Man jailed almost three years for movie piracy

A British man has been jailed for almost three years after illegally recording a movie in a cinema and then distributing it online. 25-year-old Philip Danks was actually the first person in the world to record and seed Fast & Furious 6 for download via torrent sites - a fact that he was particularly proud of, boasting to his friends on Facebook: "Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures."

Danks sat at the back of a cinema in Walsall, United Kingdom, on May 17th, 2013 - the day of the movie's release in the UK - and recorded the movie covertly, before returning home to upload a copy to the web, tagging it with his online handle 'Thecod3r'. 

At his trial, the court was told that Universal Pictures, the studio behind the film, had established a special team to identify online piracy around what it considered to be an important and valuable movie release. As Sky News reports, the investigators later discovered that his handle matched that of a profile on dating website Plenty of Fish, which belonged to Danks, and which ultimately allowed them to join the dots that led to his arrest on May 23rd. 

He pleaded guilty to three charges of distributing pirate copies of films, and was sentenced to 33 months in prison. The court's Sentencing Recorder, Keith Raynor, said: "This was bold, arrogant and cocksure offending. Your approach to the film industry was made clear in the posting you made on Facebook two days after your arrest. I accept the personal profit was modest but the real seriousness of this case is the loss caused to the film industry as a whole."

Danks sold copies of the film for £1.50 GBP (around $2.50 USD / €1.90 EUR) each, making around £1,000 ($1,650 / €1,250) in total. But the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) argued that Universal Studios had lost far more, claiming that the 779,000 copies that had been downloaded resulted in an "estimated loss to the industry... conservatively estimated at £2.3m" ($3.8m / €2.9m).

Fast & Furious 6 was one of the top-three most pirated movies of last year, with an estimated 7.9m copies downloaded - just behind Django Unchained and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in second and first places respectively. 

Source: Sky News  

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Lol, if you search "Thecod3r" on namechk.com that would tell if his handle are used or not. I'm not saying all site which has "Thecod3r" is him, and I'm not defending him.

Off topic, nice service i didn't know about! It feels nice to know that from the 157 results of my username only 2 are actually me!

MPAA/RIAA : If you all can't afford entertainment, you all don't deserve entertainment. Show us the money and we will show you a good time.

LUTZIFER said,
Was probably the copy I watched on xbmc, lol!!

I sure hope you don't have a PlentyofFish account or we'll have a new article within days!

And yet the film made $789 million at the box office The highest for the franchise & is the 46th highest grossing film of all time.

One less mansion & yacht for the big name actors & industry money men I guess. So yea, I defiantly see why this guy should have gone to jail.

Lamp0 said,
And yet the film made $789 million at the box office The highest for the franchise & is the 46th highest grossing film of all time.

One less mansion & yacht for the big name actors & industry money men I guess. So yea, I defiantly see why this guy should have gone to jail.

He broke several UK criminal laws by recording it, distributing it for profit, and making it available by electronic means to others. Thats why he went to jail. Those things are criminal. Otherwise it'd be a civil case and he'd be facing a fine, but not jail time. I believe the US pushed internationally for this in 2007 or before, as thats when Canada made it a criminal offence and made reference to 'joining' the rest. http://www.marketwired.com/pre...stop-film-piracy-655463.htm

zal said,
He broke several UK criminal laws by recording it, distributing it for profit, and making it available by electronic means to others. Thats why he went to jail. Those things are criminal. Otherwise it'd be a civil case and he'd be facing a fine, but not jail time. I believe the US pushed internationally for this in 2007 or before, as thats when Canada made it a criminal offence and made reference to 'joining' the rest. http://www.marketwired.com/pre...stop-film-piracy-655463.htm

I don't really know what you're point is here. I mean obviously he broke the law, hence why he went to jail. That doesn't mean it makes any sense.

I've seen quite a few cam quality stuff that was really good, but for the most part, they're trash. heads in front, noise, ever wanted to hear someone eating popcorn? then cams are your thing lol

naap51stang said,
uploading a cam quality torrent? Wouldn't the image & sound really be horrible?

Cams are generally terrible, the video can be surprisingly good but the audio is almost always shockingly bad.

the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) argued that Universal Studios had lost far more, claiming that the 779,000 copies that had been downloaded resulted in an "estimated loss to the industry... conservatively estimated at £2.3m" ($3.8m / €2.9m).
Still a mystery how they "estimate" how many losses these illegal downloads amount to, much less what logic is used to equate a torrent download with a profit loss.

