Two Californian men have been charged with uploading leaked copies of Oscar-nominated Hollywood movies to the Internet.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, yesterday a federal grand jury indicted Derek Hawthorne of Moorpark and Owen Moody of San Marcos on federal copyright violation charges.
Hawthorne is charged with uploading ‘Australia’ to a torrent site known as Movie Hogs and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ to Demonoid.com. Moody is charged with uploading the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire” to The Pirate Bay.
The pair have been contacted by the FBI who ordered them to surrender to authorities next week. The charges are ‘Uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution’ which is a term under the tough Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, previously used to jail Star Wars uploaders at the now-defunct EliteTorrents site.
They face a possible punishment of three years in jail and fines of $250,000.
Authorities also arrested a third man last week. Jack Yates of Porter Ranch, an employee at a Los Angeles duplication company, is accused of illegally copying the movie ‘The Love Guru’. Yates was asked to copy the movie by Paramount so that Jay Leno could show a clip on his show but allegedly he also made a copy for himself which he passed to friends, one of which uploaded the movie to the Internet.
It’s alleged that Yates lied to the FBI so he faces stiffer punishment than the previously mentioned pair. The offense of copying the movie carries a sentence of up to a year in jail but for lying to the authorities he could get five years. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 16 2009.