Second "Love Guru" pirate to plead guilty

Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:59am EST
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A second person has agreed to plead guilty in the case involving a copy of the Mike Myers bomb "The Love Guru" leaking on the Internet a day before its theatrical release.

The whole affair could serve as a cautionary tale to folks who abuse their access to unreleased films, even when their motivation might be as innocuous as to, say, be the life of a party.

Mischa Wynhausen, 31, of Irvine, Calif., is set to make his felony plea in the next couple of months, and it's agreed he'll serve three years' probation for the crime of uploading the Paramount Pictures movie to the Internet.

Wynhausen got the copy through family members of Jack Yates, a 28-year-old employee at Los Angeles Duplication & Broadcasting. Paramount had engaged that company to make clips that were to air on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," but Yates decided to take an extra copy himself for screening at a family gathering.

It was a terrible miscalculation by Yates, leading to investigations by his employer and the FBI, and to his arrest.

Yates pled guilty to a misdemeanor for illegally distributing the movie to others, served six months in a federal prison, and was released September 21.

While Wynhausen's crime of posting a film illegally on the Internet was more substantial than was the crime committed by Yates -- a felony, in fact -- unlike Yates, he'll serve no prison time. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said the reason in part stems from the fact that Yates originally tried to obstruct the investigation by lying to the FBI, while Wynhausen was cooperative.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Silber wouldn't discuss a motive for the crimes, except to say that no one involved seemed to profit from it monetarily. But according to an affidavit, Yates brought his unauthorized copy of the movie for viewing at a birthday party for his grandmother. From there, it went to a cousin and then to Wynhausen.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Mike Myers gestures at the premiere of "The Love Guru" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>