Sentenced this week in Wolverhampton Crown Court, 25-year-old Philip Dank received a sentence of nearly three years for physically filming action film ‘Fast & Furious 6’ as well as distributing the film on the Internet. The pirated copy of the film was downloaded approximately 779,000 times and representatives of Universal Pictures estimated the financial loss around £2.3 million ($3.8 million) in lost ticket sales. In addition to pleading guilty to the charges, Dank also plead guilty to selling over 600 copies of the film for £1.50 each.
While the sentence was only recently handed down, Danks was originally arrested on May 23, 2013, just six days after uploading the film to various sources on the Internet. Two days after that arrest, Danks wrote a Facebook profile post which read “Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures.” Police continued to track the movements of Dank online using his alias “TheCod3r” and ultimately watched Danks and another associate continue to participate in uploading films recorded in theaters using camcorders.
Speaking about the severity of the sentence, MPAA representative Chris Marcich said “It is important that those making money on the back of other people’s hard work and creativity, paying nothing back into the creative economy, are held accountable and we welcome today’s verdict.” Marcich continued “This is one important element of the wider strategy to tackle this issue which also includes educating consumers about legitimate online sources of content through schemes like Creative Content UK, working with advertiser and payment processors to cut off the revenue streams pirate sites rely on and blocking illegal sites through the courts.”
When handing down the sentence, the judge told Danks “This was bold, arrogant, and cocksure offending. Your approach to the film industry was made clear in the posting you made on Facebook two days after your arrest. I accept the personal profit was modest, but the real seriousness of this case is the loss caused to the film industry as a whole.“
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