July 29, 2014

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Former inmate: Lorain Correctional Institution showed pirated movies

Richard Humphrey

Richard Humphrey

GRAFTON — The state prison system is conducting an internal investigation into allegations that a guard at Lorain Correctional Institution showed pirated movies to inmates.

The investigation was launched in response to internal complaints filed by Richard Humphrey, a former North Ridgeville man who served 29 months in a federal prison for running a subscription-based website through which he illegally distributed copyrighted movies, computer games and software.

JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said Friday that she couldn’t comment on details of the ongoing investigation, although she added that no one has been disciplined or placed on leave as a result of the probe.

Humphrey, 26, was held at Lorain Correctional from Feb. 28 through May 6 after violating the terms of his post-release control on an unrelated state charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, Smith said.

Court records indicate that Humphrey pleaded guilty to that charge in 2010, which centered on allegations he had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl, although he said Friday that the girl’s online profile claimed she was 21 and he didn’t realize her age until he was contacted by police. He was given one year in prison in that case and served the state sentence while he was doing his federal time.

Humphrey said he was sent back to prison earlier this year because he got into a fight with his brother while he was intoxicated, which was considered a violation by his parole officer. He said almost as soon as he arrived at the prison he saw pirated movies being played for the inmates.

“I was blown away it was happening because it was an intake pod,” he said, which he described as the first stop for inmates being processed into the state prison system.

He said he saw “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Ride Along” and other films while incarcerated and that the movies had not yet been released on DVD.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” was released on DVD on March 25, while “Ride Along” was released on DVD on April 15.

Humphrey said he didn’t think it was right for a prison to be showing illegally obtained movies to inmates.

“It’s hypocritical for sure, and it’s just not right,” he said.

Humphrey said he complained to prison officials several times and followed up with Warden Kimberly Clipper after he was released from prison earlier this month. In a recording of a phone call between Clipper and Humphrey posted on the website ScrollDog.com, Clipper assured him the matter was being looked into.

Humphrey said he doesn’t believe the prison system plans to do much about the pirated movies.

“They’re just trying to dust it under the rug because they know it’s going on,” he said. “…They don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Smith said there is an active investigation into whether an employee brought unapproved movies into the prison. She said the prison system has a policy that requires movies to be reviewed and approved before they are played for prisoners.

Humphrey said he didn’t realize how serious copyright infringement was until he became the subject of a federal investigation that resulted in the seizure of his computers and servers. He said he often just fast-forwarded through the FBI anti-piracy warning that appears on most DVD copies of movies.

“They were just a hobby,” he said. “I didn’t understand the severity.”

But according to federal prosecutors, Humphrey turned his hobby into a business, distributing copies of movies through his website, USAWarez.com, and other online sites between December 2006 and October 2007.

“Many of the films the defendant distributed from his web sites were still playing in theaters or were not yet available on DVD,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum in federal court. “From his sites, the defendant distributed thousands of infringing copies of movies and television shows without authorization from copyright holders.”

Prosecutors also wrote that while Humphrey gave away many movies for free, he also charged $16 per year for “VIP Membership” beginning in May 2007. The retail value of the copyright infringement that Humphrey admitted to was between $10,000 and $30,000, according to court documents.

In a video posted on TorrentFreak.com, Humphrey described himself as “pro pirate” and argued that “draconian” copyright infringement laws need to be reformed and costs cut in order to make content more affordable.

He said the problem of illegal content is so widespread that even those charged with enforcing the laws and rehabilitating those who break them are doing the same thing.

“How do you expect someone to be rehabilitated when there’s authority figures that are running those institutions that are copyright infringing?” he asked in the video.

Humphrey also said in the video that this isn’t the first time he’s encountered pirated movies while locked up. He said while he was incarcerated as a juvenile he also watched illegally copied material.

Juvenile Court Administrator Jody Barilla said Humphrey was held at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home on eight separate occasions between 2003 and 2005, but there was no record of complaints being filed during that time period about pirated movies being shown.

She said the Detention Home has a contract with a company that holds a public performance license to show G- and PG-rated movies at the facility. That contract has been in place since 2001.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • golfingirl

    Probably just didn’t like the movies they were showing.

    I mean, he was arrested for contact with a minor. All the movies probably had all adults, who were fully dressed.

    • ProPirate

      You don’t even know who the f*#) you’re talking about. This dude is a legend & to be honest with ya you’re just going off of some piece of paper that says he’s an offender. You Americans are something else. All scared in your little fantasy worlds. Step out of the box and join us in reality please.

      Not everything is at it appears man/women (can’t tell what ya are truly).

      • Razorback Twou

        If you don’t like our laws go back to where ever you came from! I’m sure you’ll like their laws and jails better. Legend my as$.

      • Bill Love

        This is America join us in the real word

        • ScrollDog.com

          From one American to another, this country is nothing to brag about when it comes to societies point of views. If anything, America is a prime example of a nation that is distraught and easily manipulated. You fall into this group?

