Gonzalez sentenced to home confinement, to pay fines

Kerry Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty to uploading “The Hulk” to the Internet two weeks before it was released in theaters, has avoided jail time.

On Friday a judge sentenced him to six months of home confinement, three years of probation, a $2,000 fine and $5,000 restitution to Universal Pictures.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to felony copyright infringement June 25, making him the first person convicted on criminal charges for posting a Hollywood movie online.

Judge Gerald Lynch of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York could have imposed a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Still, U was happy with the sentence. “This outcome sends a strong message to anyone who steals or abuses intellectual property by uploading it on the Internet,” said Karen Randall, exec veep and general counsel for Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

MPAA prexy Jack Valenti also hailed the punishment as “serious and (with) permanent consequences.” He added, “The actions of this individual, and others who engage in unauthorized uploading and downloading of films online threaten the nearly 1 million men and women whose livelihoods rely on the motion picture industry.”

Gonzalez, 25, of Hamilton, N.J., was passed along a work copy of “The Hulk” from a friend of an employee at a Gotham ad firm hired to craft the pic’s marketing strategy. After Gonzalez uploaded it to a relatively obscure chatroom, copies began circulating more widely on Internet file-sharing services.

The leak of the unfinished version of the pic was especially nettlesome to U when it sparked criticism of the film’s effects on several fan Web sites prior to its release.

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