Man sentenced to a year in jail for Wolverine leak

Dec 20, 2011

Gilberto Sanchez found guilty of pirating X-Men film, to the chagrin of star Hugh Jackman

A NEW YORK man who admitted leaking an unfinished version of the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the internet has been sentenced to a year in prison in a sign that studios are getting tough over copyright theft, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Forty-nine-year-old Gilberto Sanchez, who describes himself as a glass fitter and musician, was arrested in 2009. Police had followed a data trail from a file-sharing website back to his computer after a 'workprint' copy of the latest instalment in the popular sci-fi series, starring Australian actor Hugh Jackman as the side-whiskered mutant, had appeared on the internet and spread like wildfire.

This unfinished version – in which the wires which suspended the actors during stunts had yet to be digitally painted out – was described by Jackman as "a Ferrari without a paintjob" when it emerged a month before the film's world premiere.

Jackman said he was "heartbroken" at the leak. The studio feared it would do serious damage to the film's box-office returns and energetically pursued those who had copied and distributed, culminating in the arrest of Sanchez.

Speaking to The New York Times in January 2010 after his arrest, Sanchez claimed he bought a pirate DVD of the film from a Korean hawker on the street to watch with his grandchildren and uploaded it to the internet for others to watch purely for prestige.

He complained then that he was being made a "scapegoat". He said that when the FBI knocked on the door of his Bronx home at 6am on December 16, 2009, he told them: "Talk to the Korean... you keep following the leads and you'll get to a warehouse."

After his sentencing, prosecutors revealed that Sanchez has a prior conviction for a similar offence – as well as previous sentences for a string of drugs charges. They said he "had been regularly uploading pirated movies for four or five years, and did not appear remorseful after charges were brought".

Perhaps Sanchez needed a more compelling defence. Twitter user @ivan_hernandez could have made a powerful case with his observation: "Injustice is the guy who leaked Wolverine: Origins serving a year in prison while the guys who made Wolverine: Origins walk the street free."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read more: