Warez pirate convicted

By Derek Sooman on December 28, 2004, 6:06 PM
Operation Fastlink, a multinational law enforcement effort undertaken against online software piracy, has netted its first victim. Jathan Desir, 26, of Iowa City, has pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in a criminal enterprise that involved distributing content such as software, games, movies and music over the Internet.

Appearing in the U.S. District Court in Des Moines last week, Desir pleaded guilty to a three-count felony that charged him with copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Desir will face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 18, 2005.

The Department of Justice has said that Desir has been the first, but by no means the last US citizen convicted as part of the operation.




User Comments: 24

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smtkr said:
So, he faces as much time as a rapist. Sounds like justice to me. I'll be happy seeing my taxes support another nonviolent criminal in prison for 15 years.
tomrice32 said:
Totally agree, 15 years!? That is certainly far far too long a punishment. Just imagine spending 15 years of your life in prison, then wonder what you must've done to deserve that.. that amount of time is more suited to worse offenses such as like you mentioned rape. It's all very well stopping people from pirating software but there's no need to ruin lives over it. If they caught everyone who was involved in such things, imagine the amount of people spending a quarter of their lives in prison..
zone said:
I wonder if you would think the time equitable if you were the author of the pirated software. How much time would you want a person to spend in jail if he came in your house and robbed you? How much time if he came and stole your business? Are you a stockholder in the company whose software was pirated? What of those people who are stockholders and the investments they made that are now worth less? And what of the larger investing community? What if we lessen the penalty for software theft and piracy, how readily will investors lend their money to companies bringing new software to market if it can be easily pirated with little fear of punishment? The prison term is meant to be a deterrent as much as a punishment. If 15 years, which he probably won't get, is too much, then how much is equitable? What punishment should a thief get? While I agree that the crime is not equivalent to rape, I feel that rather than lessen the penalty in this crime, the penalty for rape should be increased.
Mikael said:
Comparing a person pirating software and walking into your house is like comparing apples and oranges. The prison sentence is meant to be a deterrent, but fifteen years is still too extreme (even though you're right, he probably wouldn't get that much). AFAIK, stock holders in companies that have software that gets pirated aren't hurt as much as one believes. I am still waiting for people like the MPAA and RIAA to offer numbers that don't appear to be intentionally highered for their own agenda.
Phantasm66 said:
I watched a TV show recently that compared the P2P networks of today as being similar to the VCR when it first appeared. Big business tried to make it a criminal, forbidden device, saying that it would forever damage business and that people should receive jail sentences for taping shows. A judge decided that this was nonsense, and the VCR was declared legal, with certain limitations regarding the usage of recordings. The difference is, back then courts were on the side of the consumer. Now, they are on the side of big business. P2P will help music sales, movie sales, etc in the long run even if a lot of trading is for free, just in the same way that the VCR eventually helped the movie industry. But the music and movie industries don't want this - they are frightened of change and are happy with things the way they are. They don't want you to get access to these new means of delivering entertainment, or if you do, its to be totally under their rules and nothing else.This is just big business being greedy and selfish and the more we here agree with them, the more they win and take our freedoms away. Face it, fifteen years for this "crime" - if indeed future society will regard it as one - is totally ridiculous and a complete mockery of justice. If you are looking for people to lock up, how about the legions of young people walking around with knives, dealing drugs, stealing, etc. We seem to want to help these people and not treat them as criminals, and yet we want to make a criminal of someone who swaps mp3s with their PC. Its insane.[Edited by Phantasm66 on 2004-12-29 11:44:02]
mudshark said:
should do like in the Middle East.... cut off his hand.Stealing is stealing and it's wrong,it degrades a whole nation...especialy those who seek to downplay it's severity. in themthe rot has taken hold. Instead of fighting for fair pricesthey think they have a right to that which is not theirs.Fact is....it's not yours...you didnt invent it, creat it,build it, market it. Hey, if you like it, buy it. If it's too expensive.... don't buy it. That will eventually drivethe price to where it should be. Stealing it puts you at a lower level than those you oppose.... geeze, the bad thingis a lot of people don't even care.....and they think theyare better lol!!!
