"Cam" movie pirate issued record 5-year prison sentence

By on January 4, 2013, 2:00 PM

Four members of prolific illegal file sharing group iMAGiNE have been ordered to serve prison terms after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. The group's leader Jeramiah Perkins, 40, managed to receive the longest sentence ever handed to a convicted file sharer -- five years in federal prison. 

Fellow cohort and defendant Gregory A. Cherwonik, 53, set the previous record in November with 40 months of prison time. Meanwhile, Sean Lovelady, 28, and Willie O. Lambert, 57, had already been ordered to serve 23 months and 30 months, respectively. A fifth iMAGiNE crew member is due for sentencing in March.

IMAGiNE is well-known for recording and sharing box office movies long before they arrive in DVD format. The pirate release group would record cinema showings with a camcorder while another member would capture threatre audio separately for higher fidelity. The group would then mux the video and audio streams together, creating a final product to be distributed via file sharing networks like BitTorrent.

During and as part of the conspiracy, the conspirators played different roles in the operation of the IMAGiNE Group and participated in the conspiracy through various criminal acts. These roles included acting as website owner/operator, website administrators, webpage designer/coder, website moderators, movie "cammers," audio recorders or "cappers" who captured motion picture audio, "encoders" (who sharpened, straightened, and edited video), and "syncers" (who synchronized the video and audio files).

Just some of the movies pirated by iMAGiNE include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Captain America: The First Avenger, Little Fockers, Avatar, The Tourist and Iron Man 2. Also mentioned in the court document was pirated software, namely seeding Windows 7 without the "authorization of the copyright holder". 

The indictment accuses iMAGiNE members of distributing "thousands" of copyrighted works and supporting their efforts through a system of websites, memberships and PayPal donations.




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2 people like this | fimbles fimbles said:

The chronicles of narnia the votdt: Budget 140-155 million - World sales 415 million

Captain America: The First Avenger: Budget 140 million - World sales 368.6 million

Little fockers : Budget 100 million - World sales 310 million

Avatar ( even I was shocked.....) Budget 246 million World sales : 2 Billion 782 million

As far as I can tell these are box office nubers only, and do not include merchandise ect.

Such a shame that the movie companys hands are so far up the politicians jacksies, that a fitting sentence was not given for what is obviously a victimless "crime".

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

They have never been able to prove that pirating does significant damage (or much at all) and yet they treat it like physically stealing copies? Man, things are getting ridiculous.....

1 person liked this | RzmmDX said:

This is a conspiracy? Dafaq? Is it raining irony today?

Do we really need to waste tax money imprisoning these people?

MilwaukeeMike said:

The chronicles of narnia the votdt: Budget 140-155 million - World sales 415 million

Captain America: The First Avenger: Budget 140 million - World sales 368.6 million

Little fockers : Budget 100 million - World sales 310 million

Avatar ( even I was shocked.....) Budget 246 million World sales : 2 Billion 782 million

As far as I can tell these are box office nubers only, and do not include merchandise ect.

Such a shame that the movie companys hands are so far up the politicians jacksies, that a fitting sentence was not given for what is obviously a victimless "crime".

These are the same facts that make them care so much. If these movies can make that much money that fast, think of how much more money they would have made if no one pirated it?

The law isn't different if the people you steal from have tons of money. Pirating stops the reduces the money the content owners make, so it doesn't feel like stealing because the perpetrator doesn't get the cash, but to the victim is feels the same regardless.

And yes, they feel like a victim, or they wouldn't spend the time and money prosecuting.

Don't get be wrong, I think it's stupid to put people like this guy in prison. He'll probably be out long before his term is up, but they're not going to change the law on this anytime soon. If anything, it's only going to get tougher.

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

These are the same facts that make them care so much. If these movies can make that much money that fast, think of how much more money they would have made if no one pirated it?
I for one would be less likely to buy a movie before I watch it than I would after I watch it. And never trust the trailers you watch, they are usually fixed to be deceiving.

MilwaukeeMike said:

They have never been able to prove that pirating does significant damage (or much at all) and yet they treat it like physically stealing copies? Man, things are getting ridiculous.....

They don't have to prove it... if a movie brings in $300 million then even 1 tenth of 1 percent would be $300,000. That's a LOT of money. The entire business of hedge funds using computerized trading is based on making fractions of a penny on every trade. Even if only 1 out of every 100 people who downloaded a pirated movie did it as an alternative to going to the theater the numbers would be significant.

