Court Orders Pirate to Use Windows

Scott McCausland, aka "sk0t", the first person to be jailed for Bittorrent use and a former member of Elitetorrents, has been told he may no longer use his computer with an Ubuntu Linux operating system. McCausland pleaded guilty last year to 'conspiracy to commit copyright infringement' and 'criminal copyright infringement' by downloading Star Wars: Episode III illegally. After serving five months in prison, he was put on probation with the requirement that he must have monitoring software on his computer, as per his plea bargain. One small problem, however: the software doesn't run on Linux.

On his blog, McCausland writes, "the [monitoring] software doesn't support GNU/Linux. So [my probation officer] told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on. Which basically means Microsoft and monitoring software or no computer. I use Ubuntu 7.04 now, and they are trying to force me to switch."

View: Full Story on vnunet.com
View: Scott's Lost and Alone Blog

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

PS3 Sales Rise, Still in Last Place

Next Story

Japan Building New Internet

89 Comments

View more comments

Well the think that shocked me was the "5 months in jail" for downloading SWEP:III .....

If i went into HMV and stole it, and got caught, hell if i was running away and they had to chase me, and i hit one of them to get away, i wouldnt have gotten 5 months in jail. Thats just B$, and a reason why piracy should continue, so that stuff like this does not become "reasonable punishment". If piracy stops because of over the top action like this then thats a blow to liberty right there. Hell people have commited far worse crimes and done less time..

1) He downloaded SWEP:III when it wasn't even released. Hence the huge issue the film company had.

2) As far as stopping piracy and that being a blow to liberty you obviously must be a liberal to think like that. Piracy is stealing no matter if there is no monetary loss. Piracy is wrong. No question.

I don't think this as an unfair part of the punishment for him at all, and from those terms it sounds like whining---although its a fair argument from open source people that the justice system shouldn't be tied into the products of one company.

Couldn't he just run Windows in a virtual environment, like VirtualBox, for when he does stuff on the net and still use Ubuntu for everything else?

guardian_uk said,
I may be wrong here, but wont the monitoring software be useless if he continues to use linux in a virtual machine?

Yes. Or if he dual-boots. Or buys a second PC. What is he, under house arrest or something? If not, there's nothing they can do.

toadeater said,

Yes. Or if he dual-boots. Or buys a second PC. What is he, under house arrest or something? If not, there's nothing they can do.

thats the whole point, you can get around the court order by running linux in vmware

whocares78 said,

thats the whole point, you can get around the court order by running linux in vmware


Sure he can do all that but then again, that could be a violation of his probation and therefore even longer jail time.

The point here is this. If he does anything other that what is in his probation agreement, his probation will be revoked and he will serve the rest of his time in prison. If his probation is say 3 years, that is how much longer he will be in prison.
Is 3 more years in prison worth it to use Linux? I think not.

5 months prison for downloading a movie? Wouldn't thousands of people have downloaded the movie...?

Did he just download it, or did he run the Elitetorrents website and upload the movie?

AfroTrance said,
5 months prison for downloading a movie? Wouldn't thousands of people have downloaded the movie...?

Did he just download it, or did he run the Elitetorrents website and upload the movie?

Well as my boss says the reason why anyone in jail is there all boils down to the fact they "got caught". I'm quite sure theres thousands of people that could get pinned for the same thing if they were the unlucky sods the industry pounced on.

Starwars Ep iii cost like 1 dollar here at the 99 cent store in one of those paper sleeves. Why would anyone in their right mind download movies? I could understand maybe if he was planning to edit the avi file for something like youtube poop, I do that all the time with hotel mario, cdi zelda and Dr. Rabbit, but come on??? Starwars???

Ravensworth said,
Movies in paper sleeves for a dollar? Is this 99 cent store on a street corner in China by any chance?

Right here in Rosemead California. It looks like china, what with all the foreign characters on the buildings, not a sign of english... but really yes, they're probably bootlegs.

http://news.com.com/Linux+felon+forced+to+..._3-6204348.html

He didn't just download a movie. He uploaded it to enable thousands or even millions of other people to download it from him and was an Administrator of EliteTorrents.

The title of this article on Neowin is misleading. I don't think anyone has ever gone to jail for just downloading something for their own personal use unless it was military secrets or kiddie porn.

The only people who have ever been criminal charged and gone to jail regarding intellectual property violations are those that illegally sell counterfeit CD/DVDs or those that distribute/upload large amounts of unlicensed software, movies, or music on the Internet, or distribute/upload a single unreleased movie.

he should just move to another country that places uploading a movie behind, let's say, rape as a grave offense.
Man, US has their priority mess up completely, it's pathetic

yeah. the title is entirely misleading. It's all B.S. spin. He wasn't ordered to use windows he was ordered to have monitering software on his computer. it's basically assumed that he uses windows. linux is an EXTREMELY small minority as far as a desktop OS and mac isn't that popular either. Next making software for linux is entirely dependant on the system. I can have 100 computers with linux on it and not one of them are compatible with each other, even if everything is compiled for x86. He just needs to deal with using windows and Bezhou Feng needs to stop injecting his own opinion in an article with an extremely spinned, misleading headline.

seta-san said,
I can have 100 computers with linux on it and not one of them are compatible with each other, even if everything is compiled for x86.

And I could give you a statically linked binary that would run on pretty much all those computers.

ichi said,

And I could give you a statically linked binary that would run on pretty much all those computers.

whocares??

the big question is could you give him the monitoring software they are after??

He wasn't ordered to use windows he was ordered to have monitering software on his computer. it's basically assumed that he uses windows. linux is an EXTREMELY small minority as far as a desktop OS and mac isn't that popular either.

read this:
I use Ubuntu 7.04 now

For the benefit of the hard of understanding, this means he uses Linux, not Windows.
The monitoring software currently only runs on Windows, therefore he has to have Windows in order to run it. This means he has to get a licence or Microsoft will do him for piracy (in an ironic twist), so he has to pay for an OS whose sole purpose is to run one program for a limited amount of time. Name another crime where you are fined and that fine goes to a corporation instead of the courts.
I can have 100 computers with linux on it and not one of them are compatible with each other, even if everything is compiled for x86

********. Ever heard of Firefox? Apache? Most any project on Sourceforge? Perhaps you're using them right now.

He got caught, so has to suffer a punishment, fair enough. If he isn't allowed to use WINE to run the monitoring software then that makes for a nasty ruling: that a corporation can profit from the temporary restrictions imposed upon a convicted person by receipt of payment from that person. Will he get a refund of the Windows licence when his probation is over? Doubtful.

Commenting is disabled on this article.