Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Dec 2010 22:58 UTC
Legal Due to my incessant whining about the evilness of big content, it's easy to forget that despite all the lunacy those guys throw our way, there are also cases where they're simply very much right. The Columbus Dispatch is reporting on the story of Qiang Bi, who has just been sentenced to jail for two and half years for piracy.
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Member since:

He sold cracked copies of games burned onto DVD's for ten buck, he's not Bernie Madoff. I agree he should forfeit his earnings, pay restitution, and do community service, but why in the world should he have to sit in prison for 2 and a half years? Who got hurt? Is he a threat to society in any way? Then why lock him up. The guy is an idiot, but I feel sorry for him. Some mercy is called for in his sentencing.

Reply Parent Score: 10

tanishaj Member since:

He distributed copyrighted content to people who were clearly willing to pay for that material. I am anti big content but let's be honest that there is a real crime here. Anybody that would have benefitted from that revenue was hurt. Now it is possible that this is just a smaller bonus for somebody but it is equally possible that this could have been the salary and benefits of somebody that was instead unemployed at Christmas. Who knows how bad some family got hurt?

Also, the goal is not just to punish but to discourage. The law should make hurting people risky.

Edited 2010-12-31 03:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Who got hurt?
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Dec 2010 11:41 in reply to "Who got hurt?"
WorknMan Member since:

He distributed copyrighted content to people who were clearly willing to pay for that material. I am anti big content but let's be honest that there is a real crime here. Anybody that would have benefitted from that revenue was hurt.

I'm not so sure about that. I don't know exactly how much he was charging for his cracked copies, but I think it's safe to assume that it was significantly less than the retail cost. So, who's to say that the people who bought cracked copies from him would've paid full retail price in the first place? It's the same ass-backwards logic that people use to defend piracy, so where exactly do you draw the line? Would you consider those who pay 10 cents for pirated copies of songs on those Russian mp3 sites to be the same level of scum as this guy?

IMHO, although we will never have any quantifiable measure of how many pirates would've bought content to begin with, I think it's safe to assume that some sales were lost, regardless of whether the pirated content was bought at a small price or leeched for free. I guess I just don't understand how you can condemn the former while justifying the latter.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Who got hurt?
by UltraZelda64 on Sat 1st Jan 2011 12:10 in reply to "Who got hurt?"
UltraZelda64 Member since:

Anybody that would have benefitted from that revenue was hurt.

No, anyone who bought those games for only ten bucks would have likely done one of the following if this guy wasn't around:

1. Either cracked or illegally downloaded the games themselves if they knew how...
2. Bought it used from some random person, used game store, or friend...
3. Not bought it to begin with.

If someone buys a game for ten bucks, there's a good chance they're either too cheap, too poor, or just downright unwilling to spend, what, 40-50+ bucks on a game. Someone might think these games are worth their full asking price, but not everyone. If someone wasn't going to buy the game at full price or directly from the company when it lowers the price for the final time to, say, 20-30 bucks before taking the product off the market for good, then what is the publisher really losing? Nothing. If these things didn't cost so much, then maybe, just MAYBE, these companies would have stolen some of this guy's business and been able to sell *their own* products to more people. Their "loss" if you can call it that, I say.

I think making a living on the side selling other people's copyrighted works is a shitty thing to do, but being forced to spend 2+ years in a cell is just too much for the crime. If this country made any sense, it would think of a more fitting "punishment" than torturing a guy by keeping him locked up in a cell for such dumb things as this. By the time he's let go he'll probably have lost half of his brain behind. And maybe even his anal virginity, who knows. And who did he rape? Murder? Give a bloody and broken nose and knock out, to be put in there with the truly dangerous people? No one. Who did he "steal" from? IMO, making and selling copies is not "theft"; it is what it is, copyright infringement.

Jails and prisons have their uses, but dumb things like copyright infringement; being caught with "drugs" other than the government-blessed nicotine, alcohol and caffeine; and not paying your taxes on time should not lead to it. Of all the things the government could do to these non-violent people, they just lock them away, treat them like shit, allow them to be assraped, and *might* finally allow them to be released sometime in the future after they've already been at least somewhat mindf--ked. Well, that is, if they haven't had their sentence extended by getting pissed at the police in the jail (which I'm sure is easy to do, the way they tend to treat their inmates).

Edited 2011-01-01 12:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:

Lock him up to set a deterrent.

If you only have a financial penalty for white collar crimes then getting caught just becomes a financial risk.

The guy had a job at an insurance company but got greedy. This wasn't a crime of desperation. I agree that he shouldn't cost tax payers any money which is why he should be sent to a work camp.

Edited 2010-12-31 04:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

SReilly Member since:

You have a very good point there. Unfortunately we see white collar criminals get a slap on the wrist more often than not for crimes far more serious than pirating copyrighted material for financial gain.

If a pirate can get two and a half years worth of jail time for ripping off contents owners of 300k then why are criminal financial speculators who have gambled away hundreds of thousands of working peoples savings still walking around free?

A sense of perspective is very much needed when talking about setting an example. The bottom line here is that your average working family does not have a lobby group looking after it's interests.

Reply Parent Score: 3

bugjacobs Member since:

Steal a buck, get locked up.
Steal a million, get a slap on the wrist !

Steal a Billion ! oooooh your a wall street tycoon !

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:

Basically it is a reward system for those with the biggest balls.

Reply Parent Score: 2