Is Selling Counterfeit Software Worse Than Bank And Identity Fraud?

from the equivalencies dept

There's a story making the rounds about a guy who's apparently going to jail for selling unauthorized copies of software on eBay, and the software industry is trumpeting what a huge victory this is over "counterfeiting," by claiming: "The Mondello case demonstrates that these pirates won't simply get a slap on the wrist when caught. They very well may end up doing serious time in federal prison." Right, but if you read the details, the conviction wasn't just for copyright infringement, but for identity fraud and mail fraud. That is, as part of his operation, he illegally obtained peoples' bank account info. That would appear to be a lot worse than copyright infringement, but the press seems to focus only on the "counterfeiting" angle, because that's the story the software industry association seems to be feeding the press. They want people to think that they'll go to jail for piracy, when that's quite unlikely.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Nope, it's worse.

    What's really worse is skipping commercials. That's akin to molesting choir boys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Piracy is... not ok, but sort of a gray zone.

    Selling counterfeit software isn't just piracy, though - it's profiting from piracy, a wholly different kettle of fish, and while it shouldn't give jail, the fine should be substantial.

     

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  3.  
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    maniac in a speedo, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 9:48am

    It is if it happens to me.

     

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  4.  
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    ScytheNoire, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 9:49am

    Always about the Agenda

    They are just spinning things to suit their needs and push their agenda.

    If you download something for yourself, unlikely you'll even get a slap on the wrist. If you are creating many copies, and selling them, for profit, then you can get some fines, and possibly jail time, if really unlucky.

    So just keep your downloading to personal use, don't sell it, and you're unlikely to even get looked at.

     

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  5.  
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    Matt, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    So if the SIIA understands that it needs to be suing the individuals behind selling pirated items on eBay, Why are they planning on suing eBay as described in Mike's earlier stories http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080725/1517061796.shtml ?

     

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  6.  
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    claire rand, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    jail?

    I though jail time was intended to keep people off the streets who are a danger to the public?

    fraud etc i.e. non violent crimes should be handled via fines and other punishments

    to be honest maybe even fraud etc shouldn't be jail time.

    why should the tax payer _pay_ to house these people? a large fine and probably some community service type work. even if just breaking rocks.

    fail to keep those conditions and then prison maybe.

    give judges and courts the power to be a bit more inventive with punishments. locking people up is just not cost effective for non violent offenders.

    and to think you can get a longer sentence for not paying taxes than drink driving... priorities people.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Re: jail?

    I though jail time was intended to keep people off the streets who are a danger to the public?
    Criminal justice is big business these days. Jail time is intended to feed the prison industry segment of the criminal justice system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Kiba, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 11:23am

    Gray? Not So.

    How is it a moral gray zone to sell copies of software that you brought legitimately? As far as I am concerned, this isn't wrong at all.

    Maybe you have a point when somebody is actively misrepresenting themselves in order to sell software. In this case, you don't.

    It may be wrong accordingly to the laws, but it doesn't necessary mean it is an illegitimate economic activity. Sometime the law is itself immoral.

    In this case, these software monopolists are trying to maintain their reproduction monopoly privileges at the expense of the economy and the public.

    That is not to say that illegal reproduction of software is the best way to stick it to the "man". Rather, it is probably the worst way to protest these monopolies(and it also benefit these monopolists also).

    A much better way is to boycott these monopolists and use alternative software(such as Firefox, GNU/Linux, Apache) that respect the public's right to ownership of software.

     

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  9.  
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    MLS, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 11:35am

    The title to the article is a bit off the mark. Apparently the SIIA has been using "searchware" on eBay to identify potential sellers of counterfeit software and software not licensed for resale, and then sending that info to the criminal authorities for investigation. From what I have read as of late there are about 30+ eBay sellers who after investigation have been targeted for referral to the criminal authories.

    Of course, once a matter enters the criminal justice world prosecutors look for anything and everything that can possibly be leveled as charges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Zap, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    Re: jail?

    and to think you can get a longer sentence for not paying taxes than drink driving... priorities people.

    And to think that you can also get a longer sentence for drunk driving than yakking on a cell phone while driving even though the latter is more dangerous. It's all about politics, not reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    BTR1701, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Real Problem

    > but the press seems to focus only on the
    > "counterfeiting" angle, because that's the
    > story the software industry association
    > seems to be feeding the them.

    The real problem here isn't the software industry. Of course they're going to spin things in their favor. That's to be expected.

    The problem is the media, which no longer ever bothers to really do its job and investigate a story. They just parrot press releases from various industry and government groups without actually checking to see if they are accurate or not.

    Remember when we had real journalists and not just PR hacks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Real Problem

    > but the press seems to focus only on the
    > "counterfeiting" angle, because that's the
    > story the software industry association
    > seems to be feeding the them.

    The real problem here isn't the software industry. Of course they're going to spin things in their favor. That's to be expected.

    The problem is the media, which no longer ever bothers to really do its job and investigate a story. They just parrot press releases from various industry and government groups without actually checking to see if they are accurate or not.

    Remember when we had real journalists and not just PR hacks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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