Kerry Gonzalez, who illegally posted an unfinished version of The Hulk on the Internet several weeks prior to its theatrical release and who pled guilty to felony copyright infringement, was sentenced today for his crime by Judge Gerard E. Lynch of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Judge Lynch sentenced Gonzalez to six months home confinement, three years probation and fined him $2,000 and ordered him to pay $5,000 in restitution to Universal.
In issuing the sentence, Judge Lynch noted that this kind of criminal act contributes to broader behavior that causes massive harm to the motion picture industry. He emphasized that uploading films to the Internet was just as sleazy as stealing DVDs.
"This outcome sends a strong message to anyone who steals or abuses intellectual property by uploading or downloading it on the Internet," said Karen Randall, executive vice president and general counsel, Vivendi Universal Entertainment.
Ms. Randall continued, "In addition to home confinement, financial restitution and probation, Mr. Gonzalez pled guilty to a felony that will remain on his permanent record and undoubtedly have a profound effect on the rest of his life. This sentence clearly proves that the Internet is not an anonymous place, that illegal behavior is transparent and traceable and that we will pursue and hold accountable individuals who engage in this criminal behavior."
Mr. Gonzalez was contrite in his response to the Judge. He acknowledged that his terrible decision had led to the loss of his good name and to a significant financial burden. He stated that his actions had been devastating for his family and he also said that he wanted to use his experience to teach others about the consequences of piracy.
Jack Valenti, President and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, made the following statement on the sentencing.
"This sentencing makes clear that there are serious and permanent consequences for those who steal motion pictures. This should also puncture the myth that illegal activity on the Internet is 'safe' because it is untraceable. The actions of this individual, and others who engage in unauthorized uploading and downloading of films online, threaten the nearly one million men and women whose livelihoods rely on the motion picture industry, who have mortgages to pay and kids to send to college. Movie stealing hurts all of these Americans."
Gonzales representative Howard L. Berman commented as well.
"The prosecution tells Internet copyright thieves that their actions have serious consequences. Internet copyright piracy substantially impacts the livelihoods of all those involved in the motion picture industry, whether they be stuntmen, movie ushers, or Foley artists. Prosecution and punishment of those who cause this harm is just and I commend the prosecutor for using the tools Congress has given him."
Source: Vivendi Universal Entertainment
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