mudshark said:
oops - sorry, i guess I got too excited and hit enter twice ;)[Edited by mudshark on 2004-12-29 16:11:01]
Phantasm66 said:
You are missing the point. I certainly do think that you should buy things that you liked. Note that I say liked. You should be able to freely download media first using the internet, and then choose to buy that media if it pleases you, or let the copy expire if you don't want to pay for it, with some sort of "trial version" technology in the files. You would then have to download it again if you want to try it again.I am not against people making money from their work. But I am against big business holding back the progress of multimedia technology because they are too greedy and because they have judges in their pockets.What is the use of us saying that hacking and viruses are bad and evil when the MPAA is getting legal sanction to DDOS the websites of bittorrent distributors? Hacking with a court order?! And now we are giving rape/murder length sentences to people who swap movies and games? People have been swapping movies and games for a long, long time before, and we never thought to put them in jail for 15 years.This is not about stealing. It is about fear. It is about a small group of people who have held onto wealth for a long time through selling tapes and books and CDs and exploiting artists. Its about these people not wanting technology to take away their huge and unncessary profits - profits that don't go to artists, I might add.Human beings have been making music, performing plays (now movies) and writing books for thousands of years. We will be doing so long after HMV and Amazon and Virgin and Walmart and Microsoft and AOL and Sony and all of these things have crumbled into dust. Computing is becoming linked into our making of music and movies and books, and in how we receive and digest them. I see that as outliving these corporations also.[Edited by Phantasm66 on 2004-12-29 17:05:56]
mudshark said:
Phantasm66, I am not really even getting into the debate here.I'm just saying that stealing sucks.. two wrongs don't makea right, kinda thing. I agree with a lot of what you are saying.... the problem is that the consumer feeds these "big businesses" greed because we too are greedy. If we could get betterorganized (which will never happen ;) ) we should not buy technology from the manipulators, starve them out? buying power is what makes this whole thing turn....hey we could talk about this forever.... best to do it overa few beers ;)
TheKurgan said:
While I dont think stealing the software is good I always find it amusing that programmers will complain about it. 90% of all the companies and programmers out there seem to have no problem releasing half finished, and or beta grade software and charging full price for it. Then they claim they either didnt know about all the bugs in it or needed to get the cash from us to finish the programming. I personally think the with the software industry atleast anyways there is a huge double standard when it comes to what they call stealing or piracy. I mean they certainly dont give refunds for their half baked, bug ridden software when they release it, but they sure will prosecute you and put you in jail for 15 years if you try to pirate it. What would you do if someone sold you a car that was only half finished, or roofed only half your roof and charged you full price?Oh well nuff said
mudshark said:
I must say that agree with Phantasm66 on that there shouldbe a "Try before you buy". That way you donít end up with "half baked, bug ridden software" as TheKurgan put it.and this will also encourage the developers to turn out a better product.... cause I'm sure as hell not going to paya premium price for a substandard product.
Mikael said:
Oddly enough, I haven't purchased a music CD from a store (even though there are quite a few I want), since the RIAA started filing lawsuits against common people. Of course, when the RIAA looks at their numbers (and I have sent them letters telling them what I am doing), they will just blame the decline on piracy.On the bright side, some judges are forcing the MPAA and RIAA not to use "sweeper nets" to file John Doe lawsuits, and this in itself is a small victory. We'll see what happens in a few months, after the MPAA and RIAA file several thousand more lawsuits.
Phantasm66 said:
[b]Originally posted by mudshark:[/b][quote]hey we could talk about this forever.... best to do it overa few beers ;)[/quote]Are you buying? ;)By the way, we did a story a while back on the front page that these music labels had made more money than ever recently.
mudshark said:
[b]Originally posted by Phantasm66:[/b][quote] Are you buying? [/quote]For you? Any time :) in fact for any of this BB's members....just not all at once ;)
dmlindsay90 said:
Is it the general consensus that pirating for private use and pirating for profit are equally criminal?
