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BitTorrent Site Admin Sent To Prison 685

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hard-times dept.
Marc wrote in with a Torrentfreak story which opens: "The 23 year old Grant Stanley has been sentenced to five months in prison, followed by five months of home detention, and a $3000 fine for his role in the private BitTorrent tracker Elitetorrents. This ruling is the first BitTorrent related conviction in the US. Stanley pleaded guilty earlier this year to 'conspiracy to commit copyright infringement' and 'criminal copyright infringement.' He is one of the three defendants in the Elitetorrents operation better known as 'Operation D-Elite.'"
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BitTorrent Site Admin Sent To Prison

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:40PM (#16604110)
    Rape

    Murder

    Theft

    Or..

    Drug posession

    Helping people download music
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:22PM (#16604282)
      Rape

      Murder

      Theft

      Or..

      Drug posession

      Helping people download music


      Uh.. this raises a question: Would he go to a prison with rapists, murders, and other violent people or would he go somewhere where he'd sit and think about what he did instead of worrying for his life?
      • by Xzzy (111297) <sether AT tru7h DOT org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:36PM (#16604402) Homepage
        Uh.. this raises a question: Would he go to a prison with rapists, murders, and other violent people or would he go somewhere where he'd sit and think about what he did instead of worrying for his life?

        Dude, your terminoligy is wrong. Let me rephrase in a way more people will understand:

        Uh.. this raises a question: Would he go to federal pound me in the ass prison, or white-collar resort prison? (did you know they have conjugal visits there?!)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PerlDudeXL (456021)
        Yes, if you believe the cinema marketing commercials here in Germany.

        Content:

        Some young dude is sent to his cell and as he walks by two cliche criminals/thugs discuss
        who can have him first.
    • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:31PM (#16604360)
      "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand,
      and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
      father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
      bench.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hahiss (696716)

      Yeah, my initial thought after reading this piece was "Man, am I glad that guy's gonna be in jail! Now we're all totally safe to walk the streets."
  • Silly Punishment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 9mm Censor (705379) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:41PM (#16604126) Homepage
    1) I see no need to send someone to jail for copyright infringement. The punishment does not fit the crime, and its not helping society, by removing a danger, nor do I suspect it will be useful in rehabilitating.
    2) I hope he stocked up on torrents of stuff to watch/listen/play during house arrest.
  • by Jack Pallance (998237) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:43PM (#16604138) Homepage Journal
    What does BitchTorrent mean?
  • Damn and Rubbish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:47PM (#16604170) Journal
    Now I have to learn to use the metric system and do pound to euro conversions.

    One of the only good things about the bloated EU legal system is that nonsense and crock like this would be lucky even to make it to court. More and more I am convinced that the judiciary is being bought out by the newest form of governmental lobbies - and this is coming from a sternly traditional republican.

    My only hope is that the liberal money in this country eventually wakes up from pointless pandering for touchy-feely issues like the environment and gets down to the vagarities and rediculous loopholes in the system itself - changing a policy without changing the idea behind it is worthless.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <.gro.uaeb. .ta. .sirromj.> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:07PM (#16604172)
    Pirate caught and hung, film at 11. Or as 'hung' as our justice system can manage; I mean hell, murder only rates a couple of years if it is your first offense and it wasn't a brutal gangland slaying or anything like that.

    The Napster kerfluffle should have told anyone with three brain cells that building a site for the express purpose of putting people with a copy of a copyrighted file in contact with people who want a copy is infringement. The technology that implements it isn't all that important, it is the intent. And elitetorrents was ALL about warez. Just because the guy wasn't running an FTP site hosting the files wasn't going to save his butt and he should have known it wouldn't.

    Don't like the laws? Either work to change em or violate them as an act of civil disobedience and accept the consequences in the hope of gaining sympathy for your cause and eventual change. But don't act shocked that the operator of what was a major warez site got busted and sent up the river.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:08PM (#16604178)
    NOT.

    My guess is that he nor any of his users ever got any chance to vote on any copyright law. Can't say I have. Have you? Have you ever gotten to vote on any copyright issue?

    Hell, I never even agreed to be any citizen of any country. Show me a signature where I did. So therefore, how do any laws apply to him, or me? As far as I'm concerned, if you have no say so in the making of a law, then you have no obligation whatsoever to have to abide by it.

    Kind of like your neighbors down the street getting together and making an assinine aggreement, that all windows in the neighborhood must be left open in the winter time. And then enforcing that law on you. Fining you and or imprisoning you when you don't abide by it. Assembling a police force of patrollers to enforce this rule and smashing down the door and taking prisoner those who are in violation of it. Conformity and enforcement at the end of a barrel of gun.

