Tuesday, June 3, 2014

People do go to prison for copyright infringement.

Mr. Torvik did a post about decriminalization last week and asked "how many people are wasting away in prison on a copyright rap?" In a comment to the post, I said I didn't know but suspected not many. Then I remembered that I wrote my comment on a device that is a pretty fair research tool. I did a Google search "prison sentence for copyright infringement" and got some interesting hits.

In 2011, the Sacramento Bee ran this story about a Music Land store owner pleaded guilty to selling and renting unauthorized discs of popular movies like The Godfather. Apparently, the owner had been warned in 2007 not to distribute pirated works but continued to do so. In the plea agreement, the owner admitted that the discs were worth between $70,000 and $120,000. As a result of the plea, the owner was sentenced to 18 months in prison. 

In 2012, the Enumclaw Courrier-Herald ran this story about a man who was sentenced to 40 months in prison on tow counts of copyright infringement. The man operated websites which provided copies of movies, TV shows, "software and workout videos" for Internet downloading. The man apparently earned more than $400,000 from the websites. I had no idea that "software and workout videos" were so profitable.  

The Hill has this November 2012 post about two men who were sentenced to 30 months and 3 months and fined for their role in a group that released movies on the Internet while the movies were still playing in theaters. The article says two other members of the group had also pleaded guilty would be sentenced at a later date.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center has this release about a Wichita Falls, Texas Man sentenced to 57 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to copyright infringement related to making copies of software that belonged to Adobe Systems, Inc.  

The FBI issued this press release in June 2013, about a man sentenced to 87 months in prison for copyright infringement of commercial software programs.  

5 articles on the first page of a Google search does not mean that a lot of people are going to prison for copyright infringement. However, it is more than one might have predicted. Whether that means that copyright infringement should be the sort of crime that gets one sentenced to prison is another matter.

ere: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2011/08/sacramento-man-128.html#storylink=cpy

1 comment:

  1. Good work. I figured there were a few -- after all, I've seen that ominous FBI / Interpol warning before every movie I've ever rented.


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