Man Who Pirated ‘The Revenant’ Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million to 20th Century Fox

The Revenant
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A federal judge this week ordered a California man who had pleaded guilty to stealing copies of “The Revenant” and “The Peanuts Movie” from 20th Century Fox and sharing them illegally via a piracy website to pay the studio $1.12 million in restitution.

William Kyle Morarity, 31, of Lancaster, Calif., was sentenced for felony criminal copyright infringement after he admitted swiping screeners of the films when he was working on the studio’s lot last year. This week U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson sentenced him to eight months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation, in addition to the fine. Morarity had been facing a maximum sentence of up to three years in federal prison.

Using the screen name “clutchit,” Morarity uploaded “The Revenant” to a torrent website called Pass the Popcorn six days before the movie’s debut in a limited theatrical release on Christmas Day 2015, according to authorities. More than 1 million users downloaded the film over a six-week period, causing Fox to lose more than $1 million.

“The defendant’s illegal conduct caused significant harm to the victim movie studio,” Eileen M. Decker, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, said in a statement. “The fact that the defendant stole these films while working on the lot of a movie studio makes his crime more egregious.”

“The Revenant” ended up grossing $183.6 million at the U.S. box office, plus $349.3 million internationally, according to Box Office Mojo. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and star Leonardo DiCaprio both won Academy Awards for their work on the film.

According to officials, Morarity has agreed to assist the FBI in producing a public service announcement about the harms of copyright infringement and piracy. Morarity copied the Fox screeners onto a portable drive and uploaded the movies from his home computer on Dec. 17 and 19, 2015.

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  1. Chas says:

    Did this guy make any money from the upload, if not $1.12 million he’s pooped his pants?

  2. Alex Meyer says:

    Good!! This guy deserves this kind of punishment!!

  3. fnnng says:

    “More than 1 million users downloaded the film over a six-week period, causing Fox to lose more than $1 million.”

    Yeah, no. You’d have to prove that every single one of those people were otherwise going to pay to see it, which is absolutely not true. Piracy cases are still a joke because people in judiciary positions still don’t understand the technology.

    • Jack says:

      You don’t quite have it right either. If ALL those one million downloaders were to have paid for it, they would have lost more than $1million many times. The math they present represents $1million losses against one million people, meaning they each would have only paid $1 to see it. Given that you can’t see a new release in theater (let’s say it’s $8) or some may have waited to rent it (let’s say $5) then if they all did so and your inferring they assumed all would have, they’d be otherwise estimating losses between $5-8 million. Instead, with one million people downloading and stated $1million losses, that math assumes one in every five to eight viewers might have otherwise paid to see it, which is much more realistic.

  4. John says:

    Studios should go after more illegal movies piracy criminals, and be persistent. When Lionsgate lost millions in “Expendables 3” piracy, the company said it was going hard after the uploaders & downloaders, but nothing ever came out of it. The only way to force movie copyright laws is to hit these violators hard with criminal prosecution.

  5. peterblood71 says:

    Uploaded and got nothing from it except the brag factor, a $1.12 million dollar fine and jail time? Say that ended up working out so worth the tradeoff, well for a total loser nimrod without a life that is.

  6. amiiir says:

    who would ulpoad such a thing with his home pc?! dude you deserve to pay more than a million dollar

  7. Dunstan says:

    His picture is now part of the OED definition of “fucking moron.”

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