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NinjaVideo Administrator Pleads Guilty on Copyright Charge

23-year-old Matthew David Howard Smith, cofounder of the popular content-sharing site, NinjaVideo.net, pleaded guilty to criminal charges over copyright infringement within the past two weeks. The site functioned from 2008 to 2010, and, during that time, visitors were allowed to download films and television shows content for free. They were also permitted to make donations to the website, which provided them with access to executive forum boards that contained even more infringing material.

Ars technica reported that Hana Beshara, another NinjaVideo.net administrator, believes that she and others are facing charges on an “unwritten, gray-area” of copyright law. Though she argues she has been wrongfully labeled, she will face trail in February unless she pleads guilty.

A 2006 study by the Institute for Policy Innovation claimed film piracy cost actors more than 140,000 jobs and $20 billion in 2005.

"The way performers are paid really relies on a compensation model that's tied to downstream revenue," general counsel and director of legislative affairs for AFTRA, Tom Carpenter, recently told Back Stage. "Whenever a television show is stolen online, people aren't just stealing a TV show; they're stealing the health-care contributions and the retirement benefits and the wages of performers, because everything stolen isn't sold."

Smith, who has also admitted to grossing up to $500,000 from ad deals, is to be sentenced on Dec. 16. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.

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This is a reflection of society having had enough with paying too much for entertainment. Yes, I can see how it may be seen as stealing- but when people in the U.S. are starving and foregoing healthcare, and out of work...it's time to switch gears and ask what's really important. There is NO REASON for the people in Hollywood to be making as much as they do. I've been in the industry for years; and I KNOW how hard it is. But the discrepancy in wealth distribution is all too apparent when it comes to those in Hollywood and us regular folk have had enough of supporting people to great heights at our own expense.

If you have been in the "industry" for years, then you ought to know that very few in Hollywood make anything like "big bucks." With runaway production, more than half the biz is gone and not only those who work directly in the industry, but all the ancillary businesses are suffering and out of work. Only the top echelon (stars, producers, directors, DPs...) make anything like big bucks. Piracy has also decimated the music biz. You can't justify stealing. It is what it is.

I must agree. My theory is, if you can't watch it free, you wouldn't be paying for it, therefore, no money lost. Especially on the TV side.

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