"Wolverine" pirate pleads guilty in copyright case

Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:29pm EDT
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A New York man who uploaded an unfinished copy of the 2009 blockbuster "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" has pleaded guilty to felony copyright infringement.

Gilberto Sanchez, a glass installer and musician, uploaded a work print of Fox's hit superhero movie a month before its May 2009 release. Sanchez pleaded guilty at a hearing in federal court. He will be sentenced on September 19 and faces up to three years in jail and a $250,000 fine (or twice the gross gain or loss attributable to the offense).

Sanchez, 48, was indicted in December 2009 on one count of illegally uploading an unfinished work print of Wolverine to the file-sharing website Megaupload.com. Under the screen name "SkillyGilly," Sanchez posted the movie and promoted it on several movie forums. Fox and the FBI tracked down the copy and ultimately determined it was a work-print tape that had been brought to an unidentified post-production house in March of 2009.

Confronted, Sanchez admitted he uploaded the film and that he knew it was illegal. He told the New York Times that he bought a DVD of the film for $5 from a street vendor in the Bronx. The name of the post-production house that served as the source of the leak has never been revealed. "Wolverine" grossed $373 million worldwide for Fox.

"The federal government takes movie piracy very seriously," assistant U.S. attorney Lisa Feldman told The Hollywood Reporter. "The fact that we prosecuted this case demonstrates the government's effort to work with the entertainment industry in combating such intellectual property crimes."