Andre S. said,
Still a mystery how they "estimate" how many losses these illegal downloads amount to, much less what logic is used to equate a torrent download with a profit loss.

Based on what I am seeing (though it's probably more complicated then this obviously) They are likely taking the cost of the DVD/BluRay/Movie Ticket average (say $20) and calculating the loss based on some sort of percentage they feel would buy the movie if they couldn't pirate it.

Taking the $20 average, comes out to about 15.6M, so they are estimating about 25% based on those numbers, which doesn't necessarily seem unreasonable though it's likely quite a bit high, but since they can write it off as a loss they would want to lean towards the high side of things.

Corey C said,

Based on what I am seeing (though it's probably more complicated then this obviously) They are likely taking the cost of the DVD/BluRay/Movie Ticket average (say $20) and calculating the loss based on some sort of percentage they feel would buy the movie if they couldn't pirate it.

Taking the $20 average, comes out to about 15.6M, so they are estimating about 25% based on those numbers, which doesn't necessarily seem unreasonable though it's likely quite a bit high, but since they can write it off as a loss they would want to lean towards the high side of things.

I was actually quite surprised by how low the number was, which works out just under £3 a person. It's still probably way off, many who pirate wouldn't have paid to see it. I suppose they have probably learned a lesson from Apple though, English judges aren't completely stupid and wouldn't be too impressed if they tried to claim something like £10 a download (essentially cinema ticket price.)

Granted this was not a civil case but still, best not rocking the boat.

I'm against piracy and I hope people like me who cannot afford to buy costly softwares and watch movies can hold the desire to watch them.

Sorry, how many people went to jail for the banking scandal that almost wrecked the world's economy? How many people have gone to jail over the NSA spying scandal? How many police have gone to jail for assaulting protesters and stepping on people's rights? Etc etc etc.

Just wondering.

GumbyDammit said,
Sorry, how many people went to jail for the banking scandal that almost wrecked the world's economy? How many people have gone to jail over the NSA spying scandal? How many police have gone to jail for assaulting protesters and stepping on people's rights? Etc etc etc.

Just wondering.

Perhaps he should have used that as a defence, I'll be sure to use it when I get pulled over for speeding.

"I may have been speeding but there are murderers out there that you should be going after first!"

I don't imagine that will go down too well.

Not that I'm not also annoyed about those people getting away with it but other people have gotten away with more serious crimes isn't a defence.

boo_star said,

Perhaps he should have used that as a defence, I'll be sure to use it when I get pulled over for speeding.

"I may have been speeding but there are murderers out there that you should be going after first!"

I don't imagine that will go down too well.

Not that I'm not also annoyed about those people getting away with it but other people have gotten away with more serious crimes isn't a defence.


It's not a defense for him in court, but he didn't suggest it was. It's just food for thought.

we the taxpayers are paying for this guy's 'crime' remember that. should this guy really go to jail? or should we take a different approach

suprNOVA said,
we the taxpayers are paying for this guy's 'crime' remember that. should this guy really go to jail? or should we take a different approach

Remember, no matter what the punishment, the tax payer will be footing the bill, but agreed, a more fitting punishment should be required.

Those prison conversations will be interesting.....

Big Bubba: What are you in for?
Thecod3r: I downloaded illegal movies.
Thecod3r: You?
Big Bubba: I had sex with a guy.
Thecod3r: Oh. Urm. Well being gay isn't a crime dude?
Big Bubba: I strangled him first.
Thecod3r: Umm

Google "Thecod3r" and you find his Plenty of Fish profile with his real name.
Type his name in to Facebook and find everything he posts is set to public
You will also find his home address posted in his photos there too...

timster said,
putting movie pirates in jail? hahaha ... congrats UK, you sure know how to waste tax payers money

Many countries have laws making copyright infringement a criminal offence under certain conditions, the UK is far from unique in "putting movie pirates in jail."

The guy probably wouldn't have got jail time if he hadn't gloated over it on Facebook. Judges don't tend to be too sympathetic to people who do stuff like that.

Depicus said,
Then that is revenge not punishment, something a judge should never be involved in.

Not really. It shows disrespect and pride in the crime you committed, which deems you more likely to commit said crime again. Go in to court with that attitude and expect a harsher punishment. This is the whole nature of sentencing.

MikeChipshop said,

Not really. It shows disrespect and pride in the crime you committed, which deems you more likely to commit said crime again. Go in to court with that attitude and expect a harsher punishment. This is the whole nature of sentencing.

