FBI Sends Game Warez Pirate to Jail: We Have the Details

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.

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  1. 0
    Darmoth ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yep… that’s what I thought. They’re making an example out of him.

    I’m willing to bet that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. How much longer before we can draw parallels between this and the tactics of the RIAA?


  2. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I think it was the thrill of being the supplier and having people rely on him.  It is the act of publishing the pirated software, not the act of downloading that is being punished

  3. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Kevin Fuchs ‘all durka sounding’?  Fuchs is a German name meaning ‘fox’.  If his name was Mohammed Akbar Ul-Haq I could see it being described as all durka sounding, but Kevin Fuchs is about as durka sounding as Bill Clinton or George Bush.

  4. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I’m going to go download Mercenaries 2 out of pure spite now. Want piracy to stop? Update your goddamned business model. If digital distribution doesn’t work why the hell are Sony, M$ and Nintendo running around with such hardons for it? Provide a legal alternative, and most people will do The Right Thing.

    Believe it or not, by creating the ESA/RIAA/MPAA, you’re not protecting your respective industry, nor your profits. You’re just alienating your target audience.



  5. 0
    Kwipper says:

    Some of you people ask…  "Why is the FBI going after software pirates when there are bigger "more important" people to bust? You know, like terrorists and rapisits, murders and people who are generally more dangerous to society." The reason why is because Software Pirates are easier to track down and bust… well.. somewhat easier. Besides, the guy being busted for Software Piracy here is just being made an example of. This is so they can put fear into other people in hopes that they will begin to think twice before engaging in such activities.

  6. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I like that they added the word "thrill" in there.  I think that’s why there is so much pirating going on.  Watching stuff download is quite a rush.

  7. 0
    Anonymous says:

    But his name’s all durka-sounding and stuff! He just has to go to jail! Everybody knows he singlehandedly invented them and was the sole party responsible for the International Famiclone Conspiracy that has cost Nintendo the funds to develop all sorts of hookers for Hiroshi Yamauchi!

  8. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Actually, the FBI is in charge of anything that crosses state lines at any point, including piracy.  It has nothing to do with corporate interests.  Goddamn man, lay off the conspiracy theories before you go insane.

  9. 0
    Godkarmachine says:

    Didn’t you know? Pirating games supports terrorism.

    – We live in a world where, "I like to play video games" seems to translate to, "I like to kill babies" in the minds of the stupid.

  10. 0
    jParadox says:

    *Snort* I didn’t think anyone realized my silly little town existed!  (Yup, I live in Hamburg, NY!) Haha, amusing. Too bad I don’t go to Hilbert College,  I go to D’Youville College, soon to be university by the end of 2009!

    Hate to be the one to say it, but, I am glad to see others finally getting busted for pirated software.  I’m in IT/Computer Science, and if I spent a good three, four years writing software to just see it on a torrent site, I would be pretty ticked. I just can’t wait to see his article posted, I want to read it!  Anyone know where I might be able to find it?  Thanks for all help!

  11. 0
    Kincyr says:

    I’d have to say that Kill Bill vol 2 is the one that didn’t belong. It was neither a game nor software product, although there was a cancelled Kill Bill vol 1 game for the original Xbox (it never make it to development, despite Vivendi Universal Games holding the rights for it, so there couldn’t be a leaked demo.)

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  12. 0
    The Blackrose ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Kind of humorous to read down that list, only to see Encarta Deluxe 2004 pop out of nowhere.  It’s like something out of an association test: "This is a list of items.  Which one does not belong?"

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