    Only the neighbors aren't down the street, they are 100 miles, or 1000 miles away. Or worse, somewhere back in time, even before you were even born.

    Tell me the US version of representational democracy / republic isn't a total crock of ****....

    Further, if you're under 18, you have no say so whatsoever. If you're over 18, your say so is generally limited to the joke of a vote. Which is nothing but a weak concession to undermine your primary right, which is the right to riot.
    • by yamamushi (903955) <yamamushi&gmail,com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:19PM (#16604256) Homepage
      The problem is, most people are content to live like this. Without questioning their rights (hell most people I've come across don't even know what their rights are). We live in an apathetic society, where people are happy just waking up every morning being alive and going to work without being shot at. And it only gets worse every day.
      • If you are popular, and you have a good lawyer, you can get away with shoting someone OJ, cough, excuse me, Achoo!, Rober Blake, sorry.

        Anyhow, I think we need a big celebrity to get arrested on what used to be a civil crime of copyright infringment, to bring the issue to light.

        Meanwhile, if you are not rich, good looking, and popular, don't steal stuff or infringe on copyrights and you will be OK. It's all crap anyhow, right?

        That said, if you have an ordinary lawyer, you are probably more likely to ge

    • ... had an opportunity to vote on your state's murder statute either. Or, more to the point, that guy creeping up behind you never voted on it. Never even asked to be a member of this country, either. Show *him* the signature. Of course, in my experience anarchists always seem to learn the value of police and courts when it is their own lives and/or property in danger.

      The US version of representational democracy / republic isn't a total crock of **** :) Its the least worst of all systems anybody has ma
  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:11PM (#16604200)
    ... what his, umm, sharing ratio will be in prison.

    Do you think he'll leave it open for peers after he's done?
  • by Phantom100 (216058) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:15PM (#16604222)
    Well, I will sleep much better tonight knowing that this horrible criminal is finally behind bars.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:21PM (#16604270)
    Seriously how fucking dense do you have to be if you think putting up a torrent to Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith before it was released to cinemas was not going to put you top of the MPAA shitlist and destined for special attention.
  • by oblivion95 (803698) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:21PM (#16604276)
    From the U.S. Constitution: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constituti on.articlei.html#section8 [cornell.edu]
    • To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    In order to imprison someone for violating the temporarily granted monopoly, the government should have to prove that he discouraged "the progress of science and useful arts". For that, they would have to prove that the people who obtained his pirated material would otherwise have paid for it. That is the problem with the arguments of strict copyright proponents: They fail to recognize that the absence of piracy does not imply equivalently higher sales. Some of us are simply not willing to pay $20 for one decent song on a CD.

    The fine might be appropriate, but prison time is completely unjustified.

    • "Useful" arts... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wilson_6500 (896824)
      It kinda makes me wonder: what exactly constitutes a "non-useful" art? Let's pretend that I'm the best in the world at weaving creative designs into submersible helicopters made of wicker. If nobody wants, desires, or even critically appreciates my wicker-woven submersible helicopter customizations, does that make their creation a useless form of expression? Could someone flagrantly violate my copyright in this case without repercussion? Does the very fact that someone might _try_ to violate my copyright ma
  • by siddesu (698447) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:22PM (#16604278)
    Trademarked by the "entertainment industry"

    1. Make the (US) government happy by paying politicians for
    legalizing monopoly over culture practically forever
    2. Kill creativity and competition by killing the public domain
    3. Nourish crap tastes, sell crap at monopoly prices
    4. Profit

    5. Goto 1
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:30PM (#16604350) Homepage
    ...crimes that benifit herself and deal with actual money : 5 months

    Grant Stanley, crime characterized as sharing : 5 years of butt sex.
  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:38PM (#16604426) Homepage
    Jail? For adminning an indexing site?

    When are they going to lock up the Google admins?!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Google is actually infringing the copyrights in a worse way than this dude did. Google actually stores copyrighted content on their servers, while the guy only provided an index pointing to the information...
  • by Skudd (770222) on Friday October 27, 2006 @12:25AM (#16604850) Homepage Journal
    ...but isn't this what other torrent sites fought in the past?

    They don't actually host the illegal material; just a reference to it. If they're going to arrest admins for that, then why are search engines still indexing crack/serial/warez sites?

    If you want to get technical about it, the users submitting the torrents are the ones at fault, here. Granted, if the admin is the submitter, then he has every right to be imprisoned for his doings. But if he simply provided the web space for the torrent of copyrighted material to be hosted, and provided the bandwidth for the same, then his liability is somewhat questionable.