Well it wasn't in court it was on his Facebook page two days after arrest, and he pleased guilty which should have got him a reduction. He would have been better off smashing a glass in somebodies face or maybe making a few million in insider trading.

Depicus said,

Well it wasn't in court it was on his Facebook page two days after arrest, and he pleased guilty which should have got him a reduction. He would have been better off smashing a glass in somebodies face or maybe making a few million in insider trading.

What i'm saying is whether show this attitude before or during your hearing, you should be judged on it.

So, let me get this straight..

I find someones nickname on PoF which has a public profile in the UK, then upload a film that could possibly still be in theatres using his pseudonym to a public torrent site, and they'll be arrested and thrown under the UK legal bus by Universal Studio Investigators?

In this case the guy came clean and said he made 1000 pound committing copyright infringement which landed him in jail, as thats criminal. But really I hope that a bit more background work is done as someone could easily be framed, especially if you are able to recover their social media account. I wonder what the punishment would have been should have he just recorded it and uploaded it. Its been shown time and time again that downloads do not equal sales, selling copies however do.

zal said,
So, let me get this straight..

I find someones nickname on PoF which has a public profile in the UK, then upload a film that could possibly still be in theatres using his pseudonym to a public torrent site, and they'll be arrested and thrown under the UK legal bus by Universal Studio Investigators?

In this case the guy came clean and said he made 1000 pound committing copyright infringement which landed him in jail, as thats criminal. But really I hope that a bit more background work is done as someone could easily be framed, especially if you are able to recover their social media account. I wonder what the punishment would have been should have he just recorded it and uploaded it. Its been shown time and time again that downloads do not equal sales, selling copies however do.

If you honestly think that's all the work that went in to it, then you're really simplifying the British justice system. There are whole teams dedicated to investigating and determining if it's even worth following up in the first place. Once deemed worthy, truck loads of evidence has to be gathered before it even finds its way to a court and a judge.

The sooner all pieces of sh*t like him are locked up, along with paedos and rapists the better. No wonder prices are through the roof for stuff. He must have been desperate to have a profile on PlentyOfFish, the most scammy and fake dating site ever!

Probably a benefit scrounger too, should have his benefits stopped for life. Every time something is stolen, digital or not, honest law abiding people like me end up paying for it. Like car insurance.

Tidosho said,
The sooner all pieces of sh*t like him are locked up, along with paedos and rapists the better. No wonder prices are through the roof for stuff.

If you think pirates are the reason price are high you are either naive or young (under 30). Price are high cause investors want more and more money. If you remove piracy price wont go down. Public companies will make more money and price of shares will go up.

The price of a item is not detremined by pirates. It is determined by what people are willing to pay for it to maximize profits. If increasing the price of movies to 100$ would not reduce the numbers of sales they would increase the price to 100$ in an heartbeat you can be sure of that.

^^ Very true, you are describing a price/demand curve. The higher the price, the lower demand, but the more you make per unit. The goal of a company is always to find the price point where they make the most total profit. Sometimes lowering a price will result in enough increased demand to increase profit. Sometimes increasing a price will lead to increased profit if the demand does not substantially change.

Movie box offices sales an highly elastic. As more and more people have nice home setups, people are more willing to wait for BluRay if the ticket price is too high.

LaP said,

If you think pirates are the reason price are high you are either naive or young (under 30). The price of a item is not detremined by pirates.

I was talking about the theft of physical goods, like those from a supermarket, not digital goods, theft does drive the price up in some way. That certainly applies to car insurance, with crash for cash scams on the rise in this country (UK). Uninsured ###### really make me mad, especially as at the age of 29 it is still too expensive for me to insure my first car having just passed my test three months ago. I'm having to pay my dad and girlfriend to be a named driver on their policies, and it annoys me I can't be independent because of inhuman uncaring scum.

Thieves, pirates and lazy sods need to get off their arses and earn a living, the economy would be better off

I think the economy being crap contributes to a lot more things than just people not wanting to work. Anyhow..

Theft can definitely drive prices up for anything, but I think your idea of how much it drives up prices, is WAY off base. If you think everything is expensive just because people are stealing...you're wrong. In fact, people have been stealing for a long time, and prices on things have never been this high. I would tend to believe it has more to do with the fact that, here in the U.S. anyway, we have an entitlement system, we have a currency made out of thin air, and we are so far in debt, that anyone who thinks we will ever come close to paying any of it off, is very delusional. It was set up this way, people, and we didn't stop it. Now we pay.

