Best place to swap porn, MP3s, games and movies? U.S. Naval Academy.

According to this news article at Sunspot.net the folks at the RIAA and MPAA would best spend their time suing the Department of Defense if they want to get at some of the worst file-swapping offenders. Last fall it was discovered that some 100 midshipmen were making use of their access to what is probably the fastest Internet pipe in the nation to amass an impressive collection of songs in MP3 format, full-length movies, porn videos and video games. The superintendent, Vice Adm. Richard J. Naughton was so worried about the damage this discovery could do to the academy’s image that he told some of his senior leaders that if word leaked out he’d kill them. A comment that may have something to do with the fact that he’s just turned his resignation last week. So just what kind of goodies were these fine young men collecting?

  • Episodes of The Simpsons, Seinfeld and Jeopardy.
  • Movies such as Black Hawk Down, A Few Good Men, Shrek, Harry Potter and Not Another Teen Movie.
  • An encyclopedic collection of pornographic videos.
  • BMW commercials.
  • Video games such as Age of Empires, Need for Speed, Motocross Madness and Delta Force 2.
  • A television clip described cryptically as “Jlo at the Grammys.”

The academy made a lot of noise last year about punishment by court-martial or expelling the worst offenders, but did they? Naaah.

The 11 pages of released documents show that the school did not act on its threat last year to court-martial or expel the worst offenders. The harshest punishment, given to one mid, was 95 demerits, 60 days of restriction, 20 sessions of marching in circles, 30 hours of extra work, four months of reduced privileges and a six-month loss of Internet use.

The records show that midshipmen used 17 peer-to-peer file-trading programs, including Aimster, BearShare, Morpheus, KaZaA, NeoNapster, Shareaza, SongSpy and SwapNut.

The records also reveal for the first time that 36 of the seized computers contained pornographic movies. They also highlight the sheer number of media files midshipmen had amassed. One mid’s computer contained 2,253 music recordings and 2,289 game files. Another computer held 227 pornographic videos.

One computer was found to harbor seven pornographic videos, eight music videos, 25 music files and an episode of The Muppet Show. Another had four episodes of Friends and a copy of Jackass: The Movie.

So there you go. Wanna swap files on a fast connection and be immune from the wrath of the RIAA and others? Just join the Navy.

5 thoughts on “Best place to swap porn, MP3s, games and movies? U.S. Naval Academy.

  1. What do you expect? You have to be nominated by a Congressman to get in, you know……..

  2. Counterpoint, at the risk of incurring someone’s wrath.  I have an anti-RIAA bias, too, so take this as you will…

    “What do you expect? You have to be nominated by a Congressman to get in, you know…”

    The same congresspersons are making these stupid laws (like the DMCA) that are empowering the RIAA to dictate exactly who gets to serve in the military.  The only purpose served by kicking these people out of the service would be to show how powerful the RIAA is.

    The “records” are going to contain skewed numbers, too.  2289 game files?  My Unreal Tournament 2003 directory has 1001 files.  My Half-life directory has 5722 files.  Unless they’re trying to suggest 2289 separate games, which I’m also not buying.

    The movies are quite probably illegal, I’ll grant, but the music… we ARE entitled, under Fair Use, to make a copy and protect our originals.  My copy of any CD that I own resides on this computer, in MP3 format.  The RIAA would have you thinking MP3s are illegal in and of themselves.  2253 music recordings equates to… oh, say 150 CDs.  Not a hard collection to amass… I have about 200 CDs ripped and stored on my HDD (and no, I don’t share).

    Now, are they entirely innocent?  Not in the least.  Should there be punishment for this?  Absolutely.  Should careers be ended for this?  Hardly.

    Unless one has never traded MP3s over the internet, there’s not much room to be judgemental about this.

  3. Rebuttal, with no wrath incurred. First, exactly how powerful is the RIAA? The headliner on Drudge tonight is a WA Post article wherein Sen Hatch (R-UT) says he endorses the remote destruction of file sharing computers. What? In our Brave New Amerika?

    Should military careers be ended over file swapping? No, nor speeding tickets either. Let’s try to sort out the exam cheating and rape scandals first.

    My greater point is that there are more and more laws, regulations, and administrative codes for the *have-nots* of power than there are for the *haves*, and the enforcers of same. I’m not a wide-eyed idealist….but there is a widening gap between *enfranchised* and *dis-enfranchised*- this is just one more little indicator.

    By the way, I agree the file numbers are probably skewed, and I DON’T trade MP3’s- I don’t particularily listen to music.I do copy CD’s occasionally.

  4. Court Martial for downloading MP3’s and movies?  What’s next, death penalty for a traffic ticket?  The above example of the Academy’s most severe punishment is quite adequate.  If you don’t think so then try not leaving your house or college campus for 2 months, having your boss inspect you 3 times a day (sometimes at a moments notice), and getting up at 5:30 in the morning to mindlessly walk around in circles with a rifle.  Oh, and by the way, for the entire 2 months that you are confined to your house/dorm you are not allowed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or use the internet.  While you are carrying out this (lienient?) punishment you are also responsible for an 18-21 credit hour course load and if you screw up academically or fail an ispection, you are eligible for expulsion.  Just putting things into perspective.

  5. Allow me to put it into further perspective: It’s still not prison.

    You’ll note that I didn’t suggest that these people SHOULD be court martialed, just that the academy made a big to-do about how they intended to do just that only to not punish most of them in any way at all. ONE cadet got the “worst” punishment. One.

    Just in case you weren’t aware of it here’s a summary of what piracy of movies could warrant a civilian who is successfully prosecuted for it:

    It is a violation of federal law (17 U.S.C. 106(1)) to distribute, rent or sell illegally duplicated copies, even if the copies are made by someone else (17 U.S.C. 106(3)). The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (47 U.S.C. 605) and related statutes also prohibit the unauthorized reception of films via satellite or cable TV. Copyright infringement and violation of the Communications Act are felonies under federal law and carry maximum sentences of up to five years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine. Both laws also provide for copyright owners to seek civil damages.

    By comparison a court-martial might be considered getting off lightly if that were the only punishment handed down for the crime. Trying to compare music and movie piracy to a “traffic ticket” such as that gained by speeding is simply ridiculous. Speeding in Michigan is considered a misdemeanor with a variable fine of up to $50 for 26+MPH over the limit and no jail time. You may equate piracy with being no more serious than speeding, but the law obviously considers otherwise.

    I don’t think downloading a few MP3s here and there to be a big deal. Downloading entire movies is probably pushing things a bit, but the occasional violation probably isn’t a big deal in my mind. These cadets, however, didn’t engage in the rare, occasional download of an MP3 or a movie. I believe these cadets would be described as “gross violators” of the law. If you’re going to break the law then you have to be prepared to pay the penalty should you be caught.

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