    I, personally, don't know how that site operated. If I were running such a site, then I would implement a moderation system. But depending upon the popularity and traffic involved in such a site, that could easily become a daunting task.

    I see it in the same light as arresting automobile manufacturers for the hit-and-run death of an innocent pedestrian. Sure, the car was used as the lethal weapon of choice, and it was productive in doing its task, but it's not Chevrolet's fault that their Silverado 1500 was used to kill someone. BitTorrent has a valid use, just as an automobile. When it's misused though, it's not the responsibility of the manufacturer, the used car dealer, or even the gas station!

    That's just my two copper pieces.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shark72 (702619)

      "They don't actually host the illegal material; just a reference to it."

      This is exactly why he was nailed for "conspiracy to commit copyright infringement," and not "copyright infringement."

      "If they're going to arrest admins for that, then why are search engines still indexing crack/serial/warez sites?"

      Because the search engines are not in a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. EliteTorrents was. This wasn't a Linux distro or creative commons torrents site.

      "If you want to get technical

    • Not that clean (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Friday October 27, 2006 @02:34AM (#16605662) Homepage Journal
      I see it in the same light as arresting automobile manufacturers for the hit-and-run death of an innocent pedestrian. Sure, the car was used as the lethal weapon of choice, and it was productive in doing its task, but it's not Chevrolet's fault that their Silverado 1500 was used to kill someone.

      It isn't that clean cut though. Chevrolet aren't making their offering as a "pedestrian killer 1500", they are offering something which clearly has a legitimate purpose and are offering it for that purpose.

      If someone is running a bittorrent site and they have set up categories such as "TV Shows" [thepiratebay.org] or specific show names [mininova.org] then I can't see how anyone can claim that they are offering something neutral.

      Bittorrent as a tool is neutral. However if you expend effort designing a site in a way which specifically assists illegal use then I don't think it's surprising to be included as part of a "conspiracy". You have specifically assisted people to use the tool for illegal means.

      I've not seen Elite Torrents so I don't know how much this applies to it specifically. Having said that from what (little) I have seen "subtlety" isn't a word I'd associate with that sort of site.

      Search engines and so forth may contain similar information. However they have not expended effort to specifically help people find that type information, it is just there because it happens to be part of all the information out there.
  • USSR (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ilmarin77 (964467) on Friday October 27, 2006 @02:47AM (#16605746)
    Funny, back in USSR people used to be put to jail for distributing "political information" [wikipedia.org]
    Now, in USA person gets into jail for distributing music. I guess this is the real Democracy for you :)
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:25AM (#16606228)
    I talked to an old friend recently who works in the music industry. He both plays in a band, runs a studio and does A&R. He's always been extremely anti downloading music and we've crossed swords on this a few times as for *me*, the ability to sample huge amounts of music has resulted in me actually buying considerably more CDs.
    We had a chat about how in the good old days a band could have maybe 3 or 4 albums before they started to get it together, the label would support them as they grew and matured. The few mega bands, the likes of the Beatles, U2 etc all earned so much money for a label, they allowed them to prop up the other 90% of their roster that lost money. Record companies made money, bands thrived, everyone was happy.
    These days an artist gets maybe two singles or an album out the door and if they're not hits (and big hits at that) then they're dropped. Why? Seems the bands that make big money no longer do so. If the price of a CD (or vinyl) since 1980 kept up with inflation, wages etc they should be almost 4 times higher than they are now so the big bands are making the label one quarter of what they were. Thus, less money to support the up and coming ones. A&R is all but a memory for many of them.
    On top of that, we have all got used to polished sound so studio time and costs grew to ridiculous levels, again eating in to the bottom line. I read that Heaven 17 only just broke even on their 1982 album last year. Result is that many of the big studios are shutting down as they can't cover costs with production moving to purely PC based setups in many cases.
    Music downloads make it even worse as the amount of money everyone gets from a (legit) download is less than from a CD.
    It's a bad state but TBH, whilst it means big record labels, studios etc are all falling by the wayside, the alternative model of bands doing their own thing, selling via web sites etc is really taking off, as is live performance. I guess we're seeing a shift away from the 'music industry' back to the musicians. The EMI's of the world see the writing on the wall so are fighting for survival hence the heavy handed tactics. I can't see how they can avoid it now though, the Genie is out the bottle and the power has shifted. Good or bad? I can't say myself.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:26AM (#16606684) Journal
    Would web site operators be any less liable if they JUST listed the DHT hash URI addresses on their site instead of the tracker file?

If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.

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