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08/05/2005 01:34 PM ID: 49492 Permalink   

Teen Faces 17 Years For Taping Movie


A 19-year-old Missouri teen has become the first in the United States to be charged with the new federal offense of videotaping a movie with a camcorder; he now faces up to 17 years in jail.

The strict new laws, designed to combat movie piracy, went into effect in April of this year and made it a felony to video tape movies and then distribute them.

The lawsuit alleges that Curtis Salisbury of St. Charles, secretly taped “The Perfect Man” and “Bewitched” and then distributed copies of them on the internet via P2P file sharing networks.

    WebReporter: ZCT Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
This is another chapter in the wonderful story of big business dictating to the government what laws need to be passed to make the country a better place (for them).

Here we have a misguided teen who decided to tape a couple of movies with a camcorder and put them online. He is now facing a stiffer sentence than he would if he had beaten up an old lady and then set fire to the movie theater and razed it to the ground.

How has society come to this point where big business tells the government what to do and the government obeys? It’s like the tail is now wagging the dog.

This should never have been made a law in the first place. A tiny camcorder movie from the internet that looks horrible and has nasty low quality mono sound is not going to place the DVD sales industry or the box office at risk. But even if it was genuinely hurting profits that still does not justify 17 years in jail. There are people who committed rape and murder who get less than that.

It’s time the government stopped cowing down the big business, or before long shoplifters will be getting their hands cut off and people that TiVo TV shows and then fast forward through the commercials will be thrown in jail.
  by: ZCT     08/05/2005 01:46 PM     
  17 years in jail??  
So the crime of video taping a film onto a camcorder and then distributing it on a P2P service now ranks alongside serious assault, rape and drug trafficking? What next - capital punishment for not eating at MacDonalds? What an insane justice system.
  by: Flashby     08/05/2005 01:54 PM     
wait until they start arresting old ladies for taping the young and the restless while they're having thier afternoon nap... it is 'piracy' after all
  by: bugmenot   08/05/2005 02:11 PM     
  dumb laws 4 dumb ppl  
  by: Illuminator   08/05/2005 02:15 PM     
Hopefully the judges will realise what absolute bullshit these lawsuits are and give the kid community service.
  by: koultunami     08/05/2005 02:16 PM     
  Amen Flashby...  
This is just insane from all points of view:

1) punishment is too great in relation to the crime
2) it only protects the interest of the industry
3) it is at the taxpayer's expense since (if found guilty) all the 17 years this kid is going to spend in jail will be paid by taxpayers
4) must likely, after 17 years of imprisonment, this kid will rejoin society and actually do real harm (for which he will likely receive a much lighter punishment)
  by: exanime   08/05/2005 02:29 PM     
  I for one am going to boycott the movie theaters.  
If enough people send this message, movie profits will plummet and they would back off the attack. You need to hit them where it really hurts. Money is all corporate America understands.

I’m just waiting for congress to pass Patriot Act II so they can impose the death penalty for j-walking. The neo-cons led by President Turdburger have turned this country into a completely unrealistic police state. I have seen people convicted of second degree murder get less than 17 years. The punishment does not fit the crime. I’m surprised they didn’t accuse him of terrorism and line him up against a wall for summary execution.
  by: Valkyrie123     08/05/2005 02:44 PM     
After seeing this, I am going halt my spening on DVD's and theatres.. its torrents and usenet from now on..
  by: tenarc   08/05/2005 03:01 PM     
  @Flashby, Valkyrie123 & tenarc  
I agree whole heartedly with you guys, it is utterly ridiculous what this kid is charged with. Torrents for me too...I haven't been to a movie theater since...I can't even remember the movie it has been that long. The reason being I don't want them to use that money to sue my friends.

It is sad but money talks. What really baffles my mind is how harsh the punishment is, the kid probably paid more taxes in a year than the industry did. The people who need tax breaks don't get them (the kid), but the people or companies who are very profitable get huge tax breaks (the industry).

