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Man arrested for allegedly uploading 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'

A man charged by an L.A. grand jury with illegally uploading a Hollywood movie to the Internet before its theatrical release was arrested today on suspicion of violating federal copyright law, authorities said.

Gilberto Sanchez, 47, was arrested by FBI agents at his home in New York nearly a week after a federal grand jury in Los Angeles charged him with uploading a pirated copy of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine" to Megaupload, an Internet file-sharing website.

Sanchez is expected to make his initial appearance today before a U.S. magistrate in New York.

If convicted, Sanchez faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. He also faces a fine of $250,000 or an amount equal to twice the gross gain or gross loss attributable to the offense, whichever is greater.

The arrest grew out of a case investigated by the FBI in Los Angeles, authorities said.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Comments () | Archives (17)

It is absolutely imperative that intellectual property rights are fully protected under the law. Studios employ thousands of people and invest millions of dollars in each film they produce. And, at the touch of a computer and a few clicks, their property can be stolen by every kid, criminal, and grandma... And, it's not right for anyone to steal...

That said, there still ought to be some sort of common sense applied to how these types of crimes get prosecuted and how they get enforced. Social education plays a big part in this as well, because a civilized society with citizens with ethics & social conscience nurtures respect for intellectual property, and will result in lower such offenses- monitored or not. Countries such as Japan, are an example of such... The success of online stores, such as the iTunes store also show that if priced properly, people are willing to do the right thing and pay for their entertainment...

In China, it's a death sentence for selling any rock or stone or pebble taken from any landmark considered to be a national monument, such as the Great Wall. The U.S. doesn't resort to the cruelty of executing offenders for crimes such as theft or vandalism.... And, thank God we are more civilized than that...

On one hand, intellectual property owners need to focus enforcement on commercial and habitual offenders- ie those people systematically, blatantly, and routinely disregarding IP laws and freely exchanging copyrighted content illegally.

On the other hand, prosecuting ordinary individuals for an occasional offense- ought not to be a "death sentence" or ruin their lives either... A soccer mom or college student who is occasionally abusing the system that gets caught needs to be prosecuted, but in a manner that sets out to educate them and correct their behavior for the better good of society- not to ruin their lives forever.

I'm not familiar with the specifics of this particular case in question in the above article. But, I just thought I'd sound in on the topic in general- since it's rather interesting...


Understand that you can download anything off newsgroup and i mean anything. Copyright laws are a joke, and will always be. The only reason why this person was caught was because he had no idea what he was doing.

First: "Wolverine" did great at the box office regardless of this morons actions.

Second: Would it have done better? Who knows.
What we do know is the film in question was a pretty lousy sequel compared to the other two. It actually exceeded my box office expectations (which I attributed to just enough action and fans love of the Wolverine character).

Third: the film he uploaded was an unfinished version and I suspect actually drove a lot of folks interested in seeing the final version to the theatre just to see the final EFX work. Kids and nerds love this kind of stuff. This idiot may have stumbled onto the most amazingly effective marketing tool yet for an effects laden grade C film.

Fourth: while it's unclear if this sort of thing helps/hurts a film (personally I think it helps), this guy has got to go down. He's the canary in the coal mine to those who might wish to emulate his foolish behavior. Theft is theft. Enough!

Fifth: The major studios should band together and do an honest, non-biased study regarding how illegal downloads truly impact their business. Fear mongering and industry hysteria aside, every major release is illegally uploaded these days, but box office remains robust.
Folks do seem to value the communal experience of watching a film together. People also seem to enjoy it when a theatre is state of the art (which, I'm sorry, is usually miles beyond the average home theater).

In the end: the films being most effected by illegal downloads are films without the "gee whiz" CGI factor.
Small films whose lifeblood are a few hundred theaters and decent DVD sales.
They may be the ultimate victims of this kind of bootlegging schmuck.

Will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

meh - most of these films are worthless anyway.

Uh... The guy was UP-loading. Not Downloading. Serious difference there. It only takes one guy to upload and then millions can download. That makes his crime a thousand, or a million times worse then a simple download pirate.

Please... the stink of self-righteousness is unbearable. Who here hasn't made or ripped a copy of a DVD (or CD, tape, etc.) for/from a friend?

Instead of worrying about always making huge profits, maybe the movie companies should figure out how take advantage of the internet technology to provide movie fans with less expensive entertainment alternatives.