No, prices are through the roof and have always been because of the studios. They need to embrace the times and get with streaming movies. Ticket prices are pretty ridiculous too. While $16-20 isn't a fortune, it does limit on how often you want to see a movie in theaters particularly since it's just for a single viewing.

kjordan2001 said,
No, prices are through the roof and have always been because of the studios. They need to embrace the times and get with streaming movies. Ticket prices are pretty ridiculous too. While $16-20 isn't a fortune, it does limit on how often you want to see a movie in theaters particularly since it's just for a single viewing.

Personally i don't mind ticket price and dvd price. It's the renting price of old movies that is ridiculous. Let's say i think Hellion looks like a nice movie. But i'm not sure about it and don't want to pay 10-20$ to find out it's crap. I decide to wait for it to air on TV. Problem is it's a little movie and it probably wont air on TV ever. Super Écran might have it or not depending on if the studio asks too much for it considering the lack of popularity of the title. Netflix wont have it for whatever reasons and anyway can't pay for Netflix and Super Écran at the same time since both are similar services. Then my only option is to pay 5$ to rent it online and then just to find out 15 minutes after the start it really was not worth 5$.

I'm dreaming of a service having all old movies where i can pay for the movies I actually fully watch and if i decide after 30 minutes the movie aint worth my time then i don't pay anything. There's far too much inter and indie movies out there to pay 5$ everytime i want to watch one of them specially since half of them are not worth it. Curently in Canada there no service with a monthly fee having all the inter, indie and small movies for a reasonable price.

Tidosho said,
The sooner all pieces of sh*t like him are locked up, along with paedos and rapists the better. No wonder prices are through the roof for stuff. He must have been desperate to have a profile on PlentyOfFish, the most scammy and fake dating site ever!

Probably a benefit scrounger too, should have his benefits stopped for life. Every time something is stolen, digital or not, honest law abiding people like me end up paying for it. Like car insurance.

right, because when napster went legal all the music albums in the shops dropped in price....oh wait, no they didn't

when iTunes, google play, amazon digial, Spotify hit the internet, music albums in the shops dropped in price...oh wait, no they didn't

it's the same with movies.....frozen on 3d bluray was £25.99 on amazon!

Tidosho said,
The sooner all pieces of sh*t like him are locked up, along with paedos and rapists the better. No wonder prices are through the roof for stuff. He must have been desperate to have a profile on PlentyOfFish, the most scammy and fake dating site ever!

Probably a benefit scrounger too, should have his benefits stopped for life. Every time something is stolen, digital or not, honest law abiding people like me end up paying for it. Like car insurance.


???

Prices have gone DOWN for a lot of movies and music on physical media because they are now competing with streaming sites, digital downloads, and piracy.

taking into account the costs of blank dvds, cases, covers, time taken to burn each discs, the guys needs a medal if he managed to earn £1,000

actually, nah, send him to prison......cam quality is terrible!

p.s. they do realize not everyone who buys a pirate dvd would go out and buy the legit copy

to be honest, these days I have little patience for pirates. It's not like the late 90s anymore. Netflix, Now TV, Amazon instant, Amazon rentals, movies having worldwide releases, and coming out on dvd a few months later! come on people

glen8 said,

p.s. they do realize not everyone who buys a pirate dvd would go out and buy the legit copy

Let's be honest people who accept the crappy quality of a cam release do it cause they don't care enough or don't have the money and in both case would not pay the full price.

Some people in organizations like MPAA and RIAA think everyone has 5000$ to spend every month on entertainment. Not really surprising since those organizations represent millionaires for the most part. They are not living in the same world as us mere mortals.

LaP said,

Let's be honest people who accept the crappy quality of a cam release do it cause they don't care enough or don't have the money and in both case would not pay the full price.

Some people in organizations like MPAA and RIAA think everyone has 5000$ to spend every month on entertainment. Not really surprising since those organizations represent millionaires for the most part. They are not living in the same world as us mere mortals.

I am not sure if you are trying to make a point that piracy is okay because prices are too high, but if you are, I have no respect for people like you. There are more than enough legal ways to watch movies without paying full box office prices.

sphbecker said,

I am not sure if you are trying to make a point that piracy is okay because prices are too high, but if you are, I have no respect for people like you. There are more than enough legal ways to watch movies without paying full box office prices.

No. I'm just saying you can't say the industry lost 2 millions cause 2 millions has been pirated. In a lot of case the people don't have the money to pay. Some people pirate between 5 and 10 movies a month. Lot of them don't have the required 100$ - 200$ to spend on just movies every month.

