Exhuming the lede: 48 year old Gilberto Sanchez will find out in September how long his unfortunate ass will sit in prison, and how many gazillions of dollars for which Fox will hold him accountable after leaking a pirated copy of a work-in-progress Wolverine print.
…so it probably says something about me that I’ve never been in a real fight in my life (sorry Tyler Durden). It probably says even more about me that the closest I’ve ever come to being in one was because of a piracy argument started because of the leaked Wolverine work-print. I guess people have kicked the shit out of each other over much dumber things like religion and politics, so that doesn’t bother me all that much.
Just the same, it’s amazing the logical hoops some will jump through and the rationalizing gymnastics many will complete to find some ass-backwards way of justifying theft in the name of cheapness and laziness. My favorite have always been the faux-crusaders who claim they’re doing something good for an industry by snatching content from file-sharing services, or the ones (including my would-be sparring partner) who felt that you can’t steal something if it’s just copying 1s and 0s. Maybe those are the worst– the ones too dumb to wrap their brains around the concepts of fraud and theft that don’t involve something tangible.
I don’t what kind of pirate Gilberto Sanchez was, but I suspect he’s just a silly guy (a glass installer and musician by-day apparently) who realized he had something unique and special when he bought a pirated copy of Wolverine from a street vendor in NY. He probably didn’t put a lot of thought into things before he uploaded the copy to the internet and started spreading it around movie message boards- probably not a lot of bullshit philosophical manifestos about intellectual property in his head. Just another guy shouting “first” and feeling special on the internet, except the stakes were in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, with the federal government and one of the biggest studios in the world intimately involved. Hosting a pirated movie is one thing, hosting a one-of-a-kind, pirated copy of movie months from releases make you a big red target- one who can’t hide amongst hundreds of thousands of similarly anonymous pirates.
Fox still hasn’t coughed up the name of the Post-Production house that leaked the print in the first place, so whoever stole the film from the facility originally remains unknown (publicly- undoubtedly the studios know). For his part though, Sanchez could get three years and face a fine anywhere from $250k to whatever Fox figures the damages to be. All for ripping a DVD and tossing it on MegaUpload.
All I can say is that this guy is dumb, and with so much tragedy happening in the world I’ve got not even an ounce of sympathy left over for him. I don’t believe he should have his life ruined over one dumb night of uploading, but a max of three years sounds surprisingly low, considering the music industry and the RIAA’s history of trying to have folks executed while attempting to levy fines that exceed the total GDP of the entire planet onto a single person. This is what happens when you leave the gray playground created by the digital pains of an industry’s changing business model, and enter into real-life, out-and-out theft. Never before has that line been so easy to trip over.
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