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Microsoft let off a software pirate if he made an anti-piracy video that got 200,000 views

Aamna Mohdin
By Aamna Mohdin


A hacker named Jakub was found guilty of pirating Windows and other software. He was handed a three-year suspended sentence and a hefty fine—5.7 million koruna ($223,200)—by a Czech court. He couldn’t afford to pay it, so the companies suing him—including Microsoft, HBO, Sony Music, and 21st Century Fox—cut Jakub a remarkable deal.

He’d only have to pay a small fine if he participated in an anti-piracy video and it got at least 200,000 views.

A spokesman for the Business Software Alliance, which represented Microsoft, told the BBC that they included the 200,000-view prerequisite to ensure Jakub would share the video widely.

On the website (link in Czech) that Jakub set up, he writes:

For eight years, I spread pirated software and then they caught me. I thought that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I thought that it didn’t hurt the big companies. I didn’t even do it for the money, I did it for fun.

The video, called “The Story of my Piracy,” features decent camerawork and lighting, dramatic music probably better suited to a Bond film, and montages more appropriate for a true crime reenactment. But Jakub has succeeded. The video has not only passed the 200,000 threshold—it now has over 480,000 views.

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