Kevin Fuchs does not dispute that he was a software pirate.
As GamePolitics reported yesterday (see: ESA Happy to See Game Pirates Going to Jail), Fuchs copped a plea to federal charges that he was part of a warez group which shared pirated game software. He will begin an 8-month stretch in a federal prison soon, followed by another 8 months of house arrest.
So what did Kevin Fuchs do? The ESA’s press release didn’t specify, except to say that Fuchs supplied and tested software for his warez group. But GamePolitics has obtained a copy of Fuchs’ indictment, which alleges that he targeted the following games and software products:
- NCAA Football 2004 (Xbox)
- NFL Street (Xbox)
- MS Encarta Deluxe 2004
- Unreal Tournament 2004
- MS Windows 2000 Professional
- Kill Bill, Vol. 2
Fuchs’ role in his warez group was to download software cracked by other members, test to make sure it worked properly, and then re-upload it for distribution. He also supplied "key generators," software which creates access keys for copyrighted software.
While the FBI alleges Fuchs committed piracy for personal gain, his indictment reads more like that of a gardern-variety warez kid. Even the feds acknowledge this aspect of the warez scene in the indictments’s introductory paragraphs:
Other motives in addition to profit include the thrill and social comradery members obtain through clandestine participation in the illegal activity; and the reputation and fame that attends membership and participation in the "top" warez groups.
Indeed, if Fuchs was in it for the money, it wasn’t working. A March, 2008 motion filed by Fuchs’ attorney with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (where the case originated) asks for a continuance of Fuchs’ sentencing because he and his parents could not afford to travel from New York to North Carolina.
The motion also notes that Fuchs has apparently engaged in efforts to rid himself of the pirate’s stain:
Professor William Haslinger, of the Hilbert College Economic Crime Investigation Department located in Hamburg, New York… has worked with Fuchs since his arrest and plea to enhance awareness of the illegality and economic harms associated with digital downloading of music and software via the internet, which remains widespread and is often perceived as legal activity. Professor Haslinger will provide evidence of Fuchs’ post offense rehabilitation and his participation as a speaker in forums for college students regarding the illegality downloading and what can happen if you are caught.