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UA Student Convicted for Downloading Music & Movies

Posted by geeknews at 9:48 PM on March 7, 2005

Parvin Dhaliwal,18, a student at the University of Arizona (UA), is the first person in country to be convicted of a crime under state law for downloading music and movies. Dhaliwal pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit marks, or unauthorized copies of intellectual property, and was sentenced to a three-month deferred jail sentence, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,400 fine. Dhaliwal must also take a copyright class at UA and stop using file-sharing applications. What makes this conviction notable is that copyright protection is normally a federal matter.


He was prosecuted under state laws by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for prosecution, primarily because he was a minor at the time that he committed the crime. A Federal conviction would have resulted in a significant incarceration, and would have not allowed the judge such latitude in sentencing.

During the investigation the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered more than $50 million worth of music and movies on Dhaliwal’s computer. Many of the movies were available only in theaters, at the time. The files weren’t solely for personal use, Dhaliwal both duplicated and sold the pirated digital media.

Dave’s Comments
From a digital rights perspective, I’m glad that this thief has been stopped; digital poachers, like Dhaliwal, are a parasite on the back of digital media development and distribution. However, offering a minor sentence and requiring service and education are a reasonable response to a teenager’s misdeed.

It will be interesting to see the spin that the Recording Industry Association of America puts on this case.

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

References
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Recording Industry Association of America

4 Comments

  1. From Tom Simpson at 10:50 pm on March 7, 2005

    I agree with you, Dave, but the story at Business Week says that the FBI found more than $50 Million in music and movies on his computer. The math on this just doesn’t add up… Maybe 3 or 4 350Gb hard drives to hold it all? Try it, yourself. I couldn’t make it work.

  2. From cypherpunk at 12:56 pm on March 8, 2005

    It would take more than 3 or 4 350 GB drives. Assuming he had 1000 movies and 1,000,000 songs, the retail value would only be $1.030,000 or $30/movie and $.99/song. Disk space wise, that would be 2 TB for the movies and 5 TB for the songs, assuming a movie to be 2 GB and a song to be 5 MB. So how the heck did he get 350 TB in his dorm room. Or did (gasp) the FBI lie? This kid should have gotten an attorney who can do simple math. Business Week obviously can’t either. Ridiculous!.

  3. From murphyslaw at 4:32 pm on March 8, 2005

    1) the value of the films not yet on the retail market is much higher than a retail value of a film after release to DVD.

    2) It will be interesting to see the spin that the Recording Industry Association of America puts on this case.

    You can already see the spin, it is right there in the headling with the term “downloading” I am not gfiving ethical or legal advice here, but this case has nothing whatsoever to do with downloading. the guy was uploading and charging fees.

    How many of th individuals sued bythe RIAA were soley “downlloading” ? Answer: none

    Dont get me wrong I am opposed to cipyright violation and even more so by people who rationalize their theft from “greedy” large corporations.

    But civil or criminal actions against downloading, as both lay and professionals use the term, is not practical, even for show cases.

  4. From Tom Simpson at 7:08 pm on March 8, 2005

    Here’s a new story at Slate that explains how the value of the stolen property is actually figured.