AfterDawn: Tech news

Camcorder pirate charged in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 04 Aug 2005 20:52 User comments (44)

Camcorder pirate charged in U.S. A man has become the first ever person to be indicted under a new law in the United States that prohibits making "cam" copies of movies in movie theatres using a concealed camcorder, the U.S. Justice Department stated. Curtis Salisbury, 19, of Missouri made copies of films such as "The Perfect Man" and "Bewitched" which were later distributed around the world by a "warez group". Later on these movies landed on P2P networks where they were downloaded and shared by possibly millions of people.
As well as supplying this group with the copies of the movies, the Justice Department also said that he downloaded several other pirated movies and software from the group. He could face up to 17 years in prison for the crime. Warez groups are what the Justice Department sees as the elite of Internet piracy, releasing tonnes of movies, software and music to the world often long periods of time before their retail release or theatre dates in the case of movies.

Officials did say however, that while being the top of the piracy chain on the Internet, warez groups generally are not motivated by profit. However in this case, the Justice Department said Salisbury had sought payment for movies that he uploaded to the groups sites. He was originally arrested as part of Operation Site Down that targeted member of warez groups in over a dozen countries, many of which have also been charged.


Previous Next  

44 user comments

14.8.2005 21:08

if they lock this guy up for 17 years i'm protestin'... not liein either!

24.8.2005 21:15

Seems priorities are really getting screwed up in the judicial system. Now you can get more time in lockup for shooting a video in a theater than for shooting a person with a gun. Seems the entertainment industry with their high priced legal teams can buy their own brand of justice. I can see fines and community service for breaking the law when illegally recording movies. If it is such a large threat to society, have the movie theater staff check for camcorders, even the small ones capable of recording an entire movie aren't that easily hidden. Sort of like getting on a plane. My thoughts are that the entertainment industry has bought too much influence using our dollars. It has started to grossly affect our judicial system. When was a movie more important than a person's life. Unless a reasonable judge handles the case, the young man may have lost an important part of his.

34.8.2005 21:57

17 years? Wow, that is pretty steep. Funny, not in a ha ha way, that you can murder someone and face lesser penalties. Messed up world. Well my new matra these days to the Entertainment industry is, "Give me recourse. Give me my money back if I truely don't like it and I will call it 'even-steven." But alas, never happen. Sure some theaters may give you money back, or tickets to another show. Maybe you can get in-store credit at best from a retailer...but it still falls short..Would some people take advantage of this? Sure, but how would that differ from now? oh well, why rant? Why complain? The machine has been in motion for a long time and nothing said or doen here will change it.

44.8.2005 22:20

I really don't see the point of cam movies. The quality is bound to be less than that of a DVD. So I say, either see it in the cinema or wait till it comes out on DVD.

54.8.2005 23:41

just wat i was thinkin, weasel....would u really wanna fatch a film in crap quality audio&video, with the cam movin around all time and people coughing etc.....

65.8.2005 0:43

Exactly. How can the enjoyment be as much as a DVD version. Why do people get so desperate to put a new film out on the internet. There are thousands of movies available on DVD. Im sure most people haven't seen nearly every film available.

75.8.2005 1:02

I think it boils down to someone just trying to buck the system Weazel. But the penalty of 17 years? I guess we know who owns the politicians, and its not the people who vote for them.

85.8.2005 2:33

Come on, guys... You all know that dead presidents are worth more than any living and breathing human... (sarcasm)

95.8.2005 3:25

Up too 17 years for two not so good movies man that must suck and is pretty stupid as murderers get less, oh yeah love the name "Operation Site Down" how original. At the end of the day it's his on fault and he should face up to it but up to 17 years is a disgraces and shows how the movie biz is in bed with the US government.

105.8.2005 4:49

Ahh...! The wonders of capitalism, greed & corruption. What the hell is wrong with the world today? Seems that you can buy laws, judges, politicians & senators. Similar situation in the UK. If these guys put as much energy into helping others rather than helping themselves, the world would be a nicer place. Pulsar

Gif by Phantom69

115.8.2005 6:15

I guess your better of killing the CEO's of the MPAA & RIAA. At least you would get less time.

