FBI raids SAG member's home for uploading five movies

By on April 26, 2011, 11:01 AM
FBI agents recently raided the Los Angeles apartment of Wes DeSoto, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) member, over suspicion that he was the first to upload multiple movies to The Pirate Bay. There were at least five movies: The King's Speech, Black Swan, Rabbit Hole, The Fighter, and 127 Hours, all of which were still in theaters when they were uploaded. The Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) director of content protection Larry Hahn informed the FBI about the pirated films.

The FBI's warrant included a request to search DeSoto's home for anything that tied him to the prerelease movie uploading group TiMPE, according to court documents cited by Wired. DeSoto denied that he is affiliated with TiMPE and criticized the investigation for being a waste of tax dollars.

Authorities seized a desktop computer from DeSoto's apartment. The SAG member allegedly operated under the username "mf34inc," according to the MPAA, although all uploaded torrents under that username have since been removed.

The authorities reportedly began to target DeSoto as the alleged culprit because the screeners that were uploaded had unique watermarks assigned to him. Furthermore, SAG had snail-mailed traceable iTunes codes to its members, used for accessing the screener movies.

The movies in question were uploaded in January 2011, were high-quality, and were meant for critics' reviews before the awards season. While DeSoto is accused of uploading the movies, he has not (yet?) been charged. Under the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005, he can face up to three years in prison.




User Comments: 41

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stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Better call Sony for Tips on how to deal with people

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

He'll never work in this town again, just when CSI was going to make Werewolf Enthusiast into a recurring character. Another Tinseltown dream destroyed by the lure of not-for-profit media sharing.

Back in the old days we'd just watch VHS tapes passed from coworker to coworker.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

geez... actors and usually anyone on tv make enough money the way it is... and then to waste money on searching this guy? i dunno... wtf?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

trillionsin said:

geez... actors and usually anyone on tv make enough money the way it is... and then to waste money on searching this guy? i dunno... wtf?

Actors = waiters, er, servers.

Omnislip said:

No, f*#k this guy. What he has done is indefensible.

Guest said:

He tried to be cool...now he's lookin like a fool

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

gwailo247 said:

trillionsin said:

geez... actors and usually anyone on tv make enough money the way it is... and then to waste money on searching this guy? i dunno... wtf?

Actors = waiters, er, servers.

not sure what this is suppose to imply?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

geez... actors and usually anyone on tv make enough money the way it is... and then to waste money on searching this guy? i dunno... wtf?

Neither of the 2 sections of your run on sentence make any sense. That would be either on their own, or in context with each other!

Then there's the .... "wtf", that you're using as a placeholder, waiting for an actual thought to occur. It's an acronym, and hence it should be capitalized. Sic......WTF....!

If you don't mind me asking(*), why do you think that Mr. De Soto shouldn't have been searched? Because he said so?

(*) I'm sure you do mind me asking. Still in all, I'm going to forge ahead with it anyway.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

omnislip said:

No, f*#k this guy. What he has done is indefensible.

Sheesh dude. Calm down. All he did was upload a couple of movies. Not like he strangled a baby or anything. Why get so upset over something that has no affect on your life anyway?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

trillionsin said:

gwailo247 said:

trillionsin said:

geez... actors and usually anyone on tv make enough money the way it is... and then to waste money on searching this guy? i dunno... wtf?

Actors = waiters, er, servers.

not sure what this is suppose to imply?

Most people who call themselves actors wait on tables, and they hardly make any money. The lucky few who appear on TV can make a bit of money, but its not as lucrative as a profession as people imagine.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Most people who call themselves actors wait on tables, and they hardly make any money. The lucky few who appear on TV can make a bit of money, but its not as lucrative as a profession as people imagine.
Then there are the "Charlie Sheens", whose mental illnesses and narcissistic tirades are heavily overcompensated. In a rare display of communistic thought, I'm going to suggest his heavily inflated paycheck should be divied up among the working stiffs at the restaurants and car washes of Hollywood.

I guess nobody really gives a thought to how good this man's agent must have been.

In direct response to your statement; yes, acting is a heavily tiered "avocation" With such institutions as "soap operas" however, there probably does exist an upper middle class of working actors.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

'Working stiffs' ?? I guess you are watching too much of that other stuff

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

In direct response to your statement; yes, acting is a heavily tiered "avocation" With such institutions as "soap operas" however, there probably does exist an upper middle class of working actors.

