FBI finally catches up with the ‘The Revenant’ DVD screener leaker who leaked it to torrent website
Finally the insider who was leaking DVD screeners to torrent websites has been caught by FBI. A 31-year old man from Lancaster has been arrested following an FBI investigation into several leaked DVD-screeners. The man, who worked in the entertainment industry, pleaded guilty to uploading screener copies of The Revenant and The Peanuts Movie to the private BitTorrent tracker Pass The Popcorn.
After an FBI investigation notes that the Lancaster man took movie screeners from his studio job and uploaded “The Revenant” and “The Peanuts Movie” to a publicly accessible BitTorrent site. William Kyle Morarity, 31, agreed to plead guilty to copyright infringement for illegal posting the two movies to a BitTorrent website called “Pass the Popcorn” in December.
“As a result of the illegal upload, more than 1 million people were able to download ‘The Revenant,’ which caused Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to suffer losses of well over $1 million,” a Justice Department news release stated.
The torrent for “The Revenant” was posted online six days prior to its release in theaters making it number download on almost all torrent website. The movie is nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio.
According to the prosecutors, Moriarty copied the films onto a USB drive and took them home. After encoding the releases he uploaded The Revenant screener and The Peanuts Movie to the PTP tracker, with the username “clutchit.”
“As the Academy Awards ceremony this weekend highlights, the entertainment industry is the economic cornerstone of the Central District of California. Therefore, my office is committed to protecting its intellectual property,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The defendant’s conduct harmed the very industry that was providing his livelihood as well as the livelihood of others in Southern California.”
Morarity entered into a plea agreement filed in court Friday in which he agreed to plea guilty to felony uploading copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution.
“Stealing movies is not a victimless crime,” said David Bowdich, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI will continue to pursue those who steal intellectual property, a crime that negatively impacts the U.S. economy, and in the case of a movie leak, victimizes everyday workers in the entertainment industry.”
Though FBI has caught up with The Revenant DVD screener leaker, the Lancaster man doesn’t appear to be connected to the release group Hive-CM8, which had been at the forefront of leaking DVD screeners in December last year. Hive-CM8 leaked over a dozen screeners but The Revenant and The Peanuts Movie were not among their releases.
Moriarty is scheduled to be arraigned next month and faces a maximum prison sentence of three years.