Phantasm66 said:
No. I think they are pretty far removed from eachother.
quaalude said:
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in law or business, however I do have some points that to me seem fairly solid when taken from a leyman's perspective. Sentencing for non-violent offenses is a severe and growing problem. There are too many people in jail for crimes that do not fit the punishment. The potential 15 year prison sentence for this unfortunate bucaneer is well over any reasonable sentence to be metted out by the government for anyone who has comitted a non-violent act and has been convicted of doing so. However, according to the reported article, this man was dealing in a software piracy enterprise. I suppose this can be likened to a drug cartel or drug ring, but without the potential for drug-related violent crimes. This was not just one individual sampling music, or pirating video games for his or her own pleasure. There was much money to be made in this operation. The government seems to be in the right to have prosecuted and convicted this gentleman, however, the sentencing protential needs to be reviewed as well as reduced. Now, moving to the individual who is sampling music as well as videogames for his or her own non-profit pleasure we can see that there is quite a difference. This is where I believe the government and multimedia industry giants are far astray from any form of legitimate law enforcement. The individual does not have the money or time to fight and protect his or herself when set against a multinational corporation with pockets that are infinitely deep. Most individuals yearn for a quality product that they know is not a waste of their hard-earned money. When one is forced to buy a product that cannot be pre-tested or sampled to ensure that the product will fulfill expectations, an artifial and unnecessary gamble is made upon purchase of the product. As has been mentioned before, industries like the RIAA are led by a relatively small number of individuals who reap an incredible amount of wealth annually from selling products that consumers have, until now, not had a chance to preview before purchasing. Of course these individuals do not want to change. They're conservative in thought and nature as a biproduct of their wealth. Now that the consumer actually has choice (capitalism anyone?) the consumer is taking advantage of this new freedom. The industry simply needs to evolve with the digital age and react in a dynamic way to a rapidly changing consumer environment as well as consumer tastes and make money by doing so. Of course you're going to have better sales of a horrible product when that product is all that people have to choose from. One last idea to this already unduely long response. The government needs to establish legitimacy when prosecuting individuals for non-violent and especially financially related crimes. The corporate elite need to be handed the same sentences and have those sentences upheld when they are caught laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in stockholder and employee investments, as well as the individual who pirates music or software whether it be for personal use or personal profit. It's easy to go after the little guy, however it's much more difficult to prosecute someone who can afford to find legal loopholes (many of which are intentionally left open) that allow that person to easily dodge the law; with at most a slap on the wrist. How about we allow watchdog agencies like the SEC the resources to prosecute white collar criminals in the same way that the working-class individual is prosecuted? The problem is very deep and I'm sure that most of you who have replied feel this fundamentally unbalanced playing field to be the foundation for most of your objections to the sentencing of Jathan Desir. If any one of you have read this resoponse in its entirety, I salute you and appreciate your time. Happy New Year! and GO CHARGERS!!!! WOOOOHOOOO SUPERBOWL '05!
sgt said:
[b]Originally posted by mudshark:[/b][quote]should do like in the Middle East.... cut off his hand.Stealing is stealing and it's wrong,it degrades a whole nation...especialy those who seek to downplay it's severity. in themthe rot has taken hold. Instead of fighting for fair pricesthey think they have a right to that which is not theirs.Fact is....it's not yours...you didnt invent it, creat it,build it, market it. Hey, if you like it, buy it. If it's too expensive.... don't buy it. That will eventually drivethe price to where it should be. Stealing it puts you at a lower level than those you oppose.... geeze, the bad thingis a lot of people don't even care.....and they think theyare better lol!!![/quote]Many years ago there was the "Code of Hamurabi" (don't know if I spelled that correctly) It was 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'. It kept thieves at bay. Wouldn't work today. Most corporation biggies would be walking around without eyes or teeth.Wonder how your intense feelings would apply to the fact that Gates stole DOS? (something all of us old-timers know)...or that these software companies are always stealing code from one another?Actually, mudshark...everything that takes place in the middle east sickens me today, and I wish you hadn't said that!
Athena said:
Um are we all so soft these days we can not go back to the store to return a product we do not like?Try before you buy does not mean play through Doom3 5 times and then say "well it was really not worth 40 bucks I think I will pass." Play the demo, that is why they are there!!And what if there is no demo for a game you want? Take a chance, be a grown up for once! You have the choice not to buy a game. Just because you "want" a game does not mean you have the "right" to have it.Stealing is stealing, if you want it to be ok then give me your PC so I can try it before I steal it!! I would hate to waist my time stealing from you if your PC sucks or has bugs in it! ;)As far as P2P being like a VCR? You are reaching man, really reaching. A VCR is used to record TV programming which is freely available over the radio waves that pass through your home. And no it is not legal to record Die Hard off of HBO and make 10 copies for your friends to watch later because you did not have the time to watch it when it was broadcast. (I am not saying we do not all do this, I am just addressing the legality of the practice) Using PSP means you are taking an active step to go out looking to steal/copy something that was never a free broadcast item. That action we choose to take to go looking to steal something we did not pay for is what they will use to nail our butts to the wall.One last thing, if a game or software product comes out and is totally buggy, DO NOT GET IN YOUR CAR AND DRIVE TO THE STORE PULL OUT YOUR MONEY AND BUY IT!!!!!!