It is a sad day for all man kind that a young person goes to jail longer than a rapist, murder, pedophile, or drug dealer.
  by: GZadmin   08/05/2005 03:44 PM     
  A few days ago  
I posted how crimes were punished on economic rather than social grounds.

Movies make a lot of money, and pay a lot of taxes, hence the severe crime for screwing with it

Old ladies dont, so bludgeoning them to death, who cares?

Sick and wrong, but thats the way it is, you vote for these idiots.
  by: Domo1 Mkii   08/05/2005 03:47 PM     
  F*ing Yanks (n/t)  
Had to upgrade "yanks" since you really can't respect such a place.
  by: Beryl   08/05/2005 04:13 PM     
It says he faces up to 17 years, which i agree is ridiculous, but how many counts is he charged with? 17 years i doubt is the mandatory minimum sentence for one count of of this law.

People who commit assault and murder that get less than 17 years are 'facing' 25+ years usually, but plea bargains and such make it so they rarely get the full amount.

I'm not defending this law, but this is just the beginning of the beginning for this particular gentleman. It is highly unlikely he will just be handed 17 years.

  by: Smiles   08/05/2005 04:38 PM     
This is a federal off3ence, and he will get those 17 years, or close too, at least 15
  by: Domo1 Mkii   08/05/2005 04:39 PM     
k...this is bullshit then...
  by: Smiles   08/05/2005 05:06 PM     
  Even if he doesn't get the full 17 years  
I still believe it is ridiculous that he faces that punishment...

IMHO nobody should recieve any jail time for an offense like this. He should get community service and/or a fine.

Think about it Martha Stewart served less than a year and some house arrest (which she violated at almost no consecuence) for commiting a multi-million dollar fraud... This kid may have caused a lost of a few thousands (at the very most) to the industry for his piracy act.

Jails should be mostly for the kind of criminals that could physically (or maybe mentally) cause harm to others or themselves. Probably it should also hold (on a different block) big crook, people who have stolen millions, con artist and such.
  by: exanime   08/05/2005 05:23 PM     
  Compared to 60 days  
...from that white guy who drove drunk and killed that black boy in Queens, NY.

Our justice system needs a rewiring.
  by: BeyondtheTech     08/05/2005 05:28 PM     
  Why not the death penalty?  
After all, it's a movie.
  by: walter3ca   08/05/2005 07:59 PM     
  Utterly ridiculous, and other echoed statements  
Really, all I have to say has been said. This is stupid. Punishment should have been expected, but suits industry lobbyists and not the crime. For this, I say let the movie industry rot, they seem to be only able to produce trash these days anyway. What the guy was doing recording movies like these is beyond me, save that he thought that they'd be the ones other idiots would be most likely to pay for. I already boycott movie theaters, so that's not an option. I don't remember the last time I went to a full-price theater just to see a movie, I always go for a SPECIFIC movie. Cramming into those black boxes with overpriced food and a barrage of product ads is not worth my money these days. Read "A Year at the Movies" by Kevin Murphy of MST3K fame for more on that.
  by: MomentOfClarity     08/05/2005 08:00 PM     
"The neo-cons led by President Turdburger have turned this country into a completely unrealistic police state".

While you are giving credit, give credit where its due. This BS is a result of BILL CLINTONS administration, ever hear of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act? Guess what, Bush didnt pass this abortion. This little piece of trash law is what has empowered the RIAA and MPAA to become the law unto themselves.
This is one thing we can thank Billery Clinton for, it used to be the Republicans who pushed protection for big business but with this POS it has both parties in the pocket of the suits.

BTW I would say this kid is really guilty of no taste and no judgement.
  by: FTFFTW   08/05/2005 08:50 PM     
  In the old days...  
..they would have confiscated his camcorder and told his dad about it.

Oh well. Knowing how the US justice system works under the New Administration (tm), I'm surprised he didn't get the death sentence.

You, the US public, had the power to do something about this administration not so long ago, but you chose to let Bush and his croonies stay in power. And now you have guys doing hard time for camcord piracy and schools giving up on Darwin in favor of christian special interest groups.

You made your bed. Nighty night.
  by: mberg     08/05/2005 09:15 PM     
On yahoo, it says he was trying to sell the stuff to warez sites, so that's probably why they went after him. =(
  by: bugmenot   08/05/2005 09:52 PM     
  He's just a good ol' boy  
Wow, this kinda makes me feel bad for being from Missouri. I definitely agree with the hundreds of people who have said this punishment far outweighs the crime, but just a thought, how often is a person actually sentenced for the maximum in crimes that are the subject of public scrutiny. My hope is that he'll get a reduced sentence through a plea (regardless, any jail time seems ridiculous).

Kudos to FTFFTW for pointing out that it was a Democrat who gave god-like powers to the RIAA and MPAA. Don't confuse our current genius President who merely strips our rights away with the previous prez.

  by: pezhore     08/05/2005 10:40 PM     
  Might as well start mugging people  
or get into embezelling. The jail time isn't nearly as harsh.
  by: jaded fox     08/06/2005 12:53 AM     
  his fault  
If he was caught, then he should do the time. If someone breaks a law then its there fault for breaking it. People say hollywood is greedy, but its the people who want everything for free who are the greedy ones. And wanting movies through filesharing is that kind of greed.
  by: hunt3r   08/06/2005 01:55 AM     
He'll probbaly learn how to (properly) do things like that while in lock-up. Then whn he gets out, he can be a proper criminal, and quite likely get lighter sentences..
  by: StarShadow     08/06/2005 01:59 AM     
but is file sharing a worse crime than say rape or murder? Is it worse than selling crack? People get out in less time for those crimes.
  by: jaded fox     08/06/2005 02:21 AM     
  Welcome to the United States of Injustice  
A place where you deserve the same fate as a rapist and a murderer, just for recording a movie. What a joke.
  by: fredfredrickson   08/06/2005 02:32 AM     
So, only one side can be greedy? This story shows us yet again why a dichotomous world view is simple-minded foolishness. The kid was greedy, the entertainment industry was greedy, and the policiticans whose pockets they lined were certainly greedy. Welcome to the human race - here's a knife, and remember to aim for the back if you want yours.
  by: momentofclarity     08/06/2005 04:28 AM     
When I read posts like yours it makes me just shake my head and wonder where the intelligent thought is in this world. Anyway, I’ll respond to your misguided comments.

“If he was caught, then he should do the time.”

- So some kid is caught videoing a movie he should do 17 year in a federal prison? Are you actually thinking about a point of view or are you just spouting some mindless crap? Surely any normal person with a modicum of intelligence would see that 17 years is a ridiculously harsh sentence for taping a movie. What’s next? 5 years for taping a song off the radio, or 3 years for burning a copy of a CD to listen to in the car?

“If someone breaks a law then its there fault for breaking it.”

- Well while that statement would be correct, if you ignore the obvious grammatical error, does that really mean that anyone caught breaking the law should be punished in an incredibly strict and heavy handed way? If I get pulled over for speeding should I be dragged from the car beaten and thrown in jail for ten years? Of course not. There are few people that go their entire lives without ever violating a law in any way shape or form. The way in which you have a productive and sensible society is by using common sense. You don’t put some teen in jail for 17 years for taping a movie when the same teen would face a tenth of that sentence for stealing a $100,000 car.

“People say hollywood is greedy, but its the people who want everything for free who are the greedy ones.”

- This teen did not want anything for free. In fact he paid to see two movies and then spent his time and effort converting them and posting them online. Sure, what he did was foolish, but was it greedy? Of course not, he had nothing to gain from his actions. He was not using his piracy to make illegal DVDs and distribute them for profit. He was not selling his poor copy of a movie. What he did was stupid, but should not send him to jail at all. We all do something foolish in our lives, if we locked up everyone that made a mistake there would not be enough taxpayers free in our society to fund the jail system.

“And wanting movies through filesharing is that kind of greed.”

