A convicted Czech software pirate was ordered by a court to rack up 200k YouTube hits denouncing piracy or face a huge fine.
Jakub F. was found guilty of software piracy and costing companies such as Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, HBO Europe and Sony Music losses of $373,000 by uploading links to file-hosting sites. Microsoft alone sought damages of $223,000 for online copyright infringement.
The court, in accord with the Business Software Alliance which represents the software giant, agreed that the pirate should cooperate in an anti piracy video denouncing his actions and deterring future online surfers from the allures of piracy.
Torrent Freak reports:
The case involves an individual known as Jakub F who was accused by the BSA of pirating software including Microsoft’s Windows. Over many years he uploaded links to various forums which allowed others to download content from file-hosting sites. The BSA took exception to that and tracked him down. Eventually the police ended up at Jakub’s house, confiscating his computer, DVDs and an external hard drive.
The case went to trial and in September Jakub was found guilty, with a district court handing him a three-year suspended sentence and ordering the confiscation of his equipment. But for Jakub the matter was not over yet.
MojePiratstvi cz YouTube video:
Various companies involved in the lawsuit including Microsoft, HBO, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox estimated that Jakub had caused them around $373,000 in damages, with Microsoft alone calling for $223,000. However, it appears that the court wasn’t prepared to accept the companies’ somewhat hypothetical calculations.
Whether the companies ever intended to claw back these sums remains unclear but it now transpires that the plaintiffs and Jakub F reached agreement on what they describe as an “alternative sentence.”
Instead of paying out a small fortune to his tormentors at the BSA, Jakub F agreed to star in an anti-piracy PSA about his life as a pirate. The video, which is embedded below and titled “The Story of My Piracy”, is being promoted on mojepiratstvi.cz, a site ostensibly setup by Jakub himself, with the aim of deterring others from following in his footsteps.
“I had to start this site because for eight years I spread pirated software and then they caught me. I thought that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I thought that it didn’t hurt the big companies. I didn’t even do it for the money, I did it for fun,” Jakub begins.
“I felt in the warez community that I meant something. I was convinced that I was too small a fish for someone to get to me. But eventually, they got me. Even for me, the investigators came to work.”
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