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Feds Convict Warez Dealer 560

Posted by timothy
from the sympathy-glands-are-quite-dry dept.
XaviorPenguin writes "News.com.com.com has a story that says the DoJ has '...landed its first conviction against an American defendant trapped via Operation Fastlink, a multinational law enforcement effort undertaken against online software piracy. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa said that Jathan Desir, 26, of Iowa City, has pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in a criminal enterprise that distributed pirated software, games, movies and music over the Internet.' Desir is the first conviction that Operation Fastlink has done. He will possibly serve up to 15 years in prison when his sentencing is in March 18, 2005. Previous Slashdot articles are included here(1), here(2), and most recently here(3)."
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Feds Convict Warez Dealer

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  • Alright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:16PM (#11204590) Journal
    Queue "Rapists get less time" posts. If you think this is unfair punishment, lobby your congressmen, complaining about in on /. will accomplish slightly less then nothing.
    • Re:Alright (Score:5, Insightful)

      by networkBoy (774728) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:18PM (#11204614) Homepage Journal
      True, but I don't know that the punishment is unjust. It partially depends on where he is incarserated. I realise this is a long sentance, but he did pirate quite a bit of software.
      This is not a troll, it is a point ov view from someone in the Tech industry.
      -nB
      • Re:Alright (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Restil (31903) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:43PM (#11204862) Homepage
        He hasn't been sentenced yet. You're looking at the maximum, which is rarely given, especially for a first offense. And since he plea bargained, it'll likely be significantly less than the maximum.

        -Restil
        • Re:Alright (Score:5, Informative)

          by javab0y (708376) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @10:54PM (#11205736)

          Wrong...this is not a state case, its federal. He will receive a nice chunk of the 15 years. Read the Federal Sentencing Guidlines [ussc.gov]. Judges usually and typically do not depart due to potential career ramifications. It has been done...but its not usual. However, if a judge truely believes that 15 years is excessive (and hopefully he/she will), they will depart. Cross your fingers for this kid.

          What is amazing to see is this kid is facing the possibility of doing more time than your average homicide, rape or sexual assault criminal. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference System (NCJRS), the following sentences are listed as the average:

          • Homicide: Average sentence = 149 months.
          • Rape: Average sentence = 117 months.
          • Kidnapping: Average sentence = 104 months.
          • Robbery: Average sentence = 95 months.
          • Sexual assault: Average sentence = 72 months.
          • Assault: Average sentence = 61 months.

          Make note this potential sentence exceeds the averages for violent crime, and exceeds the time given by the Department Of Justice to Andrew Fastow, the CFO of Enron convicted of bilking millions of dollars from employees and investors. This poor kid is looking at 180 months. We have a problem with our criminal justice system.

    • by purduephotog (218304) <[moc.tibroni] [ta] [hcsrih]> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:19PM (#11204634) Homepage Journal
      ... it's just scary.

      In one case you've destroyed an individual- taken his/her dignity, the right to be safe, the very 'temple' of his/her body with a violent act such as rape.

      In another, we have little bits of signal that have 'more' importance than the afore mentioned victim.

      I have always been cynical and said everything comes down to money- religion, lawyers, corporations- it all revolves around that little dollar sign.

      But when you hear about someone getting locked away for 15 years (sorry Kevin) ... it's just another world.

      And it scares me.
      • by MAdMaxOr (834679) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @09:20PM (#11205158)
        Comparing SPAM, warez, etc to rape and murder is an interesting case. It brings up social taboos on putting prices on human life.

        Suppose I ask, "Which deserves more punishment, sending X spam messages, or killing someone?" How high would X have to be for you to think it worse than murder? Many people would say that X can go to infinity, but murder is still worse. But say you send 100,000,000 spams that take 15 seconds each to deal with. You have then robbed society of 48 man-years of time, an equivalent loss to a murder.

        People are willing to concede that time = money and life = time, but they are unwilling to follow it to the conclusion that life = money.

        It would be an interesting criminal justice system that punished in proportion to the economic damage inflicted.
        • I remember reading up on a study on the highway speeds and how 75 vs 65 resulted in less fatalities...