125.8.2005 10:29

Its hard to believe that recording 2 crappy movies will get u 17 years. The producers should get more just for putting out those P O Ses

135.8.2005 19:02

It costs some serious $$$ to house someone in prison...I really wonder if the taxpayers are being well served by locking up some poor sod for 17 years for making poor quality bootlegs. You would think that he would have had to murder someone or rob several banks, no? I have given up trying to see any logic here.Just mention Warez and watch them foam at the mouth (and brain) !!!

145.8.2005 19:25

17 years for a camcorder!? what kinda bull$#!+ is this? i know a guy who got 6 years for killing the man who slept with his wife.

155.8.2005 20:33

Steal a $1 item frome a store and the law jumps on you hard. Rip off millions from consumers and you are a tycoon and revered by the system. Government and the law exist purely for the benifit of the corporations and those in a privaleged position. Just read the US Constitution thoroughly. Written specifically to retain the status quo.

166.8.2005 15:12

I know Curtis personally. I actually have known him for a very long time. And so I have a very different perspective on this case. I think that 17-21 years is crazy (there is a st louis newspaper saying 21 years... Its so sad that people are actually getting away with killing people but copying a movie gets you that long. Lucky though that 17 years is the max punishment he can get. Hopefully he will be let off with just the fines!!! One thing I find sad is that these "entertainment leaders" are so concerned over this, BUT they are all still millionaires. No one is hurting for money and to be honest... There are still tons of people who just buy it or who do not know how to access the ability to actually even down load them. I think that the people who are truly behind this are much to caught up on the money of things and not focusing on the fact that they are going to ruin a young mas life. I think a good punishment for ANYONE caught would be 4 years of college and have them use their computer skills for some good in life. Thanks for all the supportive comments.... ITS MUCH APRECATIED!!!

176.8.2005 23:45

Yeah, I also heard he could get up to 21...that's sick. Hollywood's sociofacists line the pockets of defense attorneys to get Manson-types off, and get people watching their product without their consent in prison. As long as no money was transferred, it violates nothing in the laws of common sense. Wanting money for fake movies is like being charged with wanting to shoplift. I hate lawyers. Especially trial lawyers and defense attorneys.

187.8.2005 8:12

I have to tell you all again. Thanks so much for all of your support and comments. I'm completely sick with worry over this and hearing that peole at least support that this punishment would be insane is so good to hear. I know that in the end our opinions wont make a difference but it does give me hope that he will get a decent judge. THANKS SO MUCH!!! The world is a better place because of people who consider others.... thanks a million

197.8.2005 20:03

thats so screwed up, u can kill sum1 but u can cam a movie and get more jail time, for a movie that most people wouldnt watch until theres a better release. bullshit!

208.8.2005 0:01

The guy should have just brought a gun and shot his way to the projection room and stolen the movie. He would have gotten off easier... People really have to be stupid to think this isn't seriously messed up.

218.8.2005 5:24

Honestly, the whole damn world is so caught up on money now days. Money drives the government, the mpaa, the RIAA, businesses, hollywood, and many people. it's sad what they would do to someone if they were scared to lose 10 bucks out of their filthy pockets. they are ruining this kid's entire life over a little camcorder. If the U.S Justice Department doesn't think that 17 years of prison and the ruining of precious life is insane for this offense, then something is seriously wrong with them. i understand how you may feel bee21 and i know it sucks but all you can do is hope for the best. im just waiting for when the U.S. can incriminate you on what used to be freedom of speech because somehow its losing them money. it makes me sick.

228.8.2005 7:06

ive been seing warnings in movies on how video taping a movie is illegal for YEARS NOW, finally they caught one person, BRAVO, either the person filming was really stupid or the government and the theater security is EXTREMLY bad.

