September 28, 2005

Prosecuting an Inside Job [9:18 am]

Eight charged in theft of “Star Wars” movie [pdf]

Federal officials on Tuesday charged eight people with several crimes related to the illegal theft, copying and Internet distribution of hit movie, “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”

[...] [B]efore it ever opened, an illegally made copy could be downloaded from the Internet, and that copy was traced back to an editing facility in Lakewood, California.

The charges come as moviemakers wage a battle against illegally copying and distributing movies on video, DVD and the Internet. Hollywood’s studios claim they lose $3.5 billion in annual revenue due to piracy and are worried about losing billions more if swapping films on the Web becomes common.

The U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles filed a copyright infringement charge against Albert Valente, 28, of Lakewood, California, for taking the “Star Wars” copy from the post-production house where he worked. He has pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.

Related: Movie pirates across U.S. walk the plank [pdf]

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