Think of it this way... they're not suing because they're angry, they're suing because they getting bent over financially. Look at the way patent trolls make money; they set the price for out of court settlement lower than the legal fees and people just pay up, no matter how stupid the lawsuit. And these movie studios can't even get money from the pirates! They watch their movies get pirated AND have to pay the legal fees without ever getting any money in return, even when they win. Considering that evidence, I've gotta believe pirating hurts them, or they wouldn't go through all the trouble.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

They don't have to prove it... if a movie brings in $300 million then even 1 tenth of 1 percent would be $300,000. That's a LOT of money.

That's assuming that all those people would ever legitimately pay to see the movie. Which they probably would not, meaning that they would never see most of that money in the first place. But 1 out of every 100 people is too big an exaggeration. They would have to botch something big to piss people off that much...

And if you're bringing in hundreds of millions (in the theaters alone), $300,000 would look like pocket change... :p

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess the biggest concept here is that every penny counts. So they are spending dollars to try and protect their pennies.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Don't get be wrong, I think it's stupid to put people like this guy in prison. He'll probably be out long before his term is up, but they're not going to change the law on this anytime soon. If anything, it's only going to get tougher.
Incorrect, to the best of my knowledge. A conviction at the federal level, requires the a minimum of 85% of the full sentence be served.

Besides, you could conceivably do 5 years on the conspiracy charge alone. The charge can sometimes pull more time the the crime itself. It's a way the government can enhance the sentence, just tack on conspiracy.

You do have money changing hands here, at least according to the article. In copyrighted works as in drugs, the dealer always pulls more time than the junkie.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

You get close to this amount of time for rape. Where is the justice in that?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You get close to this amount of time for rape. Where is the justice in that?
Rape is a state crime, so Federal sentencing guidelines don't apply. I would suggest not raping your friendly neighborhood female mail delivery person during the course of her duties (*). I guarantee you'll get a whole lot more than 5 years for that.

You can do life if you have enough reefer under the federal system. In general though, the conditions in prison are way better than those at state or county level. Hence the old joke, "Club Fed".

(*) Or even the "mailman", depending of course, on your persuasion.

ikesmasher said:

The chronicles of narnia the votdt: Budget 140-155 million - World sales 415 million

Captain America: The First Avenger: Budget 140 million - World sales 368.6 million

Little fockers : Budget 100 million - World sales 310 million

Avatar ( even I was shocked.....) Budget 246 million World sales : 2 Billion 782 million

As far as I can tell these are box office nubers only, and do not include merchandise ect.

Such a shame that the movie companys hands are so far up the politicians jacksies, that a fitting sentence was not given for what is obviously a victimless "crime".

These are the same facts that make them care so much. If these movies can make that much money that fast, think of how much more money they would have made if no one pirated it?

Maybe a fifth plus the total price with piracy. Doesnt matter though, when a movie gets hundreds of millions of dollars in profits all your doing is making the rich richer. In the end south park put it well. Maybe if people cared more about the music they were producing or the movie they were creating who really cares about piracy? Also, "Here's Britney Spears' private jet. Notice anything? Britney used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now she's had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like you chose to download her music for free. The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think downloading music for free is no big deal?"

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

What are you all surprised about? Everyone knows piracy will continue. Everyone knows news articles like this do not deter people.

But, it has to be done to show 'the people' that it is wrong. If nothing was done at all, the piracy rates would skyrocket.

Guest said:

In my country they shoot pirates.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In my country they shoot pirates.
Your country must not have a government, because thats all a government is.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

In my country they shoot pirates.
Except if you're from Somalia, then the U.S.Navy has to come over and shoot them for you.

Guest said:

Next thing I will get the death penalty for letting my friend borrow one of my DVD movies. Borrowing and coping a movie are the same. As long as they watch the same movie at a different time than when I'm watching it. There is no difference. All the MPAA and RIAA want is for everyone to have a per person license to watch or listen to their products. If 4 people want to watch the DVD movie I just purchased I would have to buy the same movie 3 more times. Also I say their DVD because even after you hand over your hard earned money (their don't understand the meaning of the word hard work) you still don't own it. At any time they can take away their product without and refund.

