December 19, 2011 5:20pm PT by Matthew Belloni
'X-Men: Wolverine' Pirate Sentenced to Year in Federal Prison
The New York man who admitted to uploading an unfinished copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet has been sentenced to one year in federal prison, the U.S. attorney's office said Monday.
Gilberto Sanchez, who said he bought a copy of the 2009 Hugh Jackman superhero movie on a street corner near his home in the Bronx, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow, who described his actions as "extremely serious."
"The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates," U.S. attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement. "The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation."
The Sanchez case received a ton of attention in 2009 because the unfinished print of the entire Wolverine film had appeared online about a month before its theatrical release. The 20th Century Fox movie ended up grossing $373 million worldwide, leading some observers to debate whether the leak impacted (or even added to) its overall performance.
Sanchez pleaded guildy in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution. He admitted he put the workprint of the film on Megaupload.com in March 2009 and publicized the posting on other websites.
"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 Internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements," prosecutors said in court documents.
The original source of the Wolverine workprint has never been revealed.