Convicted software pirate, ‘Jakub F,’ has been given one of the weirdest punishments ever seen in a copyright infringement case…
In order to avoid a more severe punishment, and because he was unable pay damages, the presiding judge in the case ordered him to make an anti-piracy video…that he had to star in.
For want of a better phrase, the ‘Public Service’ video had to gain 200,000 views on YouTube or Jakub F would be liable for a substantial fine, that he was financially unable to pay. The alternative, presumably was jail.
The convicted pirate, known only a Jakub F also has the dubious honor of being the Czech Republic’s only convicted software pirate.
Jakub F was found guilty of sharing multiple illegal copies of Windows and various other copyrighted software via file hosting websites and forums over an 8 year period.
Several heavyweight companies were listed as having grievances in the case against Jakub F, including HBO, 20th Century Fox, and Microsoft. The companies, represented by the Czech Republic’s own Business Software Alliance (BSA), claimed that Jakub F had caused them financial damages of over $370,000.
However, as the BSA could only estimate the losses they had incurred as a result of Jakub F’s wrongdoings, the court was reluctant to agree or accept an exact figure for damages.
Whatever his financial liabilities, and because Jakub F seemed to have profited little, the BSA “reached an out-of-court settlement with rights holders that allowed him to pay a smaller fine and make up the rest by creating a video that raises awareness of software piracy.”
The catch? The video had to clock in over 200,000 in views in 2 months in order for Jakub F to not receive any further punishment, and only pay a substantially reduced fine.
Jakub F was assisted in his endeavour by a professional film crew, and despite the fact that the video is shot entirely in the Czech language, its tone and message are abundantly clear. The video was uploaded onto YouTube on the 22nd November.
The video, starring Jakub F himself, is apparently, a faithful reproduction of his pirating life from beginning to arrest. The video is called ‘The Story of my Piracy.’
The good people over at Torrentfreak though have however translated part of Jakub F’s appeal into English.
“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….“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.”
At the time of writing, Jakub F had managed to reach over 320,000 views, rising from just over 220,000 views in just a few hours. This is most likely dues to the fact that several tech websites and news organizations today began to run Jakub F’s story.
Jakub F’s video can be viewed here.
Jakub F’s AntiPiracy video, now has over 900,000 views as of 30/11/2015, 15:25 GMT