23 year old Grant Stanley has been sentenced to five months in prison, followed by five months of home detention, and a $3000 fine for the work he put in the private BitTorrent tracker Elitetorrents.
I’m not in favor of this outcome, but now that a standard is set I hope we’ll keep this in mind the next time a corporation is convicted of copyright infringement because we’ll have to decide what international body should use unreasonable pressure to compel that country to adopt law which makes copyright a criminal offense (instead of a civil matter as it used to be in the US), determine how much of a fine should be paid (3 million francs is hardly a slap on the wrist for Microsoft, but $3,000 can be significant for an individual real person), and who should be chosen to go to prison and then suffer some kind of detention. Of course, we have to pick someone because corporations have no body to incarcerate and no soul to save, as the saying goes.
Somehow, I think it will be forgotten or ignored like the press conveniently did for that Microsoft copyright infringement story was in 2001.
Or perhaps we’ll institute a different copyright regime that respects what people apparently want to do and distinguishes between commercial infringement and non-commercial verbatim copying and distribution. Some countries actually let people copy and share; if I recall correctly, this one was one sore spot about Canadian copyright law American broadcasters didn’t like.