92 Year old veteran copies more than 300,000 dvd's and sends them to soldiers

vbimport

#1

Original URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/nyregion/at-92-movie-bootlegger-is-soldiers-hero.html?_r=1

One of the world’s most prolific bootleggers of Hollywood DVDs loves his morning farina. He has spent eight years churning out hundreds of thousands of copies of “The Hangover,” “Gran Torino” and other first-run movies from his small Long Island apartment to ship overseas.

“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the United States military presence in those regions dwindling, Big Hy Strachman will live on in many soldiers’ hearts as one of the war’s more shadowy heroes.

“It’s not the right thing to do, but I did it,” Mr. Strachman said, acknowledging that his actions violated copyright law.

“If I were younger,” he added, “maybe I’d be spending time in the hoosegow.”

Capt. Bryan Curran, who recently returned from Afghanistan, estimated that from 2008 to 2010, Mr. Strachman sent more than 2,000 DVDs to his outfits there.

[b]As for his brazen violation of domestic copyright laws, Mr. Strachman nodded guiltily but pointed to his walls, which are strewed with seven huge American flags, dozens of appreciative letters, and snapshots of soldiers holding up their beloved DVDs.

“Every time I got back an emotional e-mail or letter, I sent them another box,” he said, adding that he had never accepted any money for the movies or been told by any authorities to stop.[/b]

“I thought maybe because I’m an old-timer,” he said.

In February, Mr. Strachman duplicated and shipped 1,100 movies. (“A slow month,” he said.) He has not kept an official count but estimates that he topped 80,000 discs a year during his heyday in 2007 and 2008, making his total more than 300,000 since he began in 2004. Postage of about $11 a box, and the blank discs themselves, would suggest a personal outlay of over $30,000.

Born in Brooklyn in 1920 to immigrants from Poland, Mr. Strachman left high school during the Depression to work for his family’s window and shade store in Manhattan. He became a stockbroker on Wall Street — “When there were no computers, you had to use your noodle” — before retiring in the early 1990s.

After Mr. Strachman’s wife of more than half a century, Harriet, died in 2003, he discovered a Web site that collected soldiers’ requests for care packages. He noted a consistent plea for movie DVDs and wound up passing his sleepless nights replicating not only the films, but also a feeling of military comradeship that he had not experienced since his own service in the Pacific during World War II.

“I wouldn’t say it kept him alive, but it definitely brought back his joie de vivre,” said Mr. Strachman’s son, Arthur, a tax accountant in New York.


If some legal department on this planet ever decides to sue him for copyright infringment they will make me very angry. The record and publishing comanpanies everywhere should make it far more easier to give people who fight for their countries convenient access to media they wish to enjoy.


#2

If the MPAA [I]doesn’t[/I] prosecute this blatant offender of the law, then they have no right to prosecute anyone else…:cop:…Or at least they got a lot of explaining to do as to how they choose their victims…:eek: [/SARCASM]


#3

I think if some “legal department” as Mr. Belvedere put it tries to have him prosecuted.
The Us government should draft them & send them to Iraq & Afganistan .
Then see if they are willing to watch “Big Hy’s " DVDs or nothing .


#5

If the MPAA sued this guy it would be a PR disaster of epic proportions.


#6

Honestly, this old sucker should go into jail right away.

Is dementia or age or renitency an excuse this days to break the law???


#7

[QUOTE=chef;2634725]Honestly, this old sucker should go into jail right away. [/QUOTE]

I call him patriotic & a WW2 veteran as well . That earns him extra judgement in deciding what his rights are in my opinion. Since he has fought for them risking his own life.
To me he is rendering aid to American soldiers in a war . What is the definition of that but patriotism ?

Maybe if they sent you chef to Afganistan you would be ready for some DVDs from Hy. Even if they were illegal .


#8

[QUOTE=chef;2634725]Honestly, this old sucker should go into jail right away.

Is dementia or age or an excuse this days to break the law???[/QUOTE]

Sometimes something very right can come from acts that are illegal. This is one of those cases, IMO. Another reason I give this gentleman a pass is because he is a WWII vet on the side of the Allies. His generation has arguably done more for this world than any other single generation in history.

When a person is 92 years old, lived a good life and is filling time until he can rejoin his wife, I say let him do some good for people. I would be willing to bet that he hasn’t prevented hardly any DVD sales. Heck, there are probably tens of millions of bootleg DVDs floating around Iraq and Afghanistan that were made in those countries. A few more coming from a 92 year old vet won’t upset anyone’s apple cart.


#9

[QUOTE=UTR;2634312]If the MPAA sued this guy it would be a PR disaster of epic proportions.[/QUOTE]

Have to agree with that :iagree:


#10

Once you start splitting hairs on crime it leads to no good. If you break a law then you should pay the price or the law should be changed. I do not care if your a war hero or a heroin addict the penlites need to be the same. What is the point of equal justice under the law. And maybe making this guy go to trial will show just how crazy these copy write laws really are.


#11

[QUOTE=~Jethro~;2634836]the penalties need to be the same. What is the point of equal justice under the law. [/QUOTE]

That would be fine if the law was applied equally . I know it is supposed to be .
If you want to convince me equal justice exists . Post a list of all the people in prison that are millionaires
or more that are on death row or serving life without parole . Unless you can convince me that people with
that much money never commit crimes of that level . Murder for example.

I know if I was on the jury Hy gets a Not Guilty from me.