Sure there is that segment, but its shrinking a lot, the glory days of the 1980s are over. Even a lot of those that are working as waiters do it more for the opportunity to be seen and network; surprisingly many of them are bankrolled by their out of town parents, but they keep that fact on the DL.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

surprisingly many of them are bankrolled by their out of town parents, but they keep that fact on the DL.

I think you mean "out of town stage parents".

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

omnislip said:

No, f*#k this guy. What he has done is indefensible.

A guilty verdict already? A big plus 1 for the prosecution! Somebody get a rope.

Who says it's a waste of taxpayer dollars when we can convict a guy within minutes right here on Techspot?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess nobody really gives a thought to how good this man's agent must have been.

You know the only reason Charlie made it to the screen was because daddy acted in Apocalypse Now.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

A guilty verdict already? A big plus 1 for the prosecution! Somebody get a rope.

Who says it's a waste of taxpayer dollars when we can convict a guy within minutes right here on Techspot?

Well, the "twitter" here at TS, does seem to point towards a perception of guilt. With that said, given the expense of an investigation in manpower, I'd at least like to believe the FBI doesn't just randomly take out warrants because they're either bored, or have a more general axe to grind.

The whole point of this is; if this person actually did this, it's overt theft by infringement. It isn't "I shared a movie with my aunt Sara". It's theft, pure and simple I know the little trolls here will go on and on how downloading or infringement isn't theft, because it makes them feel vindicated for whatever behaviours they may be involved with.

So, everybody should save your recess monety, and contribute to "poor De Sotos" defense fund. Who knows, maybe "GeoHot" will help him get the panhandling started.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

CC - you say so many of the things I want to say but just decide to keep to myself

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

CC - you say so many of the things I want to say but just decide to keep to myself
Just poor impulse control on my part, I suppose...... and Then there's the component.

With all that said. I'm really old, but really new to cyberspace. I can't really envision that something I would say, would precipitate me losing imaginary "cyberfriends" that I never really had in the first place.... I'll put an imaginary "like" button here >>>> (0) <<<< for any one who agrees with this statement. You'll have to cook up your own imaginary "digg" button.

You should try not holding back sometime, Papa! You'd find it's more cleansing, (and cathartic), than a "high colonic".

HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

wow now FBI are taking people in. this is getting ridicules

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Sorry, but I have to deal with lots of politics at my job so I'm forced to bite my tongue all the time.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Sorry, but I have to deal with lots of politics at my job so I'm forced to bite my tongue all the time.
Phew, tell me about! I always seem to be treading a fine line between freedom and , "admitted for observation".

All you have to do is never tell other people what the voices are saying!

(I of course am joking)

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

I'll put an imaginary "like" button here >>>> (0) <<<< for any one who agrees with this statement.

I keep clicking it, but nothing happens. I don't like you anymore.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'll put an imaginary "like" button here >>>> (0) <<<< for any one who agrees with this statement. You'll have to cook up your own imaginary "digg" button.

I keep clicking it, but nothing happens. I don't like you anymore.

Sorry 'bout that! In my private reality, I wasn't aware that you actually ever did......:o

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

A guilty verdict already? A big plus 1 for the prosecution! Somebody get a rope.

Who says it's a waste of taxpayer dollars when we can convict a guy within minutes right here on Techspot?

Well, while not quite as obvious as a banner saying "You're watching a copy of a screener given to John Doe, SAG# 12345" scrolling across the movies, I'm guessing its pretty close to that from a forensic point of view.

I doubt that the FBI picked a random SAG member to burn at the stake. Most of the stuff that gets put out on the web comes from production houses, and other industry members.

Watching VHS tapes/DVDs of Oscar screeners borrowed from neighbors or relatives is a time honored Southern California tradition. =)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Watching VHS tapes/DVDs of Oscar screeners borrowed from neighbors or relatives is a time honored Southern California tradition. =)
But freely distributing them on the internet would raise the criminality bar quite a bit, would it not?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said: But freely distributing them on the internet would raise the criminality bar quite a bit, would it not?

That's why the guy is an *****. They tell you that the screners are digitally watermarked.

People like him are going to ruin piracy for everyone.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"I hope they're practicing "safe interrogation" in there'.....

