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Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies To Inmates 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Richard Humphrey was sentenced to 29 months in prison for selling pirated copies of movies through the subscription-based USAWAREZ.com. He was later sent to the Lorain County prison in February for a parole violation and while he was a prisoner, he says guards showed inmates Ride Along and The Wolf of Wall Street before they were released on DVD. A spokesperson for Lorain County Correctional Institution Warden Kimberly Clipper said prison officials are aware that pirated movies are being shown to prisoners and the issue is being investigated. But she said she couldn't comment further because the investigation is ongoing."
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Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies To Inmates

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  • Re:Perfect! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blue Stone (582566) on Monday May 19, 2014 @01:04PM (#47039377) Homepage Journal

    Can you imagine if you were in jail on copyright infringement charges and the prison you were in was showing pirated movies?

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday May 19, 2014 @01:07PM (#47039409) Homepage Journal

    Well if the prison guards are actually showing pirated movies, it isn't piracy for profit, but it isn't exactly piracy for personal use either.

    Given that the prisons in Ohio are privatized, yes anything provided to the inmates would be legally and practically "for profit". Still not sure why they would bother offering them anything but super old DVDs and VHS movies that have been scrapped at the local library, but one thing that comes to mind is a guard curtailed a favor from an inmate in exchange for something recent to watch. It will be interesting to see if the investigation turns anything up.

  • Re:Difference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Monday May 19, 2014 @01:14PM (#47039459) Homepage

    Don't try to sell them and you're mostly in the clear.

    Generally, you are right — the particular prisoner's case is different. However — content-owners have tried to make "non-profit" infringers (people making copyrighted material available for free to others) into examples by suing them for large sums of money (though no jail-time).

    And second, the prison officials aren't just watching the material themselves — they are showing it to a large number of people (entire prison population). This is something, which you can not legally do even with a DVD you purchased in a store — they are only licensed for private viewing.

    They should be busted and, ideally, someone ought to end up in the cell next to the protagonist — even if for a shorter sentence.

  • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Monday May 19, 2014 @01:21PM (#47039517)

    I've wondered why we don't allow prisoners to play some kind of FPS (or ideally MMO) type games in prisons, and let them sort out their turf wars and aggression using that.

    -- quite a few MMO players live very similar to convicts, in that they stay isolated in their cell for 20 hours a day.
    -- shanking someone in a game would be far better than in real life.

    Putting people in a confined space with no outlet and nothing to do for 20 hours a day -- and those who didn't already have violent or criminal tendencies will have them in short order. And the recreation they do find will not be something we want them to be doing.

  • by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness@yaho o . c om> on Monday May 19, 2014 @02:52PM (#47040269) Homepage Journal

    It is possible that the Ohio prison in question got itself listed as a budget theater and was able to get legal copies of those movies between the main theatrical release and the DVD release.

    I find that highly unlikely, but it is possible.

    Don't have to get listed; just have to give enough money to the distribution companies. If you have your own copy then you can also get a discount - e.g they charge extra to send you a copy to use that you then have to return. How much you pay depends on how well you can haggle the price; can easily be $350 (with DVD) or $700 PER film. Funny thing is, if you try to reach out and cannot get any traction then you've also done your "due diligence" and can just go ahead and show it - been there with Disney licensed Anime films. (We had a budget, wanted to pay them, but couldn't get anyone to stand up and take the money.)

    So even if they did do a cam rip (probably bit torrent copy from somewhere), they very well may have had a license to show it.

    And, at least in the Anime world, many of the distribution companies will even let you do it for free (e.g Pioneer, RightStuf) if you show all the ads they have on the DVDs and have asked them for permission to do so.

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