A man who set up a business selling pirated games on consoles has been jailed for 15 months and fined $415,900.
Kifah Maswadi, age 24, of Oakland, Florida, had been selling a handheld gaming console called Power Player, which is closely modeled on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The devices held 76 pirated games, chiefly Nintendo titles.
Maswadi pleaded guilty to one count of copyright infringement and was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was also sentenced to three years of probation and 50 hours of community service, including public education about criminal copyright infringement.
The case highlights the difference in sentencing policy between those who pirate for themselves and those who try and make a business out of it. Typically the latter case involves jail time where as private individuals generally receive fines.
The Department of Justice, which is currently cracking down on piracy, estimated that Maswadi made more than $390,000 from his business activities. The fine was an attempt to recoup those profits and add a fine as well.
Nevertheless the fines are insignificant in comparison to Nintendo’s lost revenue. Maswadi sold more than 8,000 of the consoles, or more than 600,000 games, valuing each game at less than a dollar.
However, such fines could get much higher and their scope broadened under the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
Some ACTA proposals suggest such sentences will not only be passed to businesses that exist just to sell pirated goods but also on legitimate businesses that may accidentally be carrying such material.
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