          When it was all done and concluded it worked out to be about 1.3 million (if memory serves) per life saved.

          Unfortunately, the lack of speed cost society about 4.3 million per life (Very convoluted logic- I didn't follow it) due to increased time 'wasted' while commuting.

          So ... yes. There's a price for taking a life- and it should be small for a true accident (kid running out in front of a car from behind an SUV and with NO chance to stop) ... but it should be high for a planned, premeditated execution (Peterson (I'm not getting into exactly *how* they reached that) for example).

          And then you have money - theft of money almost ALWAYS gets a stiffer sentence than a violent crime... and if you steal in the process of a violent crime it becomes much more stiffer penalties.

          I guess software piracy is like a flasher: Everyone says it's a victimless crime. But in reality everyone is hurt at some point... but man oh man, 15 years? Sigh.
        • punished in proportion to the economic damage inflicted

          One could then say that killing a poor and elderly man is a much lesser crime than killing a young doctor fresh out of med school. This might be one reason we like to avoid the price tags.
        • You have then robbed society of 48 man-years of time, an equivalent loss to a murder.

          Wasting 15 seconds of 100,000,000 people's lives is in no way an equivalent loss to a murder. Those people aren't actually harmed.

          Criminal law should focus on one thing: Preventing and punishing those who do actual harm to others. Harming someone means doing something that would change that person's life negatively, in a way that that person or those around him would be aware that he was harmed.

          When someone stole my l

      • by Anonymous Coward
        But when you hear about someone getting locked away for 15 years (sorry Kevin) ... it's just another world.

        Who got locked away for 15 years? Oh, you read "up to 15 years" and overreacted to the fact that crimes do have varying punishments based on their situations, based on individual judges. Nobody got sentenced to anything. Yet.

        I firmly believe all these "Rapists get less time" posts are just distractions meant to paint the justice system as a bad guy for taking away the piracy free ride. I know th
      • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @10:34PM (#11205630)
        ... it's just scary.

        It's rare for the federal government to claim jurisdiction in cases of rape or murder.

        1% of federal prisoners are serving time for sex offenses, 3% for homicide, aggravated assault, or kidnapping, 4% of a prison population of 180,000. Federal Bureau of Prisons QUICK FACTS September 2004 [bop.gov]

        To be among the 38% sentenced to more than ten years, you have to had mucked up your life pretty badly.

    • Re:Alright (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:27PM (#11204718)
      Truth be told, one might get less time in jail for physically assaulting our congress persons.

      But seriously...

      Individuals lobbying congress will never acheive anything. You need a political group (EFF anyone?) that has political clout in numbers and can play the politics game on that level.

      Even that maybe fruitless. One would have to have backing and understanding by mainstream media or an enlightened political leader to take up the cause which won't happen anytime soon. Unless of course computer geeks everywhere formed their own political party and marched on Washington.

      Hey. It could happen.
      • Re:Alright (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dotslashdot (694478)
        Corporations are writing the laws to protect their failed markets. Until corporations lose this power, look for more and more stuff to be illegal. Eventually it will be against the law to disparage an industry just like it's against the SEC regulations to make comments regarding a company. Copyright should be enforced by monetary punishment, not by incarceration. The United States of Amerika has the largest prison population in the world. What a bunch of bullshit.
      • Re:Alright (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        Individuals lobbying congress will never acheive anything. You need a political group (EFF anyone?) that has political clout in numbers and can play the politics game on that level.

        But what political group would spend its effort to ask for lower sentences for "pirates"? They risk having all their other aims tarred with the brush of "the same group that supports Open Source supports piracy" -- playing right into Balmer's hands. And most of the technical lobby groups are dominated by the CEOs, not the grass

    • Not sentenced yet (Score:2, Insightful)

      by n1ywb (555767)
      He has not been sentenced yet, the key is "up to" 15 years. Maybe he does deserve it, I don't know. You really can't compare software piracy to rape. The law's point of view (not necessarily mine) is that the individual caused tremendous financial harm to the affected companies, which in turn harms it's employees, shareholders, and customers.

