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Penthouse busts newsgroup user over copyright theft

If you're going to steal from people, it's a good idea not to boast about it in public

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A newsgroup user who boasted that he had copied over 20,000 images from Penthouse.com has had his computer equipment seized after the site moved to prosecute him for copyright infringement. The individual known as Muad'Dib was tracked down after a series of postings on the alt.mag.penthouse newsgroup.

According to Penthouse, Muad'Dib had accessed the pay-to-view members section of the soft porn site and from there had copied thousands of pictures and passages of text which were then distributed via the newsgroup. Penthouse claims the material was exclusive to its site and that made it easy to spot when it popped up elsewhere. The two parties settled out of court earlier this week.

One of the site's vice presidents, Gerard Van der Leun: said: "The sheer scale of [the newsgroup users'] activities and the clandestine manner in which they operated would leave no one in any doubt that their motives were malicious." Van der Leun went on to say that Penthouse felt that legal action was its only option to protect its commercial interests and also that it wanted to restrict its material to secure adult only sites.

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