A man named Gilberto Sanchez has been sentenced to serve one year in federal prison after pleading guilty of illegally sharing the final workprint of the 2009 movie to the internet.
The man behind the 2009 leak case of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" has been punished. Gilberto Sanchez, a New Yorker who admitted to illegally uploading the unfinished copy of the 20th Century Fox film, was sentenced to one year in federal prison on Monday afternoon, December 19.
The sentence was said to be one of the hardest punishments given for an internet piracy case. Lisa E. Feldman, the assistant of U.S. Attorney told Variety, "We believe this is the longest sentence ever imposed for a defendant charged with uploading a single copyrighted film to the internet."
Sancez, who lived in Bronx, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow of spreading a nearly final "workprint" copy of the movie to Megaupload in March 2009, around one month before the film was released. The judge described his actions as "extremely serious."
"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 intertet, resulting in up to millions of infringements," said the prosecutors in court documents.
After uploading the film, Sanchez also publicized it by sharing links on two public sites, allowing anyone to have free access to the movie. U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said, "The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrencee to would-be Internet pirates. The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation."
The leak case had stolen the attention back in 2009. Despite the case, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", which was released on May 1, 2009, grossed a massive $373 million worldwide. It led some film observers to debate on whether the leak impacted the film's performance on box office.