Razor1911, one of the oldest and most notorious video game piracy groups, has been busted. The Feds finally nabbed Razor1911’s leader, 38-year-old Sean Breen, and sentenced him to a staggering 4-years in prison.
Breen created the group in 1991, eons before anyone even thought about game piracy; we’re talking pre-Wolfenstein. Over the years, Breen assembled a sprawling and devout network of pirates from Stockholm to Seattle; they’d pose as game reviewers or the editors of some new gaming magazine, in order get early code.
Once they got the goods, a team of crackers would circumvent the copyright protection wares. Then a team of distributors would release the stuff in password protected IRC chat rooms. At last count, there were more than 10,000 games in Razor1911’s treasure cove. The video game industry loses about $3 billion per year to pirates, and Razor1911 were the chief offenders. They were also the most brazen, running an elaborate website touting their feats - and producing their own razor-wielding superhero cartoons online.
But it turns out Breen was up to much more than these games. Shortly after being busted, he confessed to bilking Cisco Systems out of $600,000 worth of hardware. In an elaborate scheme, he posed as one of Cisco’s customers, and had the goods FedExed to a storefront he rented, specifically for this purpose, in Oakland. Once he got the stuff, he sold it cheap on the grey market.
But, despite this bust, surely the piracy will wage on…
Five poems about the mind
Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution
As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.
I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.
We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.
Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?
The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.