238.8.2005 19:28

Solargame, that's a very stupid comment. First of all, Mr. Salisbury was tracked via the internet, not by theatre security. (I don't even think theatres have security---why would they need them?) Second-copying films is legal-once you have purchased the film and will not redistribute the copy. The argument is-we know you can let a friend borrow a movie legally. They can also borrow a copy. But if you allow them to keep a copy, it's illegal? That's the stupidity in the issue. Whether or not Mr. Salisbury knew the people he shared copies of movies with or not is stupid. Either you can let people borrow media or not. Either way, the producers got their pockets lined when he paid to enter the theatre, so chasing people for this is sick greed. No way he'll get 21 years. The filmmakers don't want that. You know what they want? Not a criminal suit, but a civil suit. They just want the money. A criminal suit will only help them win more in a civil suit. They don't care what his sentence is, as long as he gets convicted. Then they have a civil suit practically in the bag. We should all give our congressmen and senators a call, and tell them no laws were broken as long as no money changed hands. Tell them this is ridiculous. If enough of us do that, we'll at least make a dent in this sociofacist enterprise.

248.8.2005 22:22

AWWWWW!!! Thanks lazygig!!!! You rock!!!

259.8.2005 21:27

The love of money is the root to all evil. Mess with they love and you'll see just how much love they have for it. These people care more for their profits than for their families! Believe it! Leaving a generation of children to fend for themselves without much parental guidance, because mom & dad is chasing the corporate dollar; that's much worse than copying a movie with a camcorder. Where's their penalty? Watch the news! We get penalized more and more daily by these kids and it's not their fault! Hope you guys get jest of my comments.

2610.8.2005 2:13

Okay, which do you get in bigger trouble for - bringing a camcorder into a theater, or DUI? If you get caught DUI three times you may lose your license permanently. Not really a big deal even so - just ride the bus, catch a ride with a friend or keep a low profile while you drive. Now, get caught in the theater with a camcorder and you go to prison for 17-21 years. Hmmmm... Does anything seem out of place here? DUI is a serious risk to your own life and everyone else on the road's life. Copyright infringement is a somewhat stretched risk of around $10-$15 of the movie industry's sales per download (it's never even been proven that downloads lead to a loss of sales, so even that is very unlikely). So, now, people's lives must be worth much less than $15 since DUI gets a much lower penalty than copyright infringement. That seems consistant with the law to me. I should go buy me a couple of slaves with the quarter I found on the ground the other day; the law would obviously be on my side. Justice at its finest!

2710.8.2005 19:40

A friend of mine gave me a pirated copy of Team America, and because of that copy, I bought it the day it came out on DVD. I was annoyed by a preview when you insert the disk comparing theft to pirated movies. No, I would never buy a pirated movie, but viewing one is not technically illegal, nor should it be, but some judges uphold this crap. I also don't see where a right to privacy makes it illegal for states to regulate abortion, yet they can scan computers for pirated movies...that seems to violate more privacy than someone's right to murder an innocent life...but that's another argument. Anyways, because of piracy, I bought Team America, a film I probably would not have seen otherwise. Piracy seems to work well for the industry anyways. If you see a crappy quality film, and it seems good, you'd wanna see the better version. It's like a preview for the film; the sociofacists in Hollywood should love it. Copyright laws are that much more "imporatant" to radical lawyers/judges, because they're international, and don't just apply to what you do in the US. With the recent globalization crap that the senate's been getting us into, (e.g. NAFTA, CAFTA) the US is trying to hold up its end of the bargain involving laws we never should have put into effect. Globalization, of course, is being done by the senators who have stock in businesses that outsource, or can work elsewhere without tariffs. Obviously, the trickle-down system applys with greed as well.

2811.8.2005 5:45

Hmmm? 17 years You'd get less time and more movies of better quality if you just rob the movie theatre. I agree with the majority here. Government is protecting big business while not worrying if "5 points" people kill each other. Personal life does not matter. Only the the life of the almighty dollar matters. Sick world we live in.