      Violent rapists should obviously be punished severely. But what about cases where both individuals were drunk but it's somehow the man's fault because the woman was t

      • Re:Not sentenced yet (Score:4, Interesting)

        by failedlogic (627314) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:42PM (#11204855)
        If impariment gets less time in conviction for violent crimes, then using the same logic, distributing files on the Internet while under the influence should have a lesser penalty as well.
      • Re:Not sentenced yet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        Anyway you just can't compare the two.

        Absolutely. Property crimes should never be equated with crimes against a person. There simply is no property crime that warrants incarceration. There are too many alternatives that are much more effective, but they never seem to satisfy the hunger for revenge. Again, only dangerous people should be locked away. Big money says otherwise.
        • by Babbster (107076)
          So, a burglar who comes into my house and steals my PC shouldn't get any time? What happens when he does it again? And again? I get an expensive security system and he manages to disable it and does it again?

          We're not living in a hippified property-free utopia. Someone who steals my assets is preventing me from living my life the way I want. Hell, when he steals my PC the burglar is preventing me from earning money to STAY alive.

          I'd rather have a guy on the street who, in the heat of passion, shot

          • by joshki (152061)
            what you missed from the parent's statement was:

            There are too many alternatives that are much more effective

            The idea is that you can take someone who steals and rehabilitate them -- or at least make them work so hard for so long that they will never want to do it again. Take away the incentive to steal -- make them work 18 hours a day until they've paid off that PC they stole (forced restitution -- you get your property back plus whatever fee the court decides is just) and they'll hopefully decide it'

        • So someone who steals your identity, ruins your credit, has bill collectors constantly calling you and harrasing you as you try to get it fixed, they should be sent to counseling?
    • Have gone unanswered. What you dont realize is that 'elected officals' only listen to people that are worthy of their time. ( i.e. people or corporations that can 'donate' huge amounts to their campaigns... ) The little people dont count anymore. Have not for a LONG time. And in this fight, the *AA has the bigger pot....
      • What you dont realize is that 'elected officals' only listen to people that are worthy of their time. ( i.e. people or corporations that can 'donate' huge amounts to their campaigns... )

        Or, in my case, are registered in their party. I lived for eighteen years in a district controlled by the opposite party and asked for help several times. Not once did I even get a reply. Now, I've moved to a different district, controlled by the same party and am getting the same lack of response. I'm not naming which

    • Copyright law violations are a federal matter, rape and murder are a state matter. If you feel that the latter are not being enforced properly then push for reform in your state if after some investigation, you still believe it's not level. Your state may be tougher on such crime that you think, VA for example which doesn't seem that tough compared to some, has the second highest execution rate in the U.S. last I checked.

      The irony of your choice, rape, is that it is so often not punished because so many yo
    • by Cryptnotic (154382) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @09:09PM (#11205067) Homepage
      ...but an individual rapist affects only a handful of individuals. Someone unlawfully distributing software like this is negatively affecting the economy and social structure of the United States of America. The United States economy has for a large number of people become an intellectual property economy. Many people don't want to go back to the days where they had to toil in factories for minimum wage. Instead, we'd rather be writing software, making games, making movies, writing music, or designing products that get assembled in China by poor workers there. Anyway, people like this--whether they are distibuting for profit or not--are undermining the economy of the United States and we will not allow that to happen.

      If you want "free software", use free software that's really free.

      • Someone unlawfully distributing software like this is negatively affecting the economy and social structure of the United States of America.

        Except this just your postulate, you have shown no proof.

        And I will postulate the opposite: It has no effect on the economy and social structure: Its only downloaded by two groups: people who are curious but who wouldn't want to buy it if that was the only way to get it (they would then do without) or people who couldn't afford to buy it anyway.

        The United States e
      • reply to self... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cryptnotic (154382) *
        Okay, there are a couple of posters here to whom I can better explain my ideas.