Really? The FBI doesn't have anything better to do than this?

what? that's illegal? who knew? seriously Hollywood needs to get a clue and realise that people do not like to see movies in theatres where they are surrounded by gross popcorn munching, candy wrapper opening, soda slurping morons. you could not pay me to give up my sofa and flat screen for those horrible places. i will continue to download pirate copies of everything until Hollywood figures out how to deliver new content directly to my home on the day it is released. the infrastructure is there, i am willing to pay for it, they just need to do it!

Does anyone really believe kids actually purchase any of the music they listen to or movies they watch? I don’t know one child (folks under the age of 18) who buys CDs or DVDs; they get all their entertainment free from the Internet.

Now, that doesn’t make it right, it is just a fact. Going after one person for uploading a Hollywood blockbuster doesn’t even put a scratch into the surface of what is really going on.

The folks that need to be put under the microscope are all the companies that offer the ability to upload artists’ intellectual goods. The folks who run companies like Rapidshare should be closely examined. They have warnings about illegal uploading but will turn a blind eye until someone complains. Until then, they rake in millions of dollars for their service. There are literally hundreds of sites that offer the ability for ANYONE to upload films and music.

Why no one points a finger in their direction is beyond comprehension. Going after this one guy is like fighting a hurricane with one sandbag. C’mon, Hollywood, pull your head out of the sand and set your sites a little higher.

Content theft is costing Los Angeles residents more than anywhere else in the WORLD!!!

The thousands of jobs and lower salaries are the result of thieves like this guy. He stole from you and he stole from me and my neighbors.

I hope they max him and everyone else they catch!

Wow. "absolutely imperative" "thieves" "crime ... a million times worse" "thousands of lost jobs." Maybe we can make up for those lost jobs by, say, increasing our far too modest prison holdings.


Where exactly were you Hollywood clowns when millions of regular people lost their jobs due to the Internet?

Were you whining like babies when our jobs got shipped off to India?

Where were you when our manufacturing jobs were shipped off to China?

I'll tell you what you were doing. You were making movies about the glory of using dope, "fighting" for the right to kill babies (53 million children and counting), and putting lefties in to run the state and federal government.

My tears will runneth over when the last of you jerks gets canned and replaced by someone in Bollywood.

Tears of JOY!

Boo hoo hoo the Hollywood elite are crying because they're going to have to buy BMW's for their kids this Christmas instead of Porsche's.
Maybe instead of worrying about piracy they should concentrate on making movies that don't suck. It goes to show who really lines the pockets of politicians when the FBI is fighting people who download movies instead of terrorists.

Vote with your wallets people and NOT spend a dime on worthless movies!

The Internet is free and will always be.

Who cares? The movies coming out of the talentless industry are so bad why would anyone want to pirate them? Wait two months and most of the junk is on netlfix. What's the rush to view this slop? If it were newspaper - they'd be wrapping fish with it or wiping your...

Violating copyright laws like this is increasingly serious and damaging to our entire economy. Here in LA, tens of thousands of jobs depend on creative products such as this. And it's not stars I'm talking about. It's truck drivers, caterers and carpenters that have the most to lose.

What people don't get is that the entire US economy depends on copyright and intellectual property to maintain our position in the world. Without movies, software, biotech or R&D, what has the US got left? Nothing.

Put him away and make him an example. This is far more serious than you defenders think.

First, a couple of facts:

Twice as many films were released this year as five years ago.

US box office is going to set a record with over $10,000,000,000 in sales (yes, that's ten billion).

That's before DVD sales, cable and online sales.

There is no proof that piracy has hurt sales. That $800 of pirated music on the ipod cannot be realistically translated as lost sales. Some studies have even indicated that people who copy media actually end up purchasing more when given the opportunity to do so legally and easily.

It's time to stop blaming consumers and give them what they want: easy, convenient access to movies and music in a format that is enjoyable. If I buy a movie, I want to watch it on my computer, ipod and TV, I don't expect to be hamstrung to one format or have to buy it three times. That type of DRM is what leads me to piracy. If a show is on TV, make it available for streaming or purchase. Otherwise I'll look to download it. TV was not the downfall of the movie industry. VHS was not the end of the movie industry. DVDs weren't either. Each step of the way the MPAA fights consumers and wants to "make examples" out of fans. The business model is changing, though, and the players who stop fighting and figure out how to work it will still be around in ten years.

And to the folks who are commenting up above who are this to the end of days: Quit being lackeys of the MPAA and realize there is a world west of La Brea and that we do live in the 21st century.


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