Sentencing for online film piracy

November 2003

Film & Television, Internet, Record Labels

A New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to illegally copying and posting a digital version of summer action movie “The Hulk” on the Internet received a three-year probation, was fined us $2,000 and was ordered to serve six months confinement in his home. He also must pay $5,000 in restitution to Universal, the company that produced and distributed the movie. Kerry Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of copyright infringement. He admitted to receiving an unfinished copy of the movie from a friend who in turn sourced the ‘work print’ from a third party who worked for an advertising agency. No one from the ad agency has been charged. The FBI traced the Internet copy back to Gonzalez through an encoded “security tag” on the print.
The Motion Picture Association of America already puts the number of films pirated off the Internet at 400,000 to 600,000 a day, and no one has calculated what that costs the industry. Jack Valenti, the president of the MPPA, went before Congress in March to warn that “America’s crown jewels – its intellectual property – are being looted”.


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