An Irvine man today agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of uploading a pre-release version of the movie “The Love Guru” to a website operated by a piracy group that made the movie widely available on the Internet.
Mischa Wynhausen, 31, agreed to plead guilty to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution in a plea agreement filed this morning in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Wynhausen becomes the second person charged in relation to the theft of the screener and its subsequent posting on the Internet. Earlier this year, Jack Yates, 28, of Porter Ranch, was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense of criminal copyright infringement.
Paramount Pictures was set to release the movie “The Love Guru” in theaters on June 20, 2008. According to court documents, a screener copy to promote the movie was prepared for the NBC program “The Tonight Show.” When the movie was being copied by a company hired by Paramount Pictures, Yates, who at the time was an employee of that company, illegally made a copy of the movie. Yates later distributed the copy of the film to others, who provided the movie to Wynhausen. Wynhausen uploaded the movie on June 19 and 20, 2008. Wynhausen’s conduct led to the movie being made available to Internet users.
Wynhausen is expected to make his initial court appearance in late January.
The plea agreement filed this morning states that the charge of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution carries a maximum statutory penalty of three years in federal prison. Taking into account Wynhausen’s cooperation during the investigation into the illegal uploading of the film, prosecutors have agreed that an appropriate sentence in this case is three years of probation.
The cases against Wynhausen and Yates are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Erik M. Silber
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
Release No. 09-149