So should a car manufacturer get paid by a how many people sit in their cars? Or if the car is going to be used for a business? What happens when the owner wants to sell their car. Should the manufacturer get a cut of the money the owner got for selling it? Or should the owner be jailed for wanting to sell his car when the buyer should have purchased a new car instead? Remember the car manufacturer has to make each and every car. They don't have the luxury of what the movie and record studios have..... hmmm I think I'll order 1000 copies of that song...... CTRL + C & CTRL + V. If you are in it for the money then I don't want to listen, read or watch your product. Music, writing and movie making is a art. If you get money from it, then good for you. But you should never go into a business model based on art and then cry about why you are not making money from it.

To me a lost sale only means a lost sale if the Musician has to sing every song on every CD every time they make a CD. The Writers have to write every word on every page of every copy of the book they sold. The Movie Maker have to recapture every frame of the movie again for every copy of that movie seen or sold. Remember we are only purchasing the write to watch, listen to or read a copy of the original.

The only reason the MPAA and RIAA are pissed is that people worked out how easy the MPAA and RIAA can make a copy. So there is really little work to be done.

Guest said:

But if I HAD TO buy it I wouldn't buy it anyway.. so what's the diff??

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The only reason the MPAA and RIAA are pissed is that people worked out how easy the MPAA and RIAA can make a copy. So there is really little work to be done.
Don't forget the original is not a copy and it does have production cost, before the copy process begins. In essence you are not paying for a copy, you are paying the bill on how much it cost to create the very first production.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Maybe a fifth plus the total price with piracy. Doesnt matter though, when a movie gets hundreds of millions of dollars in profits all your doing is making the rich richer. In the end south park put it well. Maybe if people cared more about the music they were producing or the movie they were creating who really cares about piracy? Also, "Here's Britney Spears' private jet. Notice anything? Britney used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now she's had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like you chose to download her music for free. The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think downloading music for free is no big deal?"

Think about that for a second... 'you're making the rich, richer.' Do you think the execs at the record companies are going to take a pay cut because music sales are down? Or do you think the artists who are selling only a few thousand records get the shaft because their contract says they get 20% of sales. You've heard the expression 'sh!t rolls downhill'? It works for econ as well as punishment.

When an organization needs more money it gets sucked out of the organization from the bottom up. At the bottom are the customers, so the first thing that happens is prices go up, but that's not usually an option because customers will leave. So the next thing that'll happen is benefit cuts and hiring freezes on the cheap labor. (here's a real example: I have a good friend is a nurse's assistant in a hospital. She received a letter from the CEO last week stating that tuition reimbursement will be cancelled in 2014 because of the medicare cuts via Obamacare).

You can go on believing you're stealing from the rich (which is still wrong), but the fact is, you're not stealing from the guy IN the gulfstream, you're stealing from the guy who shovels the snow off the runway.

Tygerstrike said:

What does it matter if someone was willing to pay for a movie in the box office. The fact is that they commited a crime, period. All the justification in the world does not change the fact that they willingly broke the Law. Lending a friend a DVD is simply transfering viewer rights. What they did was a complicated and very elaborate operation. This goes far and beyond simple downloading a movie or music. They had sound synchers and editors. Who cares if the rich get richer. It was thier money that funded the project to make them money. I swear, the level of stupid justification is almost as bad as the level of moral decay. Just because you CAN do something, doesnt mean you SHOULD!!! When you sit down and youre going to download something and you know it is illegal, ask yourself a simple question. How would your Grandmother look at you if she knew you were nothing more then a common thief.

ikesmasher said:

Think about that for a second... 'you're making the rich, richer.' Do you think the execs at the record companies are going to take a pay cut because music sales are down? Or do you think the artists who are selling only a few thousand records get the shaft because their contract says they get 20% of sales. You've heard the expression 'sh!t rolls downhill'? It works for econ as well as punishment.

When an organization needs more money it gets sucked out of the organization from the bottom up. At the bottom are the customers, so the first thing that happens is prices go up, but that's not usually an option because customers will leave. So the next thing that'll happen is benefit cuts and hiring freezes on the cheap labor. (here's a real example: I have a good friend is a nurse's assistant in a hospital. She received a letter from the CEO last week stating that tuition reimbursement will be cancelled in 2014 because of the medicare cuts via Obamacare).

You can go on believing you're stealing from the rich (which is still wrong), but the fact is, you're not stealing from the guy IN the gulfstream, you're stealing from the guy who shovels the snow off the runway.

