Man to Plead Guilty for Illegal Uploads of ‘The Revenant,’ ‘Peanuts’

The Revenant Movie Reivew
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A Lancaster man has agreed to plead guilty to copyright infringement for illegally posting screener versions of  “The Revenant” and “The Peanuts Movie” to a publicly accessible website.

Fox said Friday that as a result of the illegal upload, more than 1 million people were able to download “The Revenant,” which caused the studio to sustain losses of well over $1 million.

William Kyle Morarity, 31, used the screen name “clutchit” in uploading the screeners. He admitted to criminal conduct in a plea agreement filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Morarity obtained the screeners without authorization while at work on a studio lot. He copied the screeners onto a portable drive and uploaded the movies from his home computer on Dec. 17 and 19 to a BitTorrent website called “Pass the Popcorn,” which allowed downloading via a peer-to-peer network.

“The Revenant” was uploaded six days prior to its first limited release in theaters on Christmas.

“As the Academy Awards ceremony this weekend highlights, the entertainment industry is the economic cornerstone of the Central District of California,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “Therefore, my office is committed to protecting its intellectual property. The defendant’s conduct harmed the very industry that was providing his livelihood as well as the livelihood of others in Southern California.”

Morarity agreed to plead guilty to uploading copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. Morarity will be arraigned on the charge next month.

“Stealing movies is not a victimless crime,” said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. “The FBI will continue to pursue those who steal intellectual property, a crime that negatively impacts the U.S. economy, and in the case of a movie leak, victimizes everyday workers in the entertainment industry.”

The case against Morarity is the product of an FBI investigation.

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  1. Kevin says:

    You know everybody makes mistakes. He will pay for his mistakes but to the people that post comments and throw stones especially the one that said that film it for hundred million dollars. You’re the biggest idiot in the world. No film like that would ever make $400 million. Obviously you don’t work in this industry. The film had no legs. And it wasn’t going to do well at the Academy Awards. Director actor movie does not make. Been doing this for over 30 years.

  2. PICturePlay says:

    Somehow I wanna thank the guy. He took a very big risk, so million of people who may have not money or accessibility to movie theaters, can watch Revenant.

    Revenant itself is a quite good movie, but it’s boring and pretentious. Kinda waste your money to watch Revenant in theaters.

    The hype is so overrated.

  3. Gurubu says:

    Is it ironic the Revenant was filmed in Canada so the studio could save money then the US Attorney provides that statement.

  4. Joe Dub says:

    Whoops! Looks like SOMEONE – though I’ll refrain from naming names (hint: the article does that just fine and dandy) – won’t be working in the same line of work–not in the slightest bit–or one that’s even remotely-related at any point during the remainder of his God-given life… Actually, one could just as easily say that the thing or entity that has actually given him life these past however many years, however long he’s supported himself through his industry job, is the very same one he took advantage of, or rather attempted to help others to take advantage of (or attempted to LOL)–what he got or would have gotten, besides some – whatever – form of gratification and sick and misguided sense of accomplishment isn’t at all clear. But I would venture to say he gained nothing, yet has lost everything (or will)–and rightfully so.

    That’s what you get when you bite the hand that feeds you. Kid is clearly too stupid for his own good; he wouldn’t have lasted much longer in the industry environment much longer anyhow. Weed out the idiots, make room for those who not only are more fit for various jobs (yet are who lose out the majority of the time in the end), but who also just plain deserve said jobs more in the first place. Not saying he qualified as one of the silver spoon sorts, but he was certainly no more intelligent than the more able and deserving sorts that I speak of.

    No matter where he works, where he’s from… It’s all connected. And he got his comeuppance.

    • Gurubu says:

      I understand where you’re coming from but I shed no tears for the movie industry. This film has pulled in almost 400 MILLION. You’re happy he’s in trouble so his job can be filled by another person fantastic. They are ruthless with copyright if you haven’t paid attention where you can easily find stories of regular people being fined with hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions for having a handful of movies/music that if bought outright would prob cost several hundreds.

      He got caught, and if you do the crime you pay the time. Just saying, being happy for someone being nailed over uploading a movie to the internet for most likely NO personal gain aside from people having access to the film online bothers me. A lot of the jobs in the movie industry is a lot of TEMPORARY work. The main people working full time are the lawyers. I’m sure you’d be happy if he went straight to jail for 10+ years over uploading a movie, we might as well put him in the same camp as bank robbers, murderers, etc.

      Kudos to him for taking the risk, and possibly making a film available to people who might not have the money (or accessibility) to see it.

      • Matt says:

        “Kudos to him for taking the risk, and possibly making a film available to people who might not have the money (or accessibility) to see it.”

        The film would eventually become available on streaming services and DVD at which point these people you speak of (who apparently live in caves) would have access to it. If they don’t have a couple of dollars to rent or go see a movie their problems are far greater than not being able to see movies.

        A great portion of the 400 million you mentioned goes to produce other movies which in turn keeps thousands of people employed in the entertainment industry. Just because movies look fun doesn’t mean they are not work, it takes hard work, many long hours and hundreds of people to put one movie together. Regardless of how the finished product turns out, and for many reasons I don’t think I need to mention, we need entertainment in our lives. More piracy means less money to produce entertainment and to pay the aforementioned crews.

        You wouldn’t want a thief to steal everything you worked hard for then profit from it so why is it ok in your logic to do the same to people in entertainment industry? The person who uploaded The Revenant is not a martyr or a hero, pirates profit from uploading stolen goods. He deserves the jail time and more.

  5. HRH Queen Hillary says:

    Good to see US law overrides UK sovereignty.

  6. Daniel says:

    Just be careful who you name as the victims?
    Other businesses feed the Californian economy, too.

  7. Jeff Downing says:

    Is this a prosecution under the DCMA?

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