Piracy doesn't pay: Man receives one year in federal prison for uploading 'X-Men' to Internet

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 21 2011 8:58 a.m. MST

Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him a superstar as the fierce fighting machine Wolverine in "X-MEN Origins: Wolverine."

Twentieth Century Fox

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Repeat offender Gilberto Sanchez received a one-year prison sentence Monday from a federal judge in California for prematurely uploading a work-print version of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" to the Internet.

"The Sanchez case received a ton of attention in 2009 because the unfinished print of the entire 'Wolverine' film had appeared online about a month before its theatrical release," Hollywood Reporter recalled Monday. "The 20th Century Fox movie ended up grossing $373 million worldwide, leading some observers to debate whether the leak impacted (or even added to) its overall performance."

The blog Deadline Hollywood reports that, in a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors provided the rationale behind aggressively targeting Sanchez for full prosecution and sentencing: he "uploaded the work-print more than one month before theatrical release, he has a prior conviction for a similar offense, he had been regularly uploading pirated movies for four or five years, and did not appear remorseful after charges were brought."

Uploading is the process of taking a file on a computer hard drive and copying it onto an Internet server — and if done properly, uploading will enable potentially unlimited numbers of users to download the same content from the Internet server onto their own computers. Earlier this year the Deseret News published an article, "Illegal movie download cases reflect new dilemma," about the financial ramifications of digital piracy like illegal downloading of motion pictures.

"Within the (film) industry, two vastly different strategies have taken shape to deter piracy. After watching the music recording industry suffer severe backlash for trying to enforce copyright laws against digital pirates, major movie studios aren't suing anyone but instead pouring millions of dollars into anti-piracy public relations campaigns. Conversely, the parties using the courts system to offset losses to digital piracy are chiefly pornography producers with plummeting profits estimated to have fallen as much as 40 percent in recent years."

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com

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