A forty-nine year old man from the Bronx will serve one year in prison and will be grounded with “computer restrictions” upon release for uploading a workprint copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to MegaUpload. It’s an “extremely serious” offense, you guys: He stole “the intellectual property of this nation.”
That “nation” bit comes from United States Attorney André Birotte Jr and the amount of national pride he takes in that flick suggests that he hasn’t actually seen it, maybe.
That’s alright. Plenty have. X-Men Origins: Wolverine has grossed $179,883,157 domestically and $193,179,707 international for a grand total of $373,062,864, more than a third of a billion dollars.
So, perchance, leaking an almost finished copy one month before the film’s theatrical release was just free advertising. Perchance, people went to the theaters to see it anyway, because, perchance, the CGI wasn’t finished in the pirated copy and Wolvie over here was swinging claw-less fists around?
Still, let us not underestimate how devastating leaked independent films can be to the independent filmmakers’ careers, preventing future sales and even future production budgets, without hefty industry hounds to hunt down the pirates so their loses could be reimbursed, if only partially. They’re never going to make that third of a billion that way.*
*Facetious comment not meant to play down my solidarity with independent filmmakers: Don’t eat me.