LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) -- A federal judge sentenced a New York man Monday to a year in prison for pirating an incomplete "workprint" copy of the film "X-Men origins: Wolverine" before it hit theaters.
Gilberto Sanchez, 49, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Margaret M. Morrow in Los Angeles. Morrow described the offense as "extremely serious" and imposed a year of supervised release and computer restrictions on top of the 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."
When Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, he admitted to uploading the Wolverine film to a website called www.megaupload.com in March 2009. After the upload, he posted links to it on public websites to drive traffic to the film.
Sanchez upoladed the workprint of the Twentieth Century Fox superhero movie more than a month before it was set to be released. The man has a prior conviction for a similar offense, according to a Justice Department news release. He had regularly uploaded pirated films for at least four years and "did not appear remorseful after the charges were brought," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
"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 nternet, resulting in up to millions of infringements," prosecutors said in court documents.