- Not really. People may want to see a movie without the hassle of getting in the car, driving to the theatre sitting in a room that stinks of popcorn and spilled soda, watching a third rate movie sitting in a dirty chair paying outrageous sums for candy or a drink. Most people that are so into movies they download them online will probably purchase the good ones on DVD thus making the industry money, not costing them. So I don’t see the connection between downloading a movie and greed. Now if movies were like computer software and it was possible to download a movie that was a perfect copy of the DVD with all the extras, and these people did this and never bought a movie then I would accept that this is a problem.

However, like music ‘piracy’ this is not a problem at all. The industry is out of touch and don’t understand the benefits of file sharing. I download plenty of music, but when it comes down to it I will purchase plenty of music over the course of the year. I’ve just bought several DVD music videos, and some DVD-audios for my car. Just because I download the occasional song first before buying does not make me a thief, nor a greedy person. If studios concentrated on provided a high quality product for their customers and embraced all new technology they would be far better off and make far more money.
  by: ZCT     08/06/2005 07:00 AM     
I remember seeing "Hitchhiker's Guide" last spring. I really enjoy that film. Now if I videotaped it at the theatre then placed it on a P2P network, someone would download my cheesy looking video (probably someone from some podunk town w/o a theatre-nearest one perhaps would be 30-60 miles away)and they would say, "That is a good movie. I can't wait for the DVD to come out in September with it's deleted scenes and commentary." So this downloader in this podunk town reserves his copy from Columbia House, and the filmmakers are guaranteed their money in one form or another. The kid doesn't deserve jailtime, he deserves commission.

Now pirating DVDs is another matter...
  by: escalus84   08/06/2005 03:07 PM     
  lets remember...HE WON'T GET 17  
The most he'll get is probably 30 days in the lowest security facility in America. Probably a year or two ban from movie theatres. Couple hundred hours of community service. And to top it off...a fine.

That would be more than fair for what he did.

I don't understand the complaints about movie theatres. They're a great place to beat the heat on a hot summer night. The reason the prices are so high is because we keep supporting the SAME actors/actresses so of course that inflates their prices, which up the consumers'. Then again, where I live it's only about 6 dollars to view a movie, and it's very clean. Can't beat that.

A lot of things are simple though...

Eat before you attend a movie. Have a full meal. That makes sense...right? You won't feel hungry for those 3 dollar candies or 4 dollar popcorn. My friends work at theatres and they get a spiff if people buy large they won't tell you that.

Go to movies you KNOW are going to be good. Some people who complain are the ones who go to the crappiest movies. I bet if you go to a good one, you'll feel like everything was perfect.

And finally...

WAIT UNTIL IT'S ON DVD!!!! I can rent a new dvd movie for 2.50. I can buy a new dvd for about 15 dollars. Get it on blockbuster online for free....They come out a few months after in theaters now (used to take a good year, remember?) If you don't care about movie theatre quality, or you have a super HD TV and such...then just wait...

I don't see why everyone complains about movies nowadays.
  by: hotrock11     08/06/2005 03:27 PM     
1. This is being prosecuted as a FEDERAL crime, he will most definately not get 30 days, he'll be lucky if he 'only' gets 10 years.

2. Quite a lot of people download movies to screen them, that is, to see if they like them, if they do like the movie they will either go out and see it, or they will buy the DVD. A lot of reasonable people think this is a great compromise. People don't waste money on a bad movie, and the movie companies still make piles of money on the good ones. Also, as someone else has said, since the movie companies( like the record companies) won't embrace technology and provide the movies for download, other people step in to fill the gap. As another article here on SN pointed out, the RIAA/MPAA profit MORE on average from downloaders, not less.
  by: StarShadow     08/06/2005 04:00 PM     
  F*ck them  
Yes, we should pay to see movies in theaters. Yes, it is technically stealing. Yes, it is against the law.

I realize he will most likely get nowhere near 17 years (i hope), but just the fact that it is a possibility is ludicrous.

The only movies I paid to see in recent memory were Batman and Sin City, but hearing something like this makes me want to boycott theaters outright. I don't think the theaters themselves should suffer, but who had their head up their ass when they thought this was a good idea?

Punishment should equal the crime, no matter the crime. He stole an intangible object, technically he stole light and sound waves, so he committed a federal crime?

Note to self: go light babies on fire, at least I wont get 17 years.
  by: jp22382   08/06/2005 09:45 PM     
  big business has always run this country  
and supported their own intrist. It dosn't matter what rich white guy you vote for, he is going to scew your ears off every chance he gets. Anyone living here that doesn't see that has fell prey to "The Mans" distractions. When was the last time a poor guy was elected?
  by: BornInKy   08/07/2005 03:34 AM     
Does he have to watch those two movies non-stop for 17 years??
  by: venom8   08/07/2005 04:41 AM     
  need to set some of you straight  
he was tried and convicted of a "felony" ... regardless of how stupid a felony it is.. he will get federal time. and he will do all his federal time, which you and i (taxpayers) will foot the bill for. in the meantime- he sits in jail for 17 years- learning more criminal shit than he knew before he went in--

another thing .. for everyone who called bush a "neo-con" .. and the jackass who called my president turdburger.... the democrat you likely put into office last time around (billery clinton) was the fellow responsible for the DMCA (read: digital millenium copyright act). you should learn some basic skills, such as fact checking, before you make "factual" statements.

God Bless Bush, the NRA, and your mother.
  by: elijah4twenty     08/08/2005 09:34 PM     
  @Hotrock, elijah4twenty  
Hotrock: You don't see why people are so opposed to movie theaters, so allow me to elaborate. Moviegoing today is a shallow, corporatized shell of what it once was. First of all, movies used to be affordable, and the ticket prices now are absurd. Complaining about concessions is secondary, because those have always been expensive (and any sane person knows to just smuggle in snacks). The price to see a movie has made it far, far less appealing, for the same reason that buying CDs has become less appealing. Then, when you get into the theater, you get a bland setting. Old theaters used to have some character - go to some old, crumbling art film house and you'll se the difference from the drab black-boxes we're given to sit in now, stadium seating or no. You may or may not find those crumbling art houses to be cleaner, too. Then the movie starts...or rather, it starts after they show you about 15 minutes or so of previews. Now, when I shell out that $14, that's time that I bought to see a film. I didn't buy it to see the latest offerings from Pepsi, Nike, McDonalds, and Army recruitment, and yet, I have to sit through these things. Finally, the film itself. As a movie lover, I do only go and see the movies that I really want to see or need to see. Some "big" movies (Burton films, sfx features, etc) need to be seen on a big screen. The problem is, though, that while it's all well and good to choose wisely, one just cannot go out and see a movie anymore, because it's like walking through a minefield. You go hoping to see something you won't regret wasting money on, dodging the total bombs (star vehicles, sfx gluttony, cliched romance, and recyled plotlines). There are times when you may want to see movie, and despite the googleplexes with 20+ offerings, there can be absolutely NOTHING worthwhile. There have always been bad movies, but these days the whole pantry has gone stale. All this combines to make going to a theater for a movie simply no more attractive than downloading one at home. The magic is gone.

elijah4twenty: Bush is a neocon, learn the meaning of the word before going on the defensive and berating others. Or, are you going to try to tell me he's *snicker* a real conservative?
  by: momentofclarity     08/09/2005 07:56 PM     
  Most of you are over-reacting.  
The kid faces up to seventeen years in prison for taping the movie. Up to. My guess is that is the maximum punishment allowed by law for such an offense. Did he get the full seventeen years? No. Has he even been sentenced? No. Of course the article is going to say he faces seventeen years. Not only does is sensationalize the story, but it also clues you in to the maximum penalty under law. Two birds with one stone. Those of you who are crying in outrage need to calm down and wait to see what really happens. My guess is he gets probation and a fine. Much like all the music pirates that have been caught. Not to mention he could be the leader of some huge warez-ring (highly unlikely) in which case the seventeen year punishment could be called justifable.

I do agree that this sucks...I enjoy downloading stuff for free, but let's get a grip on ourselves before we comment.