I don't think piracy is okay. I don't have any pirated content at home. But i'm also lucky to have a very good salary.

I'm just sick of those **** from MPAA and RIAA complaining about piracy but not doing anything to give a better service to people who actually pay. I'm still waiting for a website or TV channel where i can pay x every month and get access to all old movies (doesn't matter if they are 3 years old).

I'm a SE subscriber. I pay 100$ a month for cable. Still lot of movies are missing from the service like MI: Ghost Protocol cause some studios are run by greedy ****.

The movie industry is so ****** ** and run by people who don't have a clue that i wont shed any tear for them. I think the price of theater tickets and dvd are okay. Not too high. When i absolutely want to watch a movie in theater price is not a problem. Same for dvd even if the fbi warning are really bothering me. I think right now the problem is while the price is right when you absolutely want to watch a movie the price is too high if you want to go outside the box. It's really hard to find a way to watch int and indie movies for a fair price. There'S too many of them to pay 20$ a piece and no service right now in canada offer all of them even when they are old.

Edited by LaP, Aug 22 2014, 3:46pm :

sphbecker said,

I am not sure if you are trying to make a point that piracy is okay because prices are too high, but if you are, I have no respect for people like you. There are more than enough legal ways to watch movies without paying full box office prices.

Maybe if you live in a first world country but what about the rest of the planet ?

the likes of Netflix and amazon are not really available here in NZ so how would you suggest I go about gaining a legit copy
Netflix, Now TV, Amazon instant, Amazon rentals, movies not available legally in all places it takes a proxy for netflix (goes against their TnC's) no Now TV here either as for amazon well they wont rent/ sell movies to us either so either it's pay $15 to go watch it once or wait for the $40 DVD or $60 BR and you wonder why we download a movie via a torrent (not that I waste my time with cams anyways)

Depicus said,

Maybe if you live in a first world country but what about the rest of the planet ?

Are you suggesting that the people of this planet have some sort of inalienable right to free movies? For most of human history not having enough money for something meant you either did without it, or you went the criminal route and stole it, in which case you took the risk of being caught and suffering the consequences.

LaP said,

Some people in organizations like MPAA and RIAA think everyone has 5000$ to spend every month on entertainment. Not really surprising since those organizations represent millionaires for the most part. They are not living in the same world as us mere mortals.

I am sorry, but if you can't afford entertainment, you don't deserve entertainment. /s

LaP said,

Let's be honest people who accept the crappy quality of a cam release do it cause they don't care enough or don't have the money and in both case would not pay the full price.

That's like saying it's OK to steal things as long as you can't afford them in the first place.

Nik L said,
And "fair" comes into it why?

Cause justice is supposed to be fair? I've seen ped getting less ...

Max Norris said,
Serve less time for beating the everliving crap out of someone. Seems fair. /s

Nik L said,
And "fair" comes into it why?

The "/s" denotes sarcasm!

Max Norris said,
Serve less time for beating the everliving crap out of someone. Seems fair. /s

Welcome to the corporate world we live in...

When you look at the mischief caused by each offence, it's hardly surprising is it?

Piracy can cause job losses, harm profit margins of large corporations etc.

Beat someone up and yes, it's bad for the victim, but there is usually only one victim.

Piracy affects a great many people, not just a single person.

Geezy said,
Rape an 8 day old child and go free, but tape a movie and ruh roh... http://www.katv.com/story/1883...pe-charges-dropped-by-judge

Apples and oranges.

We're not talking about a convicted child rapist going free vs a pirate getting 33 months. The trial was dropped because the court no longer had jurisdiction on the case. And that was ultimately because there were numerous screw ups in it.

So trial dropped because of major errors and the time being taken vs a cut and dry case of piracy being tried in court and the defendant being convicted.

Do you honestly think that if the individual had been tried and convicted he would have been let off without a jail sentence?

3 years seems about right for this case to me, especially considering the lack of remorse.

What people should be wondering is why all those people you mention serving less time are, that's the issue, not the sentencing in this case.

that's the thing... those people want credit for something like that as if they kept their mouth shut they probably would have gotten away with it. but instead he boasted about it and got the shaft.

when he sold them for $$$ is when he really crossed the line in my book.

but those 'estimated loses' are probably exaggerated as the way i look at it, a movie that popular will still have more than enough people going to see it in the theaters regardless of it's pirated early or shortly after it's release. so even if they lost some money i figure no one will feel sorry for them as they still made a ton of $$$. so someone might have lost a fancy car or so, i don't think no one would feel sorry for them.