The Czech Republic's first convicted software pirate has been offered an unexpected way of escaping punishment: log 200,000 video views on YouTube and Facebook or be handed a huge fine. The man in question, who is 30 years old and known only as Jakub F, was originally handed a three-year suspended sentence and asked to forfeit his PC, hard drives and DVD backups after being found guilty of sharing illegal copies of Windows and other copyrighted software on forums over the past eight years.
As he was unable to cover the 5.7 million crowns ($223,709 or £148,314) in damages to software producers, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) helped Jakub F reach an out-of-court settlement with rightsholders that allowed him to pay a smaller fine and make up the rest by creating a video that raises awareness of software piracy. The only potential obstacle is that "The Story of My Piracy" video, which can be found on a dedicated website set up by Jackub, must been seen by 200,000 people or the multi-million crown fine will be enforced.
At the time of writing, the professionally shot video has been viewed 120,000 times on YouTube since it was uploaded on November 22nd. We've embedded it below, but unless you have a grasp of Czech, you probably won't understand most of it. But it means you can play a part in deciding the pirate's fate.
"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," says Jakub on his website (translated by TorrentFreak). "I felt in the warez community that I meant something. I was convinced that I was too small a fish for someone to get to me. But eventually, they got me. Even for me, the investigators came to work."