ZCT, I agree with your view on business controlling government, but this is a capitalistic society. And on the other side you have government controlling business...sounds kinda scary to me. A happy medium would be nice, but things aren't so bad are they? I mean does this really effect you in anyway?
  by: gnaglor     08/10/2005 01:02 AM     
  Now that I've read the comments...  
Jesus Christ, you people need to calm the hell down. ZCT, hotrock, and hunt3r are about the only people with level heads here. I don't fully agree with ZCT, but he's kept his wits. I do agree with hotrock and hunt3r. The rest of you, wow. Use your brain before you use anything else. Like a bunch of school girls in here. This kid will not face the maximum penalty unless he turns out to be warez lord 3000. Wait and see what happens, then react. Don't over-react based on what might happen and the way most of you think probably won't.

I also enjoy how people have turned this into more Bush bashing. Because Bush is the only person who lets laws through. Senators and Represenatives have nothing to do with the process at all. Nor judges if they find something unconstitutional.

Moment...what did Kevin Smith ever have to do with MST3K? I thought I was a big fan, but never heard of the two associated with each other.
  by: gnaglor     08/10/2005 01:08 AM     
“ZCT, I agree with your view on business controlling government, but this is a capitalistic society.”

- Well sure, but just how far do you let a society go down a particular path? Most extreme political ideals can be harmful if they go too far. In a truly capitalist society it would be okay to buy votes, bribe politicians and law enforcement officials etc. So I guess the question is how much capitalism is too much?

“And on the other side you have government controlling business...sounds kinda scary to me. A happy medium would be nice, but things aren't so bad are they?”

- Well in my view government needs to regulate business but not control it. Clearly there have to be some checks and balances in place, and all I am arguing for here is a happy medium. I’m not saying that things are bad, but for me a red flag goes up when I hear of a teen facing this kind of jail term for such a minor crime. America already jails more of its population than almost any other country in the world, there could be a more constructive way to deal with problems of society.

If we take the extreme example of this case and assume the kid gets 17 years in jail, we (the taxpayer) would have squandered several thousand dollars in taking the case to court, followed by several hundred thousand dollars incarcerating someone that has done nothing but offend some large multibillion dollar industry.

In this particular case it might be acceptable for the government to award some kind of self-financing community service, but to squander this kind of money to punish an individual on behalf of a company or industry just seems like wasting taxpayer’s money to protect big business. It’s about as asinine as the big cash handout the government just gave to the oil industry.

“I mean does this really effect you in anyway?”

- Well sure in those terms it does not. But then it would not affect me personally if the government decided to round up all Muslims and shoot them for being potential terrorists. Does this mean I would agree with such a policy or support it? No.

As I’ve already said this case highlights the problem of big business trampling on peoples rights and corrupt politicians being in league with them in return for a fat financial contribution (bribe). It’s something that should be openly discussed and considered by intelligent members of society. Thankfully we have this delightful forum to do just that ;)
  by: ZCT     08/10/2005 04:54 AM     
"Moment...what did Kevin Smith ever have to do with MST3K? I thought I was a big fan, but never heard of the two associated with each other."

I've never heard of the two associated with each other, either. I said to read the book about movie-going by Kevin MURPHY, the voice of Tom Servo and one of the main writers/contributors to that show.

As for overreacting, if what people like Domo says is true, it's likely he'll get the full sentence. That claim has gone unchallenged, and this is why people are reacting as such - quite justifiably, in my opinion. This topic seems to have pretty rational commentary all around, and for those who are a bit more outspoken, well, this is a pretty outrageous story. That is, unless you're someone like hunt3r who thinks that this guy should spend half his young life in prison for a non-violent, rather minor offense.
  by: MomentOfClarity     08/12/2005 12:16 AM     
  crazy law  
i thought the concept of prison was to remove dangerous people from society, this guy didn't hurt anyone... The punishment should fit the crime, its a financial crime so the penalty should be a fine.
The violence/rape/etc that this guy will face in prison for videotaping a movie spits in the face of my idea of justice.
  by: lachs     08/12/2005 06:42 AM     
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