14 December – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A Huntington Beach man pleaded guilty this morning to a federal charge of uploading a copy of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith onto the Internet the night before the movie’s worldwide opening in May 2005.
Marc Hoaglin, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, a violation of the recently enacted Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 which made uploading a movie prior to its release on DVD a federal felony.
Appearing before United States District Judge Edward J. Rafeedie in Los Angeles, Hoaglin admitted that he obtained a pre-release copy of Star Wars: Episode III from a co-worker on May 17, 2005. This version of the movie had been stolen a few days earlier from a post-production company hired by Lucasfilm, the movie’s copyright holder, to put finishing touches on the film. Hoaglin uploaded the movie to a website from which he had previously obtained free pirated movies. When he posted the film, Hoaglin bragged on the website, “I finally got one [before] it’s out.”
“This prosecution is only the latest in a long series of cases filed by this office to punish those who steal the intellectual property of artists, scientists, designers and businesses,” said United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang. “The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act has allowed us to aggressively prosecute those engaging in unauthorized downloading and uploading of films, music and other copyrighted works. We will continue to vigorously pursue intellectual property thieves.”
Hoaglin is the first person in Los Angeles and only the second in the nation to be convicted under the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. As a result of his conviction, Hoaglin faces up to three years in federal prison. Judge Rafeedie is scheduled to sentence Hoaglin on March 6.
This case was investigated by the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Hoffstadt