2911.8.2005 5:49

lazygig, Theatres do have a lot of security. Oftentimes when major releases come out they have off duty cops sleep in the theatre. Oops

3011.8.2005 6:21

Even the threat of the maximum term of 17 or 21 years is outrageous. Here in the UK rapists and murderers would typically get 5-10 years with early release for good behaviour. The jail terms are totally out of perspective with the crimes that have been commited. Who is the bigger threat to society? The film pirate or a psychopath? For any movie moguls who might read this, I often download ripped off music or films from the net, but if the content is any good you can be sure I will want to buy a genuine copy. This chap Curtis Salisbury ought to be sending the film producers a bill for promotional work! He has promoted two films to a sector of society that very often spends more time in front of a pc than a TV!

3111.8.2005 11:17

lazygig, copyright laws don't apply to all countries. This is why ThePiratesBay has been able to tell hollywood to shove it. Only the countries who want to belong to the 'New World Order' are compling with these laws. I don't think Jamacia for example has to abide by out copyrights. I think I remember a lot of pirated movies when I was there. (crappy VCD ones...) Most laws come down to whatever the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) says is illegal. This is why corporations are so powerful in America; most of the time they can retain all of the personal rights of the people without too much consequense.

3212.8.2005 6:12

I would just like to say that there is no justice for the the little people it only protects the big company's POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!

3312.8.2005 20:20

I was just thinking, since this is a federal "offense", Salisbury could recieve a presidential pardon. Now, this may be jumping the gun, but if anything major does happen to this kid, it may be smart to even write the president and ask for a pardon. Everything helps. Even if he doesn't pardon him upon conviction, he may let him sweat out jailtime for a while before pardoning, if he chooses to. After all, Clinton pardoned Radical Islamofascists who were tied to 9/11. President Bush hasn't been quite as pardon-happy, but many presidents get that way once they become lame ducks. Assuming Salisbury is convicted and gets 7 years, he'd have served maybe two as President Bush is on his way out. therefore, it would be good for his legacy to pardon a kid abused by big business. But let's pray he gets off with fines or community service. He deserves to get nothing. What pisses em off is that our tax money pays for his prosecution. This will be one of the maybe five times I'm on the defense's side... As for theatre security, I didn't know they took things so seriously. If someone sits in the front row with a camcorder in his lap, you'd have to send a cop around checking everyone's crotch with a flashlight to tell. I live in Concord, NH, and even though it's the capitol, it isn't too big a town. Maybe in big cities they have lots of security. I don't go to the theatre too much anyways, I don't like it, even though I love film. I only go if it's a director/actor I like.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Aug 2005 @ 20:23

3412.8.2005 20:58

In STL, where Curtis lives. (Again I know him.... so this is very close to home) we have NO security at the movie theaters. I mean I am sure we have people around to make sure no one steals but theres no one checking for anything. IT WAS RECENTLY made in to a law that camcording a movei is illeagal and a federal offense. BEFORE it was COPYING the movie and making money that was. YOu have to read the laws VERY carefully. So I agree Lazgig..... Movie theaters dont have security and thats CRAZY to think they could stop this. THanks again for the support. ITs much appreciated!!

3513.8.2005 11:47

Currently here in Canada it is not illegal to download,but illegal to sell matterial that you do not own copy write to. There is a bill before Parliment currently mirroring USA law. I would require the suppliers of hard drives, dvd players,software, computer systems and also the movie producers be also charged as accessors to this crime because with out these products down loading is not possible. One of the companies making a vast amount of money from down loading movies is Sony, from the sale of these by products whch they sell. This was one of the reasons they lost their battle to prvent people coping movies to vhs. This would be an excellent defense. Image calling on Sony as a defence witness and asking them how much revenue they recieved from the sale of DVD-R and DVD+r's. Another defence would be that you did not copy movie image directly but only as part of interior movie of the theater. Best of luck

3613.8.2005 14:26

i got a question, what is the point of having dvd burners other than to back up files?, they probably knew this was gonna happen.