        First of all, one of the ways in which software piracy hurts the economy is not in a direct way. Suppose someone wants Photoshop, but doesn't want to pay $500. Suppose he can afford to pay perhaps $100. There are a LOT of these people out there. Many of them right now pirate Photoshop. However, there are photo manipulation programs out there that cost around $100 that they could legitimately buy. If these people with $100
    • Personally, I'm an anti-IP extremist. I don't believe in owning ideas. Peroid. I don't believe that law should make easily reproduceable items artificially scare and inflate their economic value. I think if you want to sell something, it's up to you to be sure the next guy can't make another just as easily. IF that means you can't make a living selling CDS and have to get a day job or live off of concert performances, so be it. If you can't make a living selling code but instead have to get a job creating i
    • ...but then, I wouldn't be serving my civic duty to /. , so here goes...

      Queue "Rapists get less time" posts.

      So what we need to do is lobby harder for longer prison sentences for rapists, rather than lobby for less prison time for software "distributors."

      First, let's get one thing straight: what this guy did was illegal, in the sense that it was against the law (hate to be redundant, but it sets up my next point). Anyone who can't see that can't see straight.

      Second, I know a lot of /.ers will argue
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:18PM (#11204613)
    Why go with "warez" but eschew the customary "d00d"?
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:19PM (#11204633) Journal
    Fifteen years for distributing data. The jail time for violent crimes must be way longer than that!

    What? What's that, you say? You can be in prison for less than a year for beating the shit out of another human being?

    Something is terribly wrong with this system.
    • by Samurai Cat! (15315) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:25PM (#11204699) Homepage
      Well, it doesn't cost (in theory) millions of dollars to fix some jackass's face after a well-deserved ass-whuppin'.

      They're basing the punishment on the (theoritical) cost of the crime. They mentioned the value of the pirated stuff at $50mil. That's quite a lot of money - hence quite a lot of software to be pirating.

      What they DON'T really mention, as far as I saw, was whether this guy was putting up stuff for download, or was actually *selling pirated software*. If the former, the punishment should be far far FAR more lenient. But of course, the software lobby wouldn't look at it that way.

      Reminds me of Operation Sundevil back in the 80's. Three guys in the Legion of Doom (one of which I met shortly after he got released) got sent to the pokey over that E911 document. The baby bell claimed the document was valued at some ginormous amount - and the way they reached that figure? They counted the costs of all the computers, etc. that were used to create the document. Meaning, if one employee opened that document and made one tiny change, they decided that that document was worth however much it was *plus* the cost of the computer or terminal that was used by that guy. Insane!
      • by dasunt (249686)

        The sad thing is that the E911 document was originally valued at $79,449 but had roughly the same information as the "BellSouth E911 Service Interfaces", available for $13 from a Bellcore catalog (_Hacker_Crackdown, by Bruce Sterling).

      • by telemonster (605238) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @11:39PM (#11206012) Homepage
        Did the software companies report $50 million in losses? No.

        They claim that every download or copy is a lost sale, which is total crap. I'm sure many people here on slashdot remember the days of dialing in to the local pirate BBS, downloading crazy expensive business programs, and playing with them for the fun of it. Did I need autocad? No. Was I using autocad for business? No. Was it lost revenue from Autodesk? No. Did I even know what I was doing? No.

        I understand the software publishers desire to get paid for their work. Things are much better today, I downloaded a preview of Combustion!! Didn't know what to do with it (like Autocad) but got a glimpse of the real software.

        We all knew those people that had the insane software collection. They didn't play the games. They didn't use the applications. They stored it away, stacks and stacks of disks.

    • "Up to"

      Given that he allocuted, I'd bet he'll get far less for playing ball with the feds [and likely far far less if he's ratting out his fellow warez buddies].

    • read the first post.

      when you have taken his advice please report back.

      until then....
    • by Monkelectric (546685) <<slashdot> <at> <monkelectric.com>> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:54PM (#11204951)
      Something is terribly wrong with this system.

      Not if you're the one running it. Rapists: not a threat to your empire. People breaking laws which make you rich: a threat.

    • It's not a terribly hidden fact that many official circles have a definite and finite value for human life and it is easily exceeded by capital costs. In fact, people are most often listed as liabilities rather than assets, so you see where the value of human life gets factored in right?

      I'm not at all shocked or even appauled by this. I wish it weren't so for a number of reasons. And I think the most significant of these reasons is that the deterrent need not be quite so high to be effective. Hell, for
  • Dupe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:20PM (#11204642)
    Only on /. do dupes include links to previous versions.
  • by sgant (178166) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:20PM (#11204643) Homepage Journal
    I see this going the way of the "war on drugs" in the way they jail people...but is this really going to stop the flow of mp3's or software or movies? I mean, do they REALLY think they're going to stop this now that the genie is out of the bottle?

    Perhaps, they should re-think their distribution methods on how they receive payment for their work/art.

    I don't have the answers or even a suggestion...but jailing people left and right certainly isn't working on drug use...why do they think it will work here?
    • That's because (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Violent cimes-- the ones that really matter-- tend to be crimes that lend you in state prison. State prisons are overstuffed so if you go in, you get out on parole in a fraction of the time you were sentenced for.

      Crimes against property and society, like running a web server or giving someone drugs, tend to be felonies. Federal prison == no parole.
    • i haven't yet met anyone who was addicted to mp3s. it's pretty easy to stop to downloading. additionally, there's a lot of money to be made selling drugs. there appears to be less money to be made uploading mp3s to p2p.
    • I dont see datalords making millions from smuggling Mp3s into the US from Columbia. I dont see crackdens making money from people high on music. In the war on drugs, theres a low risk/reward ratio, a fair amount of risk of being caught for a LOT of monetory reward. With Copyright Infringement, theres a high risk/reward ratio. You stand to make very little out of copyright infringement, but you stand to loose a LOT in either money or freedom when you go to jail. That is why this is nothing like the war
      • But they're so easy to get. They're still easy to get. Yes, the war on drugs is a different thing, but I'm saying the "war" itself is futile on both fronts.

        Again, the genie is out of the bottle. They're scrambling to put it back...hence this "war" they've started. But I don't see them winning this unless they change their way of thinking.

        My analogy of using the war on drugs is in the "war" part. They more they fight it, the easier it is to get. The price of heroin has fallen in a huge way from where it wa
    • No, it won't stop the flow, but it will restrict the flow to other "safer" mediums. P2P software and networks make it very easy for the copyright owner and/or representitives to amass a large quantity of evidence against a large number of infringers within a short period of time. They can spend a small amount of effort and money investing in an evidence collection method that's virtually automated. If they had to make the same effort for each individual person they go after, it wouldn't be worth it, even
    • I can just imagine the future.

      A little girl is out near the pool, putting the inflatable toy out over the deep end, all by herself. She struggles to get it in the water, then walks to the edge...

      Cut to a woman's voice saying, "Just tell her parents you were busy downloading the latest Leisure Suit Larry game."

      Cue the music.

    • I'd guess that about half the population would view the benefits of pirated entertainment as being worth the cost of being cluck clucked at on message boards and being told what they are doing is wrong.

      I suspect the percentage of people who would see the benefits of free music/movies outweighing say a 10-15% chance of doing jail time to be significantly lower.

      With drugs the bulk of the harms acrue to the user, and by their very nature they overwhelm the normal process of weighing relative benefits making
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:21PM (#11204658) Homepage
    I understand the draw, with software being so expensive, but with all the spyware, viruses, and malware in general, it's just amazing that people will download totally unverifiable executables in this day and age.

    Of course, people are still having unprotected sex, too.

    • well, spyware, viruses and malware can all be detected before installing the software...plus if they're distributing it via a torrent, then there are other people down the line that would alert everyone that it's bad. Is this foolproof? No. But it works most of the time. But it's also a risk many are willing to take.

      Also, people do have unprotected sex...why? Because what is the cut-off? What if you're dating someone for a few months...do you still wear a condom? Get married and still wear one? HIV can lay
  • by Jaywalk (94910) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:31PM (#11204754) Homepage
    Operation Fastlink officials seized 200 computers, 30 of which were alleged to have been used as storage and distribution servers containing thousands of copyrighted works, including newly released movies and music. The Justice Department estimated that the seized copyright material alone was worth $50 million.
    So if only 30 of them were servers distributing copyrighted material, what were the other 170 machines for? Why did they take five times as many machines as those actually being used for illegal activity? This smells of the kind of clueless crap documented in The Hacker Crackdown [mit.edu] where the prosecution was to earn political brownie points rather than to actually protect society.
    • How do you know which machine has the material you're looking for on it until after you examine it? (ie: you seize all machines to find the 30 you're looking for)
    • If each of the 30 alleged server owners had 7 other computers, this isn't that hard to figure out.

      -Restil
  • by Man in Spandex (775950) <prsn DOT kev AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:31PM (#11204757)
    I just hope any 'attempted murder' sentences will last more than 15 years because if software pirates get 15, then convicts arrested for shooting somebody should have double!
  • advice (Score:4, Funny)

    by blackomegax (807080) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:33PM (#11204775) Journal
    a little tip to the guy thats serving 15 years...you're close to canada, GO THERE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:35PM (#11204794)
    Why should I spend even more money keeping him in prison?

    People who are a danger to society should be kept away from society, but why not financially punish non-violent criminals?
  • If the methodology behind finding and apprehending software priates becomes totally automated then the courts are going to be flooded with cases of this sort.

    I would think that, given the fact that there are now many free software packages which are as good as (or better in some cases) pre-existing software packages, maybe the pirates could be convinced to switch to other software. Sort of a rehab for pirates. After all, why do we - as citizens - want to have even more people in jail freeloading off of t
  • Safety in America (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:38PM (#11204815) Homepage Journal
    I'm happy to read this, as it means the FED's have nothing better to do then run around enforcing **CIVIL** issues ( on MY dime even )..

    All the terrorists, rapists, murderers, etc have been eradicated from the earth.

    We can all feel so much safer and sleep better tonight knowing this.
    • yes. the feds should never involve themselves with "civil" crimes until ALL murders have been stopped and ALL of the terrorists are behinds bars...

      thank you for your input..
      • That is a correct statement you make.

        Civil cases should not be an excuse to waste tax dollars by using *criminal* agencies, grossly out of their jurisdiction...

        There IS a difference..
    • On Christmas Eve I was watching the ABC evening news (I think) and they were profiling a city in North Carolina where the local constabulary was taking to dressing as homeless people or as utility workers with radar guns.

      That is nothing but a gotcha for city revenue - if they were looking to slow down traffic on a road they'd station a marked car there or do signs.

      This is a case where law enforcement is not acting to enhance public safety. If this were going on in my county, I'd be very angry. While t

      • That's retarded. You can't put a car marked car everywhere, and if people know that only marked cars are looking for people speeding, then they'd just slow when they see one and zoom away after they passed. What you described is just a simple extension of the speed trap police car waiting behind bushes, out of sight from would-be speeders.
      • by Kwil (53679)
        Bullshit, that is not just a "gotcha" for city revenue. It's called deterrence.

        The thing is, if all they wanted was for people to go slow if there happens to be a cop around, then yes, using unmarked cars and disguises would make no sense. But what they want is for people to be paying due care and attention and not speeding even when there isn't a cop around to enforce it.

        If people would obey the law at all times (instead of only when it's risky to break them) then there'd be no need for these tactics. Th
  • It's awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheAdventurer (779556)
    I think it's awesome that someone finally got the book thrown at them for cheating hard working professionals out of their profit. It's fun to watch.

    Screw the software/music/movie pirates.
  • by wedg (145806)
    Way to go Iowa City!

    (I'm going to the University of Iowa here.)
  • This was not a case of the teenager down the street sharing movies and music for free with others via Kazaa or Bit Torrents. This was a person who was involved in a ring that charged for access to copyrighted materials. I think the time fits the magnitude of the crime.
    • by mochan_s (536939) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:42AM (#11207640)

      NO, NO, NO, NO, NO

      He did NOT charge for access to copyright materials

      From the report:
      In January 2003, Desir and others set up an online library for a private group to share movies, games, utility software and music. The library grew to about 13,000 titles by the time of the federal raid in April. Transfer logs obtained from the computer service show Desir transferred numerous titles between Aug. 16, 2003, and April 2, 2004. Records show he copied and distributed at least 10 items every six months. He accessed the system from his Iowa City home, records show. No address was provided.

      It says that he set up a server where a group of people could share the software. He did not charge people in the group for it.

      How is this modded insightful? This is completely wrong !!!!

      I think he was just suffering from the downloader's syndrome of trying to have every title in the warez scene in his computer just in case that at some time if the need rises for a particular utility he will have it.

      He was just being a librarian and a collector. He wasn't asking money for people to access it. THe people who could access it were probably people on a IRC channel. His crime was probably that he became too good a collector and a librarian.

      So in philosophy it is equivalent to a teenager sharing his/her collection of digital goodies he/she's found on the web and stored on his/her computer.

  • by mcguyver (589810) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:48PM (#11204898) Homepage
    The Justice Department estimated that the seized copyright material alone was worth $50 million.

    You think if this guy was sitting on $50 million dollars that he would be peddling warez and playing games?
  • Iowa (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sheepdot (211478) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @09:10PM (#11205075) Journal
    I live in Iowa. Warez is like a pastime here. If it's gone we might have to resort to spamming to make up for all the spare time.
  • Way to go, waste more money on prison time for people responsible for non violent crime. Who cares about people murdering people when we have people out there pirating software!
  • News.com.com.com

    News.com.com.com: If our name doesn't say we're definitely from the Internet, nothing does.
  • by Ogemaniac (841129) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @09:27PM (#11205196)
    been sentenced to 15 years. It is simply the maximum he could get. In reality, he will get one or two - much less than a typical rapist. In any case, here is a fun argument as to how this person could have caused more harm than a rapist. Let us presume for a moment than the $50 million figure cited was correct (actually, it is more complicated than this, of course). How much harm, in monetary terms, does a rapist do? Many people quibble about how one can do this, but I have no problem with it at all. First, we start with the pretty solid basis that a typical American values their life at roughly ten million dollars. How do you figure this? Risk analysis - people with risky jobs are paid more than otherwise similar jobs. One can then simply extrapolate the risk/reward curve to figure that at the margins, $1 is worth about 1/10 million of your life. Other methods of calculation by various economists produce similar results. Now, given that your whole life is worth about $10 million, it is obvious that being raped, while sucking quite hard, is clearly better than dying. Maybe 10% as bad, at most. So therefore, a rape is something on the order of $1 million dollars in damage, mostly to the victim, but also to society in general which experiences fear and must pay for police protection, courts, etc. So at least by this logic, this guy caused 50 times the damage of a rapist. The primary difference is not that he did less damage, but that his damage is diffuse - spread among thousands of stockholders, rather than essentially focused on one person. Stealing a few bucks from millions of people doesn't manifest itself as clearly as stealing a million bucks from one person.
  • Sigh, just listen to all the corporate drones towing the company line. Really, it's just so sad that all you shallow greedy first worlders don't or won't understand the real issue here.

    Face facts, the laws have been bent by those seeking undeserved profits. Copyright, intellectual property protection and modern patents are all just evil vehicles used by the rich in order to exploit the public domain.
  • by Ghostgate (800445) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @09:54PM (#11205381)
    ... I really don't know where to begin with you.

    Most of you are just throwing around "numbers of years in prison" as if they mean nothing at all. The maximum sentence this guy could receive is 15 years. Don't you have any concept of just how LONG that is? 15 years ago, it was 1989. Think about where you were in 1989 and everything you've done between now and then. Now imagine it ALL WIPED OUT, instead spent in a cell. And not because you killed or raped someone. No. Because you committed "copyright infringement".

    Now does the punishment really fit the crime?

