Nine months after the leaked workprint of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a suspect they believe uploaded the copy to the Internet weeks before its theatrical release.
47-year-old Gilberto Sanchez (a.k.a. SkillFulGil, theskilled1, SkillyGuy, and Skillz101) from the Bronx, New York was taken into custody Wednesday morning. A grand jury indictment alleges Sanchez uploaded the unfinished copy to Megaupload on or around March 31, 2009.
Sanchez faces three years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss attributable to the offense (whichever is greater). 20th Century Fox will need to find a way to calculate the potential millions lost due to the leak first.
For a guy named “theskilled1,” he wasn’t very adept at avoiding detection. Then again, it took the FBI nine months to track him down, so maybe “SkillFilGul” is as good as he claims to be. I find it hard to believe Sanchez is the only one to blame though, and there still remains unanswered questions. How did “SkillyGuy” in the Bronx obtain a workprint for a major release? Why did it take so long to find him? Why didn’t he pirate a good movie?
Update: Sanchez, released from custody on a $50,000 bond, claims he bought it from a Korean on the streets for $5. The plot thickens…
My usual advice — with everything from cookie jar tampering to druglord take downs — is to follow the money. However, in case the root of the problem was the loss of millions. So, I suppose torturing interrogating a suspect is the next best thing.
If watching too many crime dramas has taught me anything, it’s that the FBI is hoping to bring in Mr. Sanchez and start negotiating. Maybe the agents play their cards right and he rats on the leak. Maybe they roll it up to the big wigs who allowed it to happen. Or maybe, just maybe, they crack a career case that winds its way into the heart of Hollywood. That is, if they’re not too busy arguing over jurisdiction with the police department or teaching a rookie the ropes.