Hyman "Big Hy" Strachman doesn't look like a guy who screws Hollywood out of millions of dollars every year. You'd be wrong. Strachman's 92-years-old and he's also a serial bootlegger who's motivated not by money but patriotism.
You see, Strachman, a World War II veteran from Long Island isn't burning DVDs by the box for profit. Strachman's professional-grade tower of seven DVD burners churns out new movie releases for the sake of boosting the morale of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He accepts no money for the bootleg DVDs — continuing only because of all the emotional emails and letters from troops thanking him for keeping their spirits up.
A widower, the only reason Strachman isn't in the slammer is because the MPAA hasn't sicced its attorneys on the old man.
"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."
Strachman believes he's shipped over 300,000 bootleg movies to troops since he started his little hobby in 2004. The New York Times estimates that it costs Strachman about $30,000 a year.
The source material for his movies are never the authentic copies, either. The old timer admits he doesn't even know how to legally rip a DVD and instead, gets bootleg copies from a dealer at a local barbershop. He then clones them to blank DVDs — seven at a time.
Covering his tracks, Strachman says he doesn't keep any copies of any movies for himself and that he destroys the master copy. Wait, wouldn't that just mean he destroys the original bootleg?
It remains to be seen what will happen now that the media is regurgitating his tale. Will he do jail time? Probably not. But, way to flip Hollywood the finger gramps.
Update: The original article profiled Strachman as a "short Jew" — a description that could have been misconstrued as being offensive. It has now been amended - RW