The New York Times has an interesting story about a 92-year-old veteran who has his own unique way of helping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan - by making pirated movie discs and mailing it to them!
World War II vet Hyman Strachman, known to his friends and "customers" as "Big Hy" has sent as many as 300,000 pirated discs to troops serving overseas since 2004, discs containing the latest Hollywood movies, including hits such as Moneyball, The King's Speech and The Hangover.
His operation has earned the respect, and thanks, of the troops, with flags, letters and photos from his appreciative fans adorning a wall in his "piracy den".
As for the logistics of his operation, Mr. Strachman admitted that burning discs on a computer was just not efficient enough, which is why he invested in a $400 professional disc replicator, making as many as 200 discs per day at its peak.
With so much focus on copyright infringement lately, and with the Department of Homeland security busy closing down websites and illegal disc replication operations all over the country, Big Hy Strachman acknowledges his guilty quite willingly, but showed no intention of actually putting a halt to his operation. "It’s not the right thing to do, but I did it," Mr. Strachman said.
And with the Motion Picture Association of America putting out anti-piracy ads that depict terrorist benefiting from disc piracy operations, this might just be one piracy operation that actually helps to fight the war on terror. So will the MPAA put a stop to Mr. Strachman's disc piracy activities?
Declassified documents revealed the MPAA's secret war against movie piracy by troops serving overseas, even going as far as asking troop commanders to order those under their charge against buying pirated discs from local Iraqi vendors, or using BitTorrent to get their movie fix. Some military personnel had even received warning notices to stop their pirating activities, despite having no legal way to access movies while serving overseas.
But faced against the negative publicity that would come from suing a 92-year-old war veteran from Long Island, whose only intentions are to help the troops in any way he can, even the MPAA may be powerless to stop this "pirate".
"We are grateful that the entertainment we produce can bring some enjoyment to them while they are away from home," said Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the MPAA.