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British Man Given 33-Month Prison Sentence for Movie Piracy

22 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Man sold more than 700,000 illegal copies of 'Fast & Furious 6' over the Internet

A British national has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for illegally recording a major Hollywood movie, uploading it to the Internet, and producing and selling copies to the public.

According to authorities, Philip Danks illegally recorded with a camcorder Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious 6 on May 13, 2013 — the movie’s global box office premiere. Danks then uploaded the film onto the Internet and sold more than 700,000 copies for £1.50 each, advertising on Facebook.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the U.K.-based anti-piracy organization, said it identified Danks by linking him to the online name of the uploader: “TheCod3r”. Five days after the recording was made, Danks was arrested by police.

While under arrest, Danks allegedly continued to copy, sell and distribute illegal copies of movies. He enlisted the help of his sister’s ex-boyfriend, who uploaded films on his behalf. The ex-boyfriend received 12 months of community service. Danks also sold illegal DVD copies of Fast & Furious 6, among other titles. Both men pleaded guilty to charges of committing offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

The judge in the case characterized Danks as “bold, arrogant and cocksure,” while running a sophisticated illegal operation. He based his sentence in large part on the multimillion pound loss to the U.K. film industry.

“We are grateful to West Midlands police for their assistance in bringing to justice two men who were causing untold harm to the film industry in the U.K., something which also threatens this country’s economy,” Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT, said in a statement.

Chris Marcich, president and managing director of EMEA with the Motion Picture Association of America, said online copyright infringement represents a significant threat to the continued success of the United Kingdom’s creative industries and to the continued development of legal sources of film and TV content.

“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 [the] verdict,” Marcich said in a statement.

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