Jayme Gordon Guilty On All 4 Counts Of Wire Fraud In Scheme To Sue Dreamworks For Copyright Infringement

from the wires-crossed dept

It was somewhat breathtaking back in 2011 to see the multiple accusations of copyright infringement brought against Dreamworks' movie Kung Fu Panda. While none of the suits appear to have stuck, the case brought by Jayme Gordon stood out, first because it certainly looked, based on his evidence, that he had a somewhat strong case, and then later it became clear that his evidence against Dreamworks was actually a bullshit con he'd trumped up after likely infringing on previous works by Disney. The quick version of the story is that Gordon altered some drawings he'd done previously to look more like artwork in a trailer he saw for Kung Fu Panda, where those original drawings were essentially recreations of art from a Disney coloring book. He also tried to hide all of this by deleting files off of his computer so that they wouldn't be found during discovery, an endeavor that worked about as well as a flotation device made entirely out of stone. Jesus, this world is a strange place in which to live.

Regardless, as Tim Cushing noted in his post above, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston filed wire fraud charges against Gordon because his attorneys emailed requests for discovery and settlement offers across state lines as part of his scheme. These charges, which come from the same office that prosecuted Aaron Swartz, looked for all the world like charges stacking. Except this particular U.S. Attorney's Office tends to follow through on the charges.

Which brings us to the present, in which Gordon has been found guilty on all four wire fraud charges and is in serious trouble.

Jayme Gordon, 51, was convicted today by a federal juryon four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2017. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and restitution. The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Let's be clear that the wire fraud charges, when compared to how other U.S. Attorney's Offices tend to handle these things, are purely punitive. The manner in which these offices tend to prosecute wire fraud is one fraught with variance. It tends to come down to whether or not that particular office really wants to hammer the defendant, rather than the law being equitably applied across the entire constituency. Put another way: isn't the five years in prison and quarter-of-a-million dollars fine ample punishment for what Gordon did?

However you want to answer that question, it seems likely that his sentence will be far greater than that. Even if he serves a fraction of the possible 25 years in prison, it's likely to be in the double digits. Gordon is by no means a likable character, but that seems out of whack.

Filed Under: copyright, evidence, fraud, jayme garcia, kung fu panda, wire fraud
Companies: disney


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Nov 2016 @ 12:48pm

    I must admit, I'm a bit confused here.

    Techdirt is always talking about horrible people making horrible false copyright infringement claims, and I fully agree that it's horrible and the people doing so need to be smacked down hard.

    Now that someone doing so actually got smacked down hard for it, you're saying there's a problem with that?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      I think the problem is with the inconsistency. Justice is supposed to be blind, and apply to all equally regardless of race, sex, creed, whether they're an asshole, or what have you.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2016 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re:

        > Justice is supposed to be blind, and apply to all equally regardless of race, sex, creed, whether they're an asshole, or what have you.

        You left out the most important factor in the justice system. Money. This guy obviously wasn't rich enough to get away with what he did. That's what happens when you play out of your league.

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

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:20pm

      No, it's not alright.

      What is not the only thing to consider here. We must consider HOW. The ends never justify the means. That goes triple for when we think it's to our own advantage. We're usually much to full of ourselves to consider that this sort of thing can be turned back on us.

      You always have to consider the next guy that comes along with a bad toupe.

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

    • identicon
      Duncan, 28 Nov 2016 @ 10:58pm

      Re:

      Which is exactly why I keep coming back to Techdirt even though I have no stake in the copyright industry - fair and balanced reporting.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Nov 2016 @ 12:14am

      Re:

      Not confusing at all. The key sentence is here:

      "isn't the five years in prison and quarter-of-a-million dollars fine ample punishment for what Gordon did?"

      Yes, I think most reasonable people would think that. Adding another decade of jailtime on to that is somewhat disproportional and does nothing more to deter those wishing to commit similar crimes than the 5 years would.

      In addition, it does nothing to address the usual issues talked about here. This does nothing to help those filmmakers who have their royalties robbed from them by creative accounting. This does nothing to deter studios and their lackeys DDOSing service providers with false DMCA claims, nor does it protect those independents affected by their actions. Those people and corporations need to be smacked down hard, but this is unrelated to those instances.

      The result is correct, but the punishment also needs to fit the crime.

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

    • icon
      Alexis Rivera (profile), 29 Nov 2016 @ 2:25am

      Re:

      I think its a matter of who is getting smacked down and who is the victim. As you already know copyright holders get away with a lot of false claims yet no one lifts a finger. Given this this common trend the fact that someone attempts to do the same the same to Disney (A ridiculously active lobbyist for copyright maximalism) then he gets the book thrown at him almost immediately raises some concern and might hint at inequality in the application of the law.