Valid point as it may be, it is also a argument for the stealing of media too, because in the end, why would people want to buy something if most of the purchase isnt going towards the artist?

Tygerstrike said:

@Ike

Is it anyone elses business besides the ppl who are selling it where the money goes?

They all sign a contract. The contracts themselves are put together by lawyers. Are ppl going to now start stealing from the lawyers that drafted the contracts for the execs and artists? Its all craptastic justification for common theft. We live in a society of Laws. By simply existing in the US you are bound by those laws. There is a price to pay when you break the law. Continuing to break a law doesnt make it go away. If you want change, get out there and fight to have media laws passed that allow for downloading w/o penalties. Continuing to do as the ppl in the article have done and keep stealing and its only going to get worse for the little guy. And thats you.

ikesmasher said:

@Ike

Is it anyone elses business besides the ppl who are selling it where the money goes?

They all sign a contract. The contracts themselves are put together by lawyers. Are ppl going to now start stealing from the lawyers that drafted the contracts for the execs and artists? Its all craptastic justification for common theft. We live in a society of Laws. By simply existing in the US you are bound by those laws. There is a price to pay when you break the law. Continuing to break a law doesnt make it go away. If you want change, get out there and fight to have media laws passed that allow for downloading w/o penalties. Continuing to do as the ppl in the article have done and keep stealing and its only going to get worse for the little guy. And thats you.

Never said I stole anything :P

Honestly spotify and netflix pretty much satisfy my needs.

But if you wish to keep overspending on songs and albums to satisfy the greedy upper level management and raising their pay while the lower mans pay stays the same (its as people in this thread have been saying to me) then all means do so.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Don't forget the original is not a copy and it does have production cost, before the copy process begins. In essence you are not paying for a copy, you are paying the bill on how much it cost to create the very first production.
But isn't that true of everyone who has to be,"the first kid on the block", to have just about anything? They're all paying R & D costs as well.

This crew that got locked up for cam pirating should absolutely get another nickel tacked on for consumer fraud.

Have you ever seen these garbage, "walk in a tape the movie DVDs"? The only way I'd pay anyone for one of them, is if I was dying of cancer, and probably wouldn't live until the official Blu-Ray release....!

People around my way walk around selling this crap. And people around here also buy it. But then, people around my way, are living testament to the complete and utter failure of both modern parenting skills, and the public school system.

Tygerstrike said:

Not saying you did Ike. Simply pointing out that no matter what this isnt going away. Yea Im sure you pay less for your product. Guess what, not everyone can. Some ppl barely have enough internet to be able to download AOL. Let alone using web based services. So those ppl end up having to pay what is asked. When the Internet becomes a standard like water and electricity then the masses who can order online who previously couldnt, will do so.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Valid point as it may be, it is also a argument for the stealing of media too, because in the end, why would people want to buy something if most of the purchase isnt going towards the artist?

It's not that simple... some contracts may say the artist gets 20%, some may say the get 50% after recouping expenses. Some may say the label gets the first million then the artist gets everything after that... who knows. Although as far as I know, if you want the most money to go to the artist, go see them live.

Never said I stole anything :p

Honestly spotify and netflix pretty much satisfy my needs.

But if you wish to keep overspending on songs and albums to satisfy the greedy upper level management and raising their pay while the lower mans pay stays the same (its as people in this thread have been saying to me) then all means do so.

Spotify and netflix work for me too... and we never even got into the quality of a pirated movie from a camera being held in a theater. Watching Avatar through a handheld cam isn't quite the same experience as actually being in the theater.

I never said upper mgmt was greedy and the low guy never gets a raise. I said cheap labor and small benefits are the first thing to get cut. It's easier to raise cafeteria prices a little than it is to dock someone's pay. Mgmt picks the cost savings measures that hurt people the least when they have to make changes. Anyone would prefer to pay an extra $.10 on their morning coffee than to see someone get laid off.

And when it gets bad enough that people do get their pay cut, then it matters much more to the little guy. If everyone takes a 10% cut, then the CEO loses $50,000 /year, while Bob in accounting only loses $4,000. But it's still harder on Bob, because he has far less disposable income.

My point wasn't that mgmt is greedy... it's just that when you steal from them, you steal from ALL of them. And the little guys need the money more than the execs.