#12

[QUOTE=cholla;2634841]I know if I was on the jury Hy gets a Not Guilty from me.[/QUOTE] Doesn’t that imply that you are not juror material, since you have made up your mind before the trial?! :wink:


#13

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2634844]Doesn’t that imply that you are not juror material, since you have made up your mind before the trial?! [/QUOTE]

Yep it does.
Of course since I believe Hy lives in NY I don’t think I will be on a jury trying him.

If you can convince the jury pool in my area of that maybe they will quit summoning me about twice a year & occasionally 3 times if I get called to city court jury duty.
I’ve never had a Grand Jury summons for jury duty.
A lot of people don’t know this about Texas law any way . Once selected I can ignore the law & vote my conscience . Regardless of the juror oath . I’m not supposed to lie when questioned during voir dire but I’m the only one that would know besides God.
I think other states also have this law . That is why there have been cases where someone killed a person . Cold blooded & not in self-defense & the jury decided it was justified.
So I would have no problem voting my conscience & I would answer that I hadn’t already made up my mind. Which would be the truth at least for that 10 seconds.


#14

[QUOTE=~Jethro~;2634836]Once you start splitting hairs on crime it leads to no good. If you break a law then you should pay the price or the law should be changed. I do not care if your a war hero or a heroin addict the penlites need to be the same. What is the point of equal justice under the law. And maybe making this guy go to trial will show just how crazy these copy write laws really are.[/QUOTE]

I think you would be hard pressed to find a DA willing to prosecute a 92 year old WWII veteran for doing something that supports our troops in a war zone. Even if it is violating copyright laws of the MPAA. There are plenty more serious crimes they can spend their time on.


#15

UTR, that is the problem in America , selective enforcement and punishment. Either it is a crime or it isn’t. The ideal is that justice is blind and applied equally to all, period. Saying punish this one but not that one, for the same crime, is why the rest of the world thinks we are a bunch of fools. The way some people justify their reasons for prosecuting a crime or not is just plain bias, nothing more. Either you live by the laws we have or change them.

p.s. The copy write laws were made by the US government not the MPAA.


#16

There are no absolute answers when it comes to many things in life. Back on the farm we like to apply something called [B]common sense[/B]. It is a form of knowledge that eludes many but is very valuable to possess when making important decision in life. The situation with [B]this[/B] 92 year old man needs liberal amounts of common sense applied which is why he should be left alone.


#17

Once again UTR (unable to reason) thinks that there should be different laws for different people, go figure. That is one of the problems with letting cousins breed…


#18

[QUOTE=~Jethro~;2634877]
p.s. The copy write laws were made by the US government not the MPAA.[/QUOTE]

PS to PS…someone has to petition the US Government to make the laws…they don’t just pop out of thin air…The Movie Mongol along with their lobbyists help write the law regardless… they were the forefront of what would become the MPAA/RIAA/DODD lobbyists.


#19

[QUOTE=UTR;2634855]I think you would be hard pressed to find a DA willing to prosecute a 92 year old WWII veteran for doing something that supports our troops in a war zone. Even if it is violating copyright laws of the MPAA. There are plenty more serious crimes they can spend their time on.[/QUOTE]

I don’t agree all the time with UTR here but in this case I would say most if not many on here haven’t done or have service military service that this man has done so in his long distinguish service and if so I like them to show me so. So unless you can show your Patriotism like this man can don’t even tell me about following the law. What happened to all those White collar CRIMES I don’t hear any harping about going after those people with full extend of the law and making them go to 40 years plus for stealing the taxpayers money in the billions “BILLIONS” and we have to fix it again with taxpayers money???.. Oh wait money does talk the law is bought and sold on the black market called INJUSTICE in the USA…


#20

As a vet (1968-1972) and having done 2 tours in country (Vietnam), as a Ranger, I think I can speak to this matter. When I was sworn in I gave an oath to uphold all the laws of the USA not just the ones I agreed with. Read this then tell me what a hero this pirate is.


#21

I read the link ~Jethro~ & it sounds like it was written by someone in the entertainment industry.
The USA was founded by law breakers .
The government they were under the British empire .
What would become the USA was just another colony of the British Empire.
The laws they disliked most were tax laws but the BE would just require colonists to house British soldiers in their homes.
So instances like the Boston Tea Party,Stamp Act riot.etc. These were violations of law.
This led the the Declaration of Independence which broke another law . The British Empire called this treason .
Should the founding fathers & those they led just blindly obeyed the law ?
They certainly faced death for breaking it .
From the British point of view they were traitors & would have faced a firing squad or have been hung if captured. If the word had been around they would have been called terrorists by the British.
We the people(of the USA) call them patriots , heroes , & maybe revolutionists .
They get that because they won .
They decided the laws were wrong & illegally opposed them . Sometimes that is necessary to change wrong laws .
So again the USA was founded by law breakers & thank God they did.

We the people of the USA now have allowed the hard work & lives they gave to be slowly destroyed . To complacant & apathetic to stand up & fight the government .
Afraid to lose what material goods we have acquired. I think our founding fathers would be ashamed of us .
If a lone citizen does stand up & do an act of violence against the government .
He is branded a nut case, criminal , & traitor. Maybe terrorists too.
The fear of this keeps the rest of us in line.
I will end this with a quote from the Texas Declaration of Independence:

When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abduction on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements, in such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable right of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their welfare and happiness.