'The Revenant' Pirate Avoids Prison, Fined $1M

The ex-studio employee who pirated 'The Revenant' and 'The Peanuts Movie' won't go to jail.
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The man responsible for more than 1 million illegal downloads of The Revenant won't go to jail.

William Kyle Morarity in February pleaded guilty to felony copyright infringement for illegally posting screener versions of the Leonardo DiCaprio film and The Peanuts Movie online before they were released in theaters.

Morarity on Monday was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson to eight months’ home detention, plus two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $1.12 million in restitution to 20th Century Fox, according to a press release from the office of Eileen M. Decker, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

Morarity — known online as "clutchit" — was working for a studio when he stole screeners of the films, a detail not lost on Decker.

“The film industry creates thousands of jobs in Southern California,” says Decker. “The defendant’s illegal conduct caused significant harm to the victim movie studio. The fact that the defendant stole these films while working on the lot of a movie studio makes his crime more egregious.”

As part of his plea deal, Morarity also taped a PSA about pirating.

"Morarity agreed to assist the FBI in the production of a public service announcement to assist the government in educating the public about the harms of copyright infringement and the illegal uploading of movies that are the legal property of the movie studio," states the release.

Government prosecutors had recommended Morarity serve 12 months in custody, but his attorneys argued house arrest would be more appropriate given his familial circumstances. Morarity's unemployment benefits are currently supporting his family, which includes a wife and four children age six or younger — one of whom has severe autism according to court documents. Given the family's financial situation, it's unclear how exactly Morarity will be expected to pay his seven-figure fine.

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