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

  • identicon
    Anon, 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:11pm

    RE:

    The problem is what's fair. People do less that 10 years in some places for armed robbery, manslaughter, etc. 25 years for attempting a copyright fake-out and lying under oath? Copyright violation wire fraud is four times worse than perjury? No wonder USA has more people in jail than any other country except China with 4 times the population.

    The actual crime here is "majestus", failure to pay due deference to the majesty of the state... i.e not caving when the DA says to, as happened to Aaron Schwarz.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:36pm

      Re: RE:

      People do less that 10 years in some places for armed robbery, manslaughter, etc. 25 years for attempting a copyright fake-out and lying under oath?

      NO. As Ken at Popehat keeps telling people, that's just bad reporting. (Sorry, Tim.)

      Unless this guy has a long criminal history, he doesn't face anything remotely like the maximum sentence.

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

      • identicon
        ANON, 29 Nov 2016 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re: RE:

        NO to your NO.

        Remember Schwarz was told the DA would ask for up to 35 years if he failed to take the plea. Not "the maximum is..." but "At trial we will ask for...".

        Should we believe the DA is any less "persuasive" in any other case? Especially when the victims are the people who pay to have the laws written.

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

    • identicon
      David, 29 Nov 2016 @ 12:59am

      Re: RE:

      Where did you get that "except China" bit? The U.S. has a larger part of its population in jail than any other country, whether you look at absolute numbers or percentages.

      Of course, the numbers are put in a bit more perspective by considering the significantly greater role the graveyard plays as a correctional facility in China.

      But the bottom line remains that no other nation has as many people incarcerated as the U.S.

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

      • identicon
        Anon, 29 Nov 2016 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re: RE:

        Oops. I stand corrected. Without checking I guessed China was winning and South Africa was a close runner up to the USA. It's good to know America is still great again and always has been in one statistic, at least.

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

  • icon
    TomZ (profile), 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:23pm

    Sentencing Guidelines

    Its really hard to read these articles without laughing at the author. You are quoting maximum possible sentences without realizing that there are clear guidelines on what the ACTUAL sentences may be.

    Depending on his previous criminal history, he could be getting 21-27 months.

    http://www.sentencing.us/

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Nov 2016 @ 2:17pm

      Re: Sentencing Guidelines

      If someone told you that they were in control of your bank account and could drain it completely, and someone pointed out that just because they could doesn't mean that they would('They might only take half, or even a quarter!'), would that strike you as a good argument?

      Sure he probably won't get the maximum, but the fact remains that it's even possible for such a sentence for what he did is a little ridiculous. The potential for 20 years in prison and a quarter million fine simply because the person he was talking to was located in another state seems just a titch excessive, even given the fact that he was a slimeball for attempted extortion under cover of copyright infringement.

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

      • identicon
        PRMan, 28 Nov 2016 @ 3:32pm

        Re: Re: Sentencing Guidelines

        He could only get it with 8+ previous convictions. If you can't learn from your mistakes, maybe we should lock you away.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Nov 2016 @ 1:34am

      Re: Sentencing Guidelines

      "Depending on his previous criminal history, he could be getting 21-27 months."

      Can I ask how you calculated this? I don't see the specific USC numbers to search on, but with that site's defaults I'm getting 18-24 months based on the perjury alone with zero history. It seems strange that a further 4 counts of wire fraud would get a maximum of 3 months above that, unless I'm doing something seriously wrong.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2016 @ 7:26am

      Re: Sentencing Guidelines

      Those are, as they're called, just "guidelines". Politics will play a role.

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

    • identicon
      YeahYeah, 4 May 2017 @ 2:13pm

      Re: Sentencing Guidelines

      He got 24 months plus a year of probation. Restitution has him by the balls though.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:25pm

    Sentencing Guidelines

    Its really hard to read these articles without laughing at the author. You are quoting maximum possible sentences without realizing that there are clear guidelines on what the ACTUAL sentences may be.

    Depending on his previous criminal history, he could be getting 30-37 months.

    http://www.sentencing.us/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2016 @ 1:43pm

    Is this the same guy that was up in arms about Disney stealing his art regarding the snowman on a lake in Frozen?

    I feel like the charges are the wrong ones, but something similar, but more targeted at what he (and others) did (let's have perjury charges with real teeth, maybe?) would be a really good idea. That sort of law could be applied evenly, instead of just because of where people happened to be sitting when they had a conversation.

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


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