“‘Big Hy’ — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the United States military presence in those regions dwindling, Big Hy Strachman will live on in many soldiers’ hearts as one of the war’s more shadowy heroes.

‘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.'”

American hero Hyman Strachman, Long Islander, sent hundreds of thousands of pirated DVDs to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan for free. (Image: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)