Tygerstrike said:

@Mike

No matter how hard you try you will never reach them. It is a breakdown of moral values. They will continue to justify thier theft. All the preaching in the world will not change them. They have to realize thier mistakes themselves before they will change. It will always boil down to right and wrong. Yes there are shades of grey in some circumstances. But not in this case. For some it will take losing the ability to get internet. For others a wise word from a trusted friend will do the trick. They feel it is a "victimless" crime so they feel no guilt. They try and rationalize that the rich can afford for them to download X movie or song, that the rich have too much money. They are more Hood, Then Robin Hood. They only steal to benefit themselves. Just take solace in the fact that eventually they will be caught no matter what the fancy trick they use to disguise thier presence on the web. It takes an honest effort to remain truthful. They just choose to not be honest, so they deal with the consiquences.

Kevin82485 Kevin82485 said:

One way that I feel movie studios could curb pirating to some degree, is be more flexible with digital copies and give higher quality digital copies that they include with DVD/Blu Ray releases. I recently purchased and movie with a digital copy and was appalled at the video quality.

On top of that, I became extremely aggravated when I was surprised with the fact that I could only save the digital copy to one device. I have a PC, tablet, and smartphone. However, I made the "mistake" of first copying it to my PC hard drive rather using the "option" that allows me to stream it through the Internet to any device using their app. Seems like the obvious choice for anyone, but I didn't know I would only be given one digital license. It wasn't clearly stated any where what the choices were.

This instantly sent me into rage mode, and made me want to pirate the movie out of spite, to stick it to those greedy bastards. If the digital copy were better and easier to use I would be perfectly happy to pay for it, but shit like this is partly what makes people pirate.

Look at Louis C. K., he sells every one of his stand up videos and audio cds for $5 each, and they are DRM free, and you can do what ever you want with them. He's made close to $2 million since first starting this a little over a year ago. And he's just one dude who caters to a much smaller audience than The Avengers. People are willing to pay for his material because he's not an ass about using it or getting it.

This isn't THE answer, but a small part to solve a bigger problem.

ikesmasher said:

@Mike

No matter how hard you try you will never reach them. It is a breakdown of moral values.

Whats immoral is charging a dollar for a song because you know you can get away with it, then whining that you arent making enough money when your song sells tens of millions of times.

If I could afford music, I would gladly pay for an offline copy. As it is I will continue to use spotify. and netflix.

And you are right, piracy is immoral. but honestly I wouldnt be left with any other choice if not for online content. If I ever make some extra money I will send a check directly to the memebers of any band I have listened alot to for all the times I heard it free on the internet.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Whats immoral is charging a dollar for a song because you know you can get away with it, then whining that you arent making enough money when your song sells tens of millions of times.
Well they do have to pay for the other songs that didn't sell. lol

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The argument pro or con, between pirating and buying, can go on ad infinitum...! (*)(see fine print below).

It that aspect it's similar to a religious discussion pro or con, as to the existence of a "supreme being". (Personally, and with all humility, I normally only credit myself the slightly less expansive powers of being a lowly, earth bound, "superb being" !

That notwithstanding, I think it's time to merge these debate topics, into one huge, unwinnable, argument.

Do you think Jesus would condone illegal copying or downloading of intellectual property belonging to someone else? I think not!

In fact it was years of arguing against prevailing human ethics and values, that put him on the cross in the first place.

Fast forward to the 21st century.........

Now, if the next movie FBI copyright warning I see, goes something like, "Jesus wouldn't want you to copy this movie, so don't do it, or you're going straight to hell"!

I'll know where they go the idea. And furthermore, now that the concept has been put forth in a physical and tangible manner, technically I hold the copyright. How do you like them apples Eves?:eek:

So that means, if that shows up in the next movie I see, I'm going to know where the "fibby" got it. And then, I'm coming after all your miserable a**es, with the most obnoxious copyright troll lawyer, I can dupe into thinking I actually have the funds to compensate for his effort.:p

(*)In fact, it actually has. The Roman Catholic Church has texts, and gives mass in Latin, for that very reason, to avoid illiterate peasants infringing. Meanwhile, the protestants think it was their idea to have their church services in their mother tongue, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, "reverse psychology" does indeed, work like a charm.(y)

avoidz avoidz said:

And the reckless banking corporations got how long for breaking the world's economy? Nothing but golden handshakes.

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