AfterDawn: Tech news

2 California men sentenced in major piracy operation

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 08 Aug 2007 4:24 User comments (19)

2 California men sentenced in major piracy operation On Monday, two men were sentenced in what the government calls the largest DVD piracy scheme to be prosecuted in the U.S.
The two defendants, Ye Teng Wen, also known as Michael Wen, and Hao He, who is sometimes called Kevin He, were sentenced to 37 months each in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and fines. A third defendant, Yaobin Zhai, also known as Ben Zhai, received the same jail and supervised release sentence, but a much larger fine of nearly $7 million.

All three men were arrested as part of Operation Remaster, an federal undercover operation that executed 13 search warrants in California and Texas. According to a Department of Justice press release, nearly 500,000 pirated CDs and DVDs were seized, as well as more than 6,000 stampers which could be used to manufacture pirated discs.

While entertainment companies are quick to point fingers at file sharing and personal disc copying for decreasing revenue, the numbers used to show those losses often come from commercial operations like this one. It's a reasonable assumption that at least most of the money spent purchasing pirated CDs and DVDs would otherwise be spent purchasing similar legitimate goods.

There's no way of knowing the actual financial effects of piracy on CD or DVD sales, but it is known that piracy is a multi-billion dollar business, particularly in Asia. As long as people trying to exercise fair use rights are painted with the same broad brush as the true criminals and both are blamed for declining profits, it should be a subject of interest for all consumers.

Source: Information Week

Previous Next  

19 user comments

18.8.2007 10:48

"Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) Task Force"

..comprised of many friends of "comic book guy" from the Simpsons..

28.8.2007 14:05

I'm glad are goverment is doing all it can to stomp out piracy. DVD's and CD's would be much cheaper if it wasn't for these asses. I buy all my discs at full price and I love them, saying that I'm going to down this one last beer and head into town and buy a new movie. :)

38.8.2007 14:15

Ye Teng Wen and Hao He

...ermm let me guess....could they possibly be Chinese ?

what is it wth these people ? is there only one out of the billion that is honest ?

48.8.2007 14:48

who would buy pirated material from some Chinese people when you can torrent?

58.8.2007 16:37
BIGnewb
Inactive

true^ but i hate it wen ppl dont know torrents.and even if you teach them so basically im the only one in my whole neighbourhood who knows so i guess everyone else buys from the chinese.and there are no honest chinese ppl cuz one just screwed me over on ebay.knock-off bullshit

68.8.2007 17:07

Hey hey people lets watch it. This is starting to turn racist.

78.8.2007 19:51

go go gadget pirates; next time please don't get caught.

88.8.2007 22:11
duckNrun
Inactive

thats a lot of discs and stampers...

When I first saw the fines I was like WHOA their gonna be paying forever...

but with an operation like that they probably have that much tucked away in an offshore account somewhere... if they were smart... which might not be the case since they did what they did and got caught doing it..lol

oh... and its not just these sorts of guys that are affecting the price of media... the downloaders and rental rippers IF they purchased instead of stole could be seen by the companies as 'shrinkage' and thus inflating the price for all the other people who actually buy stuff instead of copying or d/l'ing

Of course that also depends on IF they would have spent the money and only got them BECAUSE they were free or $3 at the rental store.. and IF the media companies would have lowered prices and not just pocketed the extra cash for themselves.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Aug 2007 @ 22:15

99.8.2007 2:24

To say these gentlemen are stupid is not entirely correct. To be able to run an operation like that takes some intelligence and we don't know how long they ran their operations.

Many uber-intelligent people are caught up in federal sweeps all the time. The point is if you are doing something many organizations and federal and local agencies are trying to stop then you will eventually be caught if you do it long enough.

The Movie, Music and Software industry has tons of resources and can afford to pay for the FBI investigations especially if the suspect an operation that is being targeted is huge one.

Second to suggest that chinese are all cheats and liars is complete misnomer that I take offense too. There is a over a billion individuals in china and many of them are below poverty.