3713.8.2005 19:08

My half-brewed defense idea was the fact that the FCC regulates which signals are public domain and which are not, so therefore, if light being emitted from the projector and the audio from the speakers isn't on regulated FCC bands, then it's public domain. I don't need anyone's permission to reproduce the radio signals so I can listen to the radio, that's copy protected work. Do I need a license to watch your tv when you leave your window open? Do you copy protect the light from your headlights? If I film a statue or a billboard in my home movie am I breaking the law? (half baked, I said.) Also, when the images are feed back through the camcorder, do they really resemble the original work? I mean, digitally, bit for bit, does the movie's original format (HQ DVD? at the theater or whatever) really match up with Salisbury's XviD (or whatever) encoded one? I bet you dollars to donuts it doesn't. You can run that file through ANY piece of software to try and interpret it. You might run that movie in XviD through some other program and produce something completely different. It could be source code for your boys new DJ mix program. Probable, just unlikely; but who's to say what medium the file must pass through. The file sitting on a drive somewhere isn't the movie. It has to be operated apon by a specific series of 'ordered' operations before it can become the movie. I think that is grounds for dismissal. The procecution was tampering with the evidence... heheh Well, what do I know anyway? My defense for downloading any copyrighted material (accidentally, of course) has always been that you don't know what it is really untill you download it. I'm sure all those files labeled "jessica alba's hot sex tape.avi' can't all be her tape... If it turns out to be a copyrighted work I always delete it right away... ;) Anyway, I don't think he got caught at the theater, he probably got caught uploading to his crappy '31337 warez' dump serv. Really though, you guys should leave the pirating stuff to the REAL pros - the mob.

3813.8.2005 19:20

They actually are trying to make it illegeal for people to have DVD burners and CD burners. The fight is that Sony and all the other manugacturers are saying that they didnt make it for the purpose its being used for and that they are not responsible for what we do with it. BUT it does bring up the question.... why have them if we cant use them?? Im willing to bet that napster wil start to offer movies too.....

3913.8.2005 19:56

I do think that 17 years would be a rediculous penalty for copying a movie. I doubt he will get that much. The real shame is that he could have avoided the whole thing by simply not being an idiot. I'm all for being able to back up movies and music that you buy, but what he did is not fair use and not done to back up a legally obtained product. Maybe if he did get 17 years, the next moron would think twice before doing it. Movie companies are in business to make money just like all other businesses. I know many people on here think they get what they deserve when people steal from them, but that of course is stupid. We all do things to make money. We work jobs. I know I wouldn't like it much if people decided to take 10 cents out of my paycheck before I got it. If one person did it, I might not even notice, but if a thousand people did it, it would make a serious dent in my check, it several thousand did it, I wouldn't be able to pay my rent or buy food. The principle is no different than stealing a movie. Studios have a right to be paid for their product just like we have a right to make a living. If you think they make too much money, don't go to movies, don't by DVDs, but don't steel them either.

4013.8.2005 20:03

The big fear is that they are going to use him as an example.... after all he is the first one to be charged under this new law.... BUT I also think that 17 years is nuts... the punishment should fit the crime and i dont think it does

4113.8.2005 21:51

It's fairly obvious than an example is needed. I hope he doesn't get 17 years, but at some point, if that's what it takes before people will pay attention, then maybe that's what it will take.

4219.8.2005 7:24

Come on man,the damn movie studios weren't going to lose out on any money for that guy doing what he did.... everyone knows a cam copy is the worste type of movie, not even worth the d/l. I gaurantee a million ppl didn't d/l those movies.

4324.8.2005 17:17

Bee-send Curtis copies of these forums. Seriously, this could look good if it gets too hot in court. Anything we can do helps-this at least shows the support he has.

4424.8.2005 17:29

Ive been letting them know about the site!!!!

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive