With roughly two billion active users per month, Facebook is by far the largest social networking site around.
While most of the content posted to the site is relatively harmless, some people use it to share things they are not supposed to.
This is also what 21-year-old Trevon Maurice Franklin from Fresno, California, did early last year. Just a week after the box-office hit Deadpool premiered in theaters, he shared a pirated copy of the movie on the social network.
Franklin, who used the screen name “Tre-Von M. King,” saw his post go viral as it allegedly reached five million views. This didn’t go unnoticed by Twentieth Century Fox, and soon after the feds were involved as well.
The FBI began to investigate the possibly criminal Facebook post and decided to build a case. This eventually led to an indictment, and the alleged “pirate” was arrested soon after.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, which released the news a few hours ago, states that Franklin faces up to three years in prison for the alleged copyright infringement.
“Franklin is charged in a one-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 7 with reproducing and distributing a copyrighted work, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison,” the office wrote in a press release.
According to comments on Facebook, posted last year, several people warned “Tre-Von M. King” that it wasn’t wise to post copyright-infringing material on Facebook. However, Franklin said he wasn’t worried that he would get in trouble.
While the case is significant, there are also plenty of questions that remain unanswered.
Was the defendant involved in recording the copyright infringing copy? Was it already widely available elsewhere? Are the reported five million “views” people who watched a large part of the movie, or is this just the number of people who might have seen it in their feeds?
Thus far we have not seen a copy of the indictment in the court records, but a follow-up may be warranted when it becomes available.