      • Otter

        A legend? Really? Legendary stupidity maybe….didn’t understand the severity? Didn’t know the girl was 15? Got drunk, and into a fight with his brother? Called himself pro pirate….Yep us Americans are something else….expecting people who break the law, repeatedly to go to jail, repeatedly.

      • Steven

        your name says it all. Your comment adds to it.

        • Phil Blank

          Don’t worry yourselves with PrpPirate, he only started his account about the time this news came to light on the DOJ web site.

      • golfingirl

        “you’re just going off of some piece of paper that says he’s an offender.”

        He admitted it and plead guilty. He IS an “offender.”

        As well as a thief, debtor and other miscellaneous titles.

        If he is a “legend,” it is only in the realm of piracy. Being called a “legend” by criminals, is not much of a complement.

  • Thomas Calkins

    What a moron. Lucky to even watch movies behind bars let alone recent ones. I am not sure, but i dont believe a crime was committed.

    • Mark B

      Certainly sounds like a violation of the DMCA

      • ProPirate

        That it is. DMCA violation at it’s most obvious point.

  • Starryeyes63

    Stop showing movies all together, they are prisoners, Problem solved PROBLEM staying solved.

  • golfingirl

    Honestly, why would a convicted felon, who had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl, want his name back in the newspaper?

    You would think he would just want to go into hiding from embarrassment.

    Pirated movies versus child molestation…..doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one is worse.What an idiot.

    He should be sentence to another ten years, simply for being stupid!

    • ProPirate

      Obviously To0 isn’t afraid to speak his mind, which is saying more than most of Americans.

      • Razorback Twou

        Lick my balls you ungrateful SOB.

  • ScrollDog.com

    This just shows how brain-washed our society is. This guy served 29 months in a Federal Prison for copyright infringement, yet the prison system is showing copyrighted movies like the law doesn’t apply to them. That’s wrong and hypocrisy at it’s finest level. Anyone who disagrees with this needs to get out of Obama’s pocket.

    Btw, his unlawful sexual conduct charge occurred with a girl who pretended to be 21, who drove vehicles & even had a fake I.D. Mr. Humphrey wasn’t aware that the girl wasn’t 21 until after 4 months of communication with the girl. He didn’t contact the girl, she contacted him.

    • JaiKhan

      bros isn’t scrolldog mr humphrey himself ?? i saw lots of news about this person he is a bad man who hurts people all the time :( sorry for bad my english

    • silkskin1960

      soudnds like FAN #2 has spoken…..lolol how bout this one dude….”doesnt he know the conversation of a woman his age as opposed to a 15 yr old? If not, then maybe he shouldnt be trying to hook up with ANYBODY until he does.

  • Tim Francis

    Its a proven thing that the movies they were shown were pirated? It could have been cable. You know what be glad you had entertainment. I wouldnt be complaining about that.

  • DCAinSLC

    Blimey! Only landlubbers would ban Pirate movies. Avast ye mates, next they will ban violins on television and then we will all be hornswaggled. Argh!

  • Steven

    ““It’s hypocritical for sure, and it’s just not right,” he said.”

    Is that showing movies, or just pirated ones? They are already getting free room and board, meals, laundry, security, healthcare… why movies?

  • Steven

    illegally obtained… as in downloading.

    Thing is, even a legally purchased DVD cannot be shown in a group environment. It’s for private/personal use, not movie theater distro. I doubt one or two inmates are watching it… it’s a group setting.

    Know of a place that showed a “mans movie” (for free) to help set a “father/son” relationship concept… and the folks who made the movie “reached out” and were content with the license being purchased to show it en masse. It could’ve been worse, courts being what they are anymore.

    • johns62

      actually Steven your are incorrect because 1) considered a ‘private showing’ and 2) not like they charged admission to watch it :)

      and Im speaking about legally purchased DVD’s . Legally downloaded also fall under this rule

  • Jake

    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2007/10/11/north-ridgeville-police-blotter-oct-11-2007
    Wednesday, Oct. 3
    9:53 a.m. — 5900 block Mills
    Creek Lane, Richard Humphrey, 20, same address, charged with assault on a
    police officer, domestic violence, resisting arrest, underage
    consumption and disorderly conduct.

    They should lock this freak up and chuck the key away!

  • Phil Blank

    As for the detention home’s contract, if there really is one:
    1: Show us a copy

    2: If there really is a contract, they just broke it by showimg PIRATED movies!

    I have more of a problem as to why they even show movies in a ‘detention facility’?

  • Jeff

    Just another prime example of our Rehabilitation at it’s finest!!!!

    • ScrollDog.com

      Agreed.

  • DCAinSLC

    Could be worse. Could be showing them the Shawshank Redemption.

  • silkskin1960

    “It’s hypocritical for sure, and it’s just not right,” he said… well I guess its RIGHT to be locked up in the first place and able to watch those movies. SIT THAT BUM BACK DOWN …..he just wants attention. Send him to Manci where he can get the attention he needs and desires.

  • silkskin1960

    TELL THAT WANNA BE RAPIST TO SHUT THE HELL UP