Many of the bootlegging operations are operated out of China due to the fact that many of the cheap cds, equipment to replicate them in mass numbers are also manufactured in China.

Funny how many you are saying that their are no honest chinese but many of you that make those statements are watching unauthorized copyrighted material and listening to them. I don't care if you are downloading copy-righted material, viewing them on sites like break, youtube or other sites or putting some unathorized music on your myspace page or other social networking sites.

Just imagine how many people in the US that does this on a regular basis.

109.8.2007 8:01

^^^^^^ Amen brother.

119.8.2007 8:08
skunkyg
Inactive

Originally posted by thekingo7:
^^^^^^ Amen brother.

Ill second that my friend!

129.8.2007 9:40
LILBUCK
Inactive

Originally posted by domie:
Ye Teng Wen and Hao He

...ermm let me guess....could they possibly be Chinese ?

what is it wth these people ? is there only one out of the billion that is honest ?
LMAO
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Aug 2007 @ 9:41

139.8.2007 20:18

Originally posted by BIGnewb:
true^ but i hate it wen ppl dont know torrents.and even if you teach them so basically im the only one in my whole neighbourhood who knows so i guess everyone else buys from the chinese.and there are no honest chinese ppl cuz one just screwed me over on ebay.knock-off bullshit
You sir are a total retard, congratulations!

On topic, these 2 arseholes deserve this, selling illegal movies or media in general is sickening......dont drop the soap!

1410.8.2007 2:05

I must admit svtstang, I agree with the 'spirit' of that post, even if not the way it was said.

1510.8.2007 7:41
duke8888
Inactive

Yes the Feds are going everywhere and they are monitoring torrent and setting up stings. Here in Pittsburgh they have caught 6 guys in the past 2 months sharing programs music and kiddy porn. Torrent is being watched by the feds beware.

1610.8.2007 20:15

Quote:
Originally posted by BIGnewb:
dont drop the soap!
Great line.
Originally posted by duke8888:
Yes the Feds are going everywhere and they are monitoring torrent and setting up stings. Here in Pittsburgh they have caught 6 guys in the past 2 months sharing programs music and kiddy porn. Torrent is being watched by the feds beware.
I don't think the feds gave a damn about the music and programs, just the media that did the story, what the feds probably gave a damn about is the kid porn. Frankly if you are dumb enough to do that shit in the first place, then record it, and then distribute it on the internet you deserve to be locked up.

1711.8.2007 1:01

Quote:
what the feds probably gave a damn about is the kid porn

unfortunately the dark side of piracy, torrents, limewire etc. Annoys the hell out of me. They should f' off. Giving ordnary file sharing a bad name.

Quote:
is there only one out of the billion that is honest ?
Who knows? did you hear about the fake Harry Potter books? Their government has also had to go military syle to stop the knock off olympics merchandise. Did you know they have really stricy porn laws over there? You wouldn't know it, judging by my local Chinese DVD sellers.

1811.8.2007 2:00

The 'dark side' of piracy? Then what in your opinion is the light side?

1917.8.2007 17:21

Quote:
Ye Teng Wen, also known as Michael Wen, 31, and Hao He, who is sometimes called Kevin He, 32, both of Union City, Calif., were each sentenced to 37 months in federal prison, three years of supervised release, a $125,000 fine, and a $500 mandatory special assessment. On June 4, a third conspirator, Yaobin Zhai, also known as Ben Zhai, 34, of Fremont, Calif., received the same sentence but also was ordered to pay $6.9 million in restitution.
That is a massive overall result to the feds.

Quote:
On Oct. 6, 2005, federal investigators executed search warrants at 13 locations in California and Texas, including the offices of Media Art Technology, Inc., Magic Media Inc., and BDG Publishing Inc. According to a Department of Justice release, agents seized about 494,000 pirated music, software, and movie CDs, and DVDs, and more than 6,135 stampers, which are used to manufacture the CDs and DVDs.
All this done on my Birthday and i did not get a present for anyone :P

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive