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87 Months in Prison for Copyright Infringement: Fair Sentence or Utter Madness?

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  • 87 Months in Prison for Copyright Infringement: Fair Sentence or Utter Madness?

    Source: TorrentFreak - by Andy - Click on the link 87 Months in Prison for Copyright Infringement: Fair Sentence or Utter Madness?

    A man from Baltimore in the United States has just been sentenced to 87 months in prison for infringing copyrights on more than 1,000 software programs including Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Mac OSX and Windows XP. The man, a 32-year-old, could potentially lose his freedom until close to his 40th birthday. Is that fair for willful large scale pirating or have the authorities lost touch with how infringement compares to ‘real’ crimes?

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    Following an investigation carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted by Microsoft and the BSA, a man from Baltimore is just beginning a very long stretch behind bars.

    Between February 2003 and June 2008, Naveed Sheikh was a serial pirate, copying more than 1,000 software packages and distributing them via the Internet. Authorities claim that through a network of websites and co-conspirators, Sheikh caused damages to rightsholders totaling $4 million.
    Slightly to Sheikh’s credit, the software – including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Money, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Apple Mac OS X Panther and Microsoft Windows XP Professional – wasn’t passed off as the real deal to full-price-paying customers. Sheikh’s contacts knew they were buying illegal “cracked” copies and presumably saved a considerable amount of money over equivalent licensed alternatives.
    However, Sheikh wasn’t exactly cooperative with HSI investigators and he also failed to pay tax on his ill-gotten gains which probably aggravated the case against him. Nevertheless, the sentence he’s just been given is a tough one to say the least. Despite a guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett handed Sheikh an 87 month prison sentence and ordered him to pay back $4 million.
    For those breaking out the calculators, 87 months converts to more than 7 years locked away for what are essentially non-violent, white-collar crimes. Is that a reasonable response to copying data onto discs and cashing in on the profits or should sentences like these be reserved for the really nasty elements of our society?
    For comparison, we looked at a few recent cases in which defendants picked up identical 87 month sentences.
    The first involved Harold F. Babb, the former director of contracts at Eyak Technology LLC. In October 2012, Babb was sentenced for stealing more than $9 million from the United States by submitting invoices to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for services that were not provided. Sentence: 87 months.
    Next we had a look at the sentencing of Guillermo Briseno, a former leader of the Imperial Gangsters, a gang which according to U.S. District Judge Philip Simon was “terrorizing the city of East Chicago.” Briseno admitted leading the gang’s drug dealing and shootings. Sentence: 87 months.
    In late 2012, Jonathan Torres was found guilty of distributing heroin following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to using children to distribute the drugs. Sentence: 87 months.
    Following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), earlier this year Dennis Wayne Baldwin of Vermont was sentenced for receiving, possessing, and distributing child pornography and illegally possessing seven firearms and ammunition. The convicted felon was sentenced to 87 months in prison.
    During the course of our searches we found dozens of individuals being sentenced to 87 months in jail for what are undoubtedly serious crimes. The distribution of drugs appeared a lot, as did firearm offenses and those involving sex and violence. In most cases it was difficult to disagree with the length of the sentences.
    The question today is this: Does copyright infringement – even on a large scale as demonstrated in the case above – warrant a similar sentence to those handed to individuals selling drugs, running gangs, possessing illegal firearms or stealing from the military?
    Is it about time that copyright infringement is recognized as being “theft” and punished on equal terms, or is an 87 month jail sentence for copying and selling data an outrage? You decide.
    News Picked - Untouched



    Mod edit: Unauthorized image host
    Last edited by Copper; June 10, 2013, 10:17 PM.



  • #2
    So I was searching google on the state of Baltimore's prison system to find some sympathy when I stumbled across the F-B-I's website related to the case (I havn't linked out because I didn't think it was a good idea...)

    "Sheikh recruited and compensated co-conspirators, directed the actions of other co-conspirators, obtained infringing copies of software that were used for distribution, and planned and organized the activities of the conspiracy. Sheikh created multiple websites through which the infringing software was sold."

    "In meetings with federal prosecutors and agents during the course of the investigation, Sheikh made numerous false statements in order to obstruct the investigation."

    "In November 2010, shortly before the deadline for Sheikh to reach an agreement with the government or be charged, Sheikh left the United States for Pakistan. When he re-entered the U.S. in January 2012, Sheikh was carrying electronic media containing evidence that he and his co-conspirators were responsible for the sales of infringing software."

    ^U.S. Attorney’s Office June 06, 2013^

    So he was running a fulltime business through selling pirated software, he then obstructed the course of justice, and to top it off he went on a holiday and got busted with evidence of him and other people involved in the scheme proving he was behind it...
    After that, well I don't feel sorry for him anymore... Put him in with a rapist, it may just change his way's...
    Again in my opinion people trying to make profit from piracy should be prosecuted, friend's sharing thing's well that's a different story...
    Last edited by mupppet; June 10, 2013, 05:21 AM. Reason: added info...

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    • #3
      I wonder how many people still pay for warez?

      Sounds a bit shabby to me..I don't buy any of this story. Must be a front or scare tactic to cover up something else.
      ____________________________________________


      The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.

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      • #4
        According to FBI source mupppet quoted, the defendant seems a big league player totally different from petit file sharers like me. 7 years is not unreasonable by any means.

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        • #5
          he did the crime by trying to profit now he can do the time.

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          • #6
            Yes, I suppose thats fair sentence in this case

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            • #7
              I would say 87 months is a joke but he made money off the software. Now if he was just torrenting and not charging for software I would be more outraged but when the idiot was making money ......well I just cant get all upset. Now I can look at it another way which I stated before, my wifes mother was killed by a drunk driver and the driver also killed his passenger and he got 7 years for killing 2 people so I guess what the courts are saying is software is more important than 2 peoples lives.

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              • #8
                I agree about the distinction between profiting and sharing for free. But that being said, my main concern is about the precedent and how future prosecutors will undoubtedly cite this case to try and get casual file shares sent up the river for ridiculous terms. In other words, while I have little sympathy for someone who fled the country with profit in hand, I also think copyright infringement has no business rivalling rapes and murders for length of sentences.
                Thanks to the powers that be for VIP

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                • #9
                  What is happening to Deric Lostutter, the hacker formerly known as KYAnonymous is much worse

                  Exclusive: Leader of Anonymous Steubenville Op on Being Raided by the FBI | Mother Jones
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    87 months for a non-violent crime is insane. People who have comnmited murder have served less time. Granted he most likely will get parolled for behavior, but... This smells like an example to me.
                    And last but not least here is a link to my favorite nUb tut: http://www.torrent-invites.com/showthread.php?t=237584

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                    • #11
                      if it's true he was running a business selling all this stuff, then he is getting what he asked for. People need to be smart about certain things

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                      • #12
                        It's utter madness. 87 years in prison in any crime except murder or rape is meaningless. Might as well give him the capital punishment, imo.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shataiken View Post
                          It's utter madness. 87 years in prison in any crime except murder or rape is meaningless. Might as well give him the capital punishment, imo.
                          lol its 87 months not years

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                          • #14
                            Seven years in prison for a victimless, non violent crime. I thought copyright infringement was a civil crime?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by acass68 View Post
                              lol its 87 months not years
                              Entirely my bad. But 87 months is still horrible. Armed robbery gets you less than that in many countries.

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