    Others of you say if we disagree with the penalty, we should lobby our congressmen. This is laughable. If you're not a sizable organization, namely one with a lot of money, you're not going to get to DO any lobbying. And that's the problem here. The system is currently set up completely in favor of the big corps. Due to the money they have, they can influence the laws to favor maximum profitability for them, rather than what's best for the entire country. They can also scare almost anyone out of doing something, whether it's an illegal activity or not, simply with the threat of an expensive lawsuit. And this is without even getting into the ridiculous patent issues - again, because they have the money, they can afford to use a good chunk of it snapping up questionable patents and then trying to profit from them later (again, usually via "scare" lawsuits, and not from actually defending the patents).

    But... I'm going off on something else now. The point is: I don't argue against copyright infringement being illegal. What I argue is that it should be no more severe than a misdemeanor.
  • This is so nuts. Nothing anywhere in this says this guy was profitting. He was merely copying and distributing games/apps. There is also no evidence anyone suffered any real damages because of this.

    I know some collectors. The mentality is to get copies of everything, they never even install 1/10 th of the stuff, use my maybe 1% of what they install. It is just like a big game to them.

    Blah blah this is the law... Frankly it is an insane law. The law is bought and sold by psychopathic corporations and dirty
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @11:12PM (#11205842) Journal
    Industry in the US, back in the clolnial days, started out by explicitly violating the British patent system.

    That system was intended to create long-term monopolies on many manufacturing processes and devices, such as thread mills and power looms. Part of the point of these patents was to keep colonies agricultural and raw-material producing, dependent on the "mother country" for their manufactured goods (rather than competing with it and becoming a world power).

    The arrival of people with knowlege of mill manufacture, who set up their own plants here, was a major factor in the colonies achieving the ability to break away. And the "mother country"'s attempts to enforce these monopolies produced some of the major greviances that lead to the revolution.

    So now it looks like the US has come full circle. B-(
  • I know Jathan. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rjh (40933) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @11:52PM (#11206104)
    I'm a graduate student at the University of Iowa, pursuing a Master's in CompSci, focusing on computer security. Until last year, Jathan was the Graduate Student Secretary at UI.

    I have no knowledge of any crimes he may or may not have committed.

    So, that said... Jathan never did me anything but right. He was quiet, kept to himself an awful lot, but in a department which seems defined by professors who keep their office doors shut, Jathan's door was always open--both figuratively and literally.

    My first day at UI, I walked into his office to get a registration number. I looked over his bookshelf and found a surprising number of really high-quality texts on C++, which he told me he'd found laying around MacLean Hall or which someone was throwing away, or whatever. (Strangely enough, the engineering library at Seamans Center has a far, far larger programming library than the CS department in MacLean Hall. The ECE, Electrical and Computer Engineering, geeks have a much better library. In MacLean Hall, getting the book with the right information is a matter of borrowing it from the grad student who owns it, or else hitting Amazon.com.) I walked in there just expecting to get my registration processed; I walked out of there with three good C++ texts under my arm, gifts from him. No money, no favors, no nothing: just "here's how the library situation works, and here, have a few books, do you already have a copy of Josuttis? You do? Okay, never mind that, then..."

    So. No matter what happens, let's please remember that Jathan's a human being, with real history, and real people he's helped out in the past for no reason at all other than he wanted to help out.
  • by mankey wanker (673345) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:03AM (#11206169)
    Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson
    13 Aug. 1813Writings 13:333--35

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/ v1ch16s25.html [uchicago.edu]

    It has been pretended by some, (and in England especially,) that inventors have a natural and exclusive right to their inventions, and not merely for their own lives, but inheritable to their heirs. But while it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all, it would be singular to admit a natural and even an hereditary right to inventors. It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance. By an universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common, is the property for the moment of him who occupies it, but when he relinquishes the occupation, the property goes with it. Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

    Considering the exclusive right to invention as given not of natural right, but for the benefit of society, I know well the difficulty of drawing a line between the things which are worth to the public the embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not. As a member of the patent board for several years, while the law authorized a board to grant or refuse patents, I saw with what slow progress a system of general rules could be matured.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:12AM (#11206205) Journal
    The west is looking more like great justice nations such as Saudi Arabia and China, 15 years is just insane, thats most of this guys life ruined, I really hope he did some bad things to deserve this, he should have atleast attempted to beat one of the agents to death with a CD rack.

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