The FBI has finally busted the man allegedly responsible for leaking an unfinished copy of the popular “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” movie to the Internet, more than nine months after his crime.
The “incomplete and early version” of the movie appeared about three weeks before it was to be released in theaters — even though it had unedited scenes, missing special effects and missing music tracks. The video quality of the leaked version was reportedly better than initially suspected, which may have led to even more people downloading and viewing the unauthorized version.
According to the FBI, they are now tracking down others who may have played a role in swiping the movie from the 20th Century Fox studio. Additional arrests are likely.
“The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law; the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past,” the movie studio said in a statement.
The pirate received a stolen copy and then uploaded it to Megaupload, where thousands of people began to download and distribute the movie over bit torrent and other online sharing mediums.
If found guilty, Gilberto Sanchez, 47, a Bronx resident, could face up to three years in federal prison with fines up to $250,000. The film was released to United States theaters on May 1st, according to the studio, but it’s unknown how Sanchez came into possession of the pre-release cut.
For the most part, the MPAA has avoided prosecuting individual file sharers, and has instead focused on targeting people who steal and upload the videos online, making them widely available.