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Wolverine pirate sentenced to Prison

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Remember the brouhaha that erupted when a copy of “X-Men Origins : Wolverine” was leaked onto the internet before it’s release? It didn’t ultimately hurt the movie too much (in fact, I think it hurt Roger Friedman’s career more so than Fox) but needless to say it was rather unfortunate for everyone involved to have folks taste the giant cookie before it was fully baked.

While some might argue some involved in the rather lackluster film should be joining him, good to hear the guy responsible for uploading the workprint of “Wolverine” onto the internet has been sentenced to prison.

Gilberto Sanchez, 49, who resides in The Bronx and who used screen names that were variations on “skillz,” will spend one year in the lock-up.

“The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”

Sanchez “uploaded the workprint 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,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

This dude uploaded the movie to megaupload.com, about a month before it was due to hit cinemas, and then promoted the link to the file on a couple of high-hitting movie download websites.

“Although Fox was able to get defendant’s Wolverine Workprint removed from his Megaupload account within approximately one day, by then, the damage was done and the film had proliferated like wildfire throughout the Internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements,” prosecutors said in court documents.”

Look, the film would’ve ended up online the first weekend of release anyway – but I think the fact that it was leaked so early, and with such intent, is the real factor here. It has to be, I mean you don’t see the FBI trying to track down the chap that upload “Horrid Henry : The Movie” to the torrent sites, do you? (Though that could be because that served as the film’s only marketing, thus helping reach the masses).

In all honesty, I know how much it hurts to have something you’ve poured blood, sweat, tears and financial loans into only to see it uploaded onto the internet where folks can watch it for free. I’ve had a couple of my films hit the internet shortly after release. Every time someone downloads one of those movies, it’s one less satchel of chicken noodle soup my daughter gets at grocery time. Well, not really… but I think you get the point.

So, what do you guys think? Is prison a fair sentence for the “Wolverine” wrongdoer? And which movies do you think the inmates will be requesting Sanchez to secure for them?

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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