Teen Convicted Under Internet Piracy Law
An Arizona university student is believed to be the first person in the country to be convicted of a crime under state laws for illegally downloading music and movies from the Internet, prosecutors and activists say.
University of Arizona student Parvin Dhaliwal pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit marks, or unauthorized copies of intellectual property.
[...] “Generally copyright is exclusively a federal matter,” said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology civil liberties group. “Up until this point, you just haven’t seen states involved at all.”
[...] Although Dhaliwal wasn’t charged until he was 18, he was 17 when he committed the crime. Prosecutors charged him as an adult but kept it in state court to allow for a deferred sentence. Garza also said Dhaliwal had no prior criminal record.
The January 14 Maricopa Country press release defends a felony conviction for a copyright infringement as follows:
“Internet media piracy has been considered a victimless crime by some. Nothing could be further from the truth. This type of illegal conduct, which results in millions of dollars of lost revenue to the music and movie industry, victimizes us all. These losses are inevitably passed on to the everyday consumer when purchasing a CD or DVD. This type of theft must not be ignored,” said County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Case information: Case CR2004-023152; change of plea, Jan 7; sentencing Feb 10; conviction under § 44-1453: counterfeit marks, including the following definition:
1. “Counterfeit mark” means:
(a) Any unauthorized reproduction or copy of intellectual property.
(b) Intellectual property that is affixed to any item that is knowingly sold, offered for sale, manufactured or distributed or to any identifying services offered or rendered without the authority of the intellectual property owner.
See Ernest’s thoughts about preemption in Is Arizona’s Counterfeiting Law Unconstitutional or Preempted? - MSNBC (and, apparently, others) didn’t edit the AP wire report as much as the WaPo did, so they included this tidbit:
The FBI found more than $50 million in music and movies on Dhaliwal’s computer. The illegally copied property included movies that, at the time of the theft, were available only in theaters. They included “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Matrix Revolutions,” “The Cat In The Hat,” and “Mona Lisa Smile.”