Czech pirate avoids lawsuit after getting 200,000 views
A Czech software pirate has avoided paying more than S$300,000 in damages to the companies whose products he pirated.
The reason: He managed to get 200,000 views within two months for a movie he produced.
The 30-year-old man, known only as Jakub F, was convicted and sentenced to a suspended three-year jail term by a Czech court.
The court ruled that financial penalties will be decided in a civil settlement or out of court, according to the BBC.
Jakub's pirate activities, which reportedly include putting Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 on filesharing portals, are believed to have cost companies like HBO Europe and Sony music several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Microsoft estimated that Jakub had cost them 5.7 million Czech koruna (S$315,615) in damages alone.
But the Business Software Alliance, which represented Microsoft, realised that Jakub was unable to afford to pay the damages.
Along with the other companies, they opted for a unique approach.
In exchange for letting him off the hook, Jakub must make a small payment to the firms and make an anti-piracy movie that must be viewed 200,000 times in two months after its release.
A spokesman for the companies said that the figure was put in to ensure that Jakub would spread the film's message as widely as possible but could be theoretically sued by the firms if he didn't meet the target.
The film, titled The Story of My Piracy, was uploaded on YouTube on Sunday (Nov 22) and has been watched more than 400,000 times.
It depicts Jakub, who plays himself, enjoying his ill-gotten software before being tracked down and arrested by the police.
A message written in Czech from Jakub on a website set up to host the video read: "I thought I was not doing anything wrong. I thought it did not hurt the big companies… I was convinced that I was too small a fish."