Feds search apartment of Guild member

Federal authorities searched the apartment of a Screen Actors Guild member last week suspected of uploading screeners of “The King’s Speech,” “The Black Swan” and other movies to the Pirate Bay site.

The search on April 19 of Wes DeSoto’s apartment was first reported on Wired’s Threat Level blog. According to an affadavit in support of obtaining a search warrant, seeking computer hard drives and other material, the FBI traced the source of one of the screeners, “The Fighter,” via identifying marks supplied to iTunes. Instead of sending DVDs, some studios sent codes to access titles online.

No charges have been filed. DeSoto told Variety he has not heard from authorities on whether any action will be taken, but he declined further comment on advice of his attorney. SAG issued a statement Tuesday saying, “To be effective, all members of the entertainment community must be especially vigilant and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards when it comes to this issue.”

The Motion Picture Assn. of America had no comment.

DeSoto told Wired that he was a “nobody in the online file sharing world. This investigation is excessive and a waste of tax dollars.”

During award season, just about every award season contender could be found on file sharing sites online, even if they were still in theaters or had yet to be released on homevideo.

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