Wednesday, December 16, 2009

‘X-Men’ Piracy Investigation Leads F.B.I. to Arrest Man From the Bronx; New York Times, 12/16/09

Brooks Barnes, New York Times; ‘X-Men’ Piracy Investigation Leads F.B.I. to Arrest Man From the Bronx:

"After a nine-month hunt, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested a Bronx man on Wednesday suspected of posting an unfinished version of the 20th Century Fox movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on the Web before it was released in theaters.

But the investigation into the source of the piracy, to find out who actually took the copy of the movie from the studio, is continuing and more arrests are possible, according to Laura Eimiller, an F.B.I. spokeswoman.

Gilberto Sanchez, 47, was arrested at his home at about 6 a.m., according to Ms. Eimiller. Mr. Sanchez was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of uploading the unfinished copy of the movie to a Web site,, last spring.

If convicted, Mr. Sanchez faces three years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or gross loss attributable to the offense, whichever is greater, according to the United States attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Lisa E. Feldman, an assistant attorney from that office’s Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes unit will prosecute the case. She said that Mr. Sanchez has been released on bail.

The unfinished version of “Wolverine” — missing many special effects and using temporary sound — was leaked to the Internet on March 31. Within hours, the $150 million movie, set to open on May 1, had been watched by thousands of people online, setting off a panic inside Fox about the potential box office impact.

Ultimately, Fox estimated that the file was downloaded 15 million times."

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