Gilberto Sanchez, the Bronx man who illegally uploaded the workprint version of Fox Pictures’ ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ was sentenced yesterday evening to one year in a federal penitentiary. Sanchez, 49, was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, who described Sanchez’ actions as “extremely serious”.
Sanchez claims that he purchased the workprint on a streetcorner near his home. He then admits to uploading the video to his Megaupload account and posting links to various other sites so that people could find and download the movie.
“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.
The lawsuit against Sanchez got a lot of attention in 2009 because the workprint version of ‘Wolverine’ hit torrent and download sites a good month before the actual film even hit theaters. When ‘Wolverine’ ended up making $373 million at the box office, there was speculation as to whether Sanchez’ upload hurt or helped the movie in its theatrical run.
And while I personally think Sanchez should have been given a more harsh sentence (like maybe being handed over to a certain short Canadian with a penchant for chomping cigars), it is a step in the right direction in the war against internet piracy. According to US Attorney André Birotte Jr., “The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates. The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.” I should sure as heck hope so!