me, too.

Jeruba's avatar

And now for another take on copyright and downloading. Take note, @poisonedantidote, where the weight of sentiment lies with respect to appropriating creative work.

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