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‘Wolverine’ pirate gets one year in federal prison

Record-sentence is longest for single-film upload

The New York man who illegally uploaded an unfinished version of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009 has been sentenced to one year in federal prison, one of the harshest punishments ever handed down for Internet piracy.

Bronx resident Gilberto Sanchez was found guilty of uploading a nearly final “workprint” copy of the film in March 2009 — with several unfinished effects sequences — more than one month before its theatrical release.

“We believe this is the longest sentence ever imposed for a defendant charged with uploading a single copyrighted film to the Internet,” assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa E. Feldman told Variety. Feldman works with the cyber and intellectual property crimes unit in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

Sanchez made the film available for download to Megaupload.com for about a day before Fox had it removed. He pleaded guilty in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution.

Sanchez’s upload elicited widespread surprise in Hollywood and was seen as one of the industry’s most damaging incidents of piracy. Legal briefs describe the upload as “the single worst case of pre-theatrical release piracy Fox has experienced to date.” The studio spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and trying to contain the spread of the illegal upload.

The movie was downloaded an estimated 20 million times.