December 20 2011
LOS ANGELES – A New York man who admitted illegally uploading to the Internet a pirated, nearly final “workprint” copy of the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was sentenced this afternoon to one year in federal prison.
Gilberto Sanchez, 49, who resides in The Bronx and who used screen names that were variations on “skillz,” was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, who described the offense as “extremely serious.” In addition to the prison term, Judge Morrow imposed one year of supervised release and numerous computer restrictions.
“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.
Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution. When he pleaded guilty, Sanchez admitted that he uploaded a “workprint” copy of the copyrighted “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” to www.Megaupload.com in March 2009, about one month before the motion picture was released in theaters. After uploading the Wolverine movie, Sanchez publicized the upload by posting links on two publicly available websites, so that anyone who clicked on the links would have access to the movie and be able to download it. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation owns the copyright to the movie.
“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.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Lisa E. Feldman
Computer and Intellectual Property Crimes Section