TheKurgan said:
Well Demos RARELY ever show you the bugs present in the software. Im sure they are designed that way. You CANNOT return opened software under any circumstances, you can only exchange it for the exact same product. While i agree that it is in fact stealing, I also agree that it is stealing BOTH ways. If i sold you a damn car and told I would release a patch with the tires or engine later im sure you would think i was ripping you off. Yes I have the final say on buying a product or not. You are absolutely right. But first i need to be fully informed on the quality of the product and in most case the software developers do their utmost to hide all the defects and flaws till you have made your purchase and are now STUCK with their POS software. Also, while you are right about having a choice in buying some applications. What about the others, like WINDOWS for instance.Again its amzing to see the huge double standard. its ok to rip the middle class consumer off, but god forbid the multimillion dollar software companies eat it in a few places.Let me reiterate, I do think that piracy is stealing, i do think it is wrong and I dont believe two wrongs make a right. But you also have to admit that many of the software comapanies are equally as bad.
Catch-22 said:
If you want to find out if a game has bugs in it or just generally isn't any good there are alternatives to downloading it illegally to test it out. PC Gamer or any magazines that review items make a business out of checking the products for you and seeing if they work. Many websites even have reviews from regular people if you don't trust the magazines. I'm not saying it's the same as trying it yourself, but I'm just pointing out simple solutions to pirating problems.I also want to point out that 15 years is an incredibly harsh sentance. 5 years I think is too much for a crime like that. We care about money far too much.
TheKurgan said:
I guess the thing I'm trying to point out is, all the of this is being focused on the little guy. The big software corporations get away with murder on a daily basis and nothing is done about them. I'm not even sure anyone has even filed a complaint against any of them. Yet this guy is looking at 15 years. People can embezzle 10s of thousands of dollars from companies and get a slap on the wrist. They can defraud the stock exchange and get a few months in a Federal playhouse with 9 hole golf courses. Companies like these software giants can lay off 10s of thousands of workser then vote the board million dollar a year raise. It amazes me how much the guy on the street has to eat it when there is so much greed at the upper levels. If this guy gets 15 years in jail i would have to say that THAT is the crime in this case.
steelworkindude said:
Damn! Can we whine any more?! Two questions:---Have you ever recorded a sitcom or movie at home?---Have you ever loaned that movie to a friend who also copied it?Christ! One of you broke the law. Does it deserve fifteen years hard time? No, no more than some of your posts deserve to be placed where others can read them. Here's another question for you; Do you feel more comfortable knowing the law is siding with big business or with 'john doe' and 'everyman'. Is the movie industry going broke because of DVD recorders? Did the VCR bankrupt hollywood? I seem to remember a $50,000 fur coat on Billy Bob's back walking down that red carpet. Oh yeah, he's hurting. Not even the freak that agreed with the fifteen year sentence in his post has that little common sense. Get off your high horses and wake the #$@% up. We're America. We buy some movies. We copy some movies. We buy some games. We copy some others. Thats exactly the THING that makes us one of the greatest countries in the world, Freedom. Even the freedom to copy Mr. Lucas' masterpiece.
XxxCobraxxX said:
[b]Originally posted by TheKurgan:[/b][quote]I guess the thing I'm trying to point out is, all the of this is being focused on the little guy. The big software corporations get away with murder on a daily basis and nothing is done about them. I'm not even sure anyone has even filed a complaint against any of them. Yet this guy is looking at 15 years. People can embezzle 10s of thousands of dollars from companies and get a slap on the wrist. They can defraud the stock exchange and get a few months in a Federal playhouse with 9 hole golf courses. Companies like these software giants can lay off 10s of thousands of workser then vote the board million dollar a year raise. It amazes me how much the guy on the street has to eat it when there is so much greed at the upper levels. If this guy gets 15 years in jail i would have to say that THAT is the crime in this case.[/quote]Exactly, look no further than Martha Stewart !!!!
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