That's why the guy is an *****. They tell you that the screners are digitally watermarked.

People like him are going to ruin piracy for everyone.

Which is why, ATM, the FBI probably has him bent over the back of the chair, "pumping" him for information.

Metadata.............metadata............metadata.........me
adata.....metadata....metadata....metadata...metadata,meta
ata......OK stop, I did it already....

Guest said:

to CaptainCranky: Is Charlie Sheen in any of the movies uploaded or have anything to do with the original article?? I'm just wondering why exactly you brought him up specifically...you a fan?!? Completely unrelated imo..

Also and, more importantly probably, it doesn't matter whether you "think" the person (any person) is guilty or not regardless of the situation/crime. If you are an American you should know one of the founding principles of this country is right to a fair trial (I can't even type this seriously)...innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Imo, far too often people are considered and viewed 'guilty' by the public, peers, and media simply based on an arrest or what they 'hear' or 'think'..not based on actual facts. Now lets have some common sense..Obviously the majority of people that get arrested probably are guilty and I do agree with the statement that the FBI or other govt. organization probably isn't going to conduct a lengthy investigation and raid anything without just cause, but that still does not forfeit a persons basic rights.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

to CaptainCranky: Is Charlie Sheen in any of the movies uploaded or have anything to do with the original article?? I'm just wondering why exactly you brought him up specifically...you a fan?!? Completely unrelated imo..

Also and, more importantly probably, it doesn't matter whether you "think" the person (any person) is guilty or not regardless of the situation/crime. If you are an American you should know one of the founding principles of this country is right to a fair trial (I can't even type this seriously)...innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Imo, far too often people are considered and viewed 'guilty' by the public, peers, and media simply based on an arrest or what they 'hear' or 'think'..not based on actual facts. Now lets have some common sense..Obviously the majority of people that get arrested probably are guilty and I do agree with the statement that the FBI or other govt. organization probably isn't going to conduct a lengthy investigation and raid anything without just cause, but that still does not forfeit a persons basic rights.

Are you De Soto's attorney or Sheen's?

That Constitution s**, is it all new to you? Be aware that a great majority of it deals with setting up a government, nothing more. I've skimmed it a bit myself! Did you know that we freed the slaves long before we gave women the right to vote?

I'm deeply sorry, I'm sure a lot of thought went into that post, and a suitably long winded response is in order..

Sometimes the first reports are the true ones. Take the case of Tiger Wood's car crash, and Mr. Sheen's hotel room antics. Then the apologists, spin doctors, and the clowns-slash-fans get a hold of them and begin insisting that, "In my feeble mind, Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, Michael Jackson, and "De Soto" can do no wrong".

I post the way I do since I have realized along ago I'll never be able to change your opinion about anything.

With that said, I'm also sure you'll brand me "closed minded" simply because I don't agree with you. Anything else?

Law enforcement does , granted, make mistakes. But they're usually confined to Spanish Harlem and other such places, not in high profile hot button issues such as piracy. And you know what, I sincerely doubt that they make as many mistakes there as the Reverend Al Sharpton would like to have you believe.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Imo, far too often people are considered and viewed 'guilty' by the public, peers, and media simply based on an arrest or what they 'hear' or 'think'..not based on actual facts. Now lets have some common sense..Obviously the majority of people that get arrested probably are guilty and I do agree with the statement that the FBI or other govt. organization probably isn't going to conduct a lengthy investigation and raid anything without just cause, but that still does not forfeit a persons basic rights.

Wait a second, are you telling me that the readers of TS have been secretly empaneled as a jury without our knowledge? Oh boy, we are in some serious trouble, I've been discussing aspects of this case with outside parties.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wait a second, are you telling me that the readers of TS have been secretly empaneled as a jury without our knowledge? Oh boy, we are in some serious trouble, I've been discussing aspects of this case with outside parties.
Yeah well, the guest that you're quoting just got done reading, " The US Constitution for Dummies". At least that would explain most of the post.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Guest said:

Also and, more importantly probably, it doesn't matter whether you "think" the person (any person) is guilty or not regardless of the situation/crime. If you are an American you should know one of the founding principles of this country is right to a fair trial (I can't even type this seriously)...innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Do you understand the concept of direct evidence? If you were going to trust someone with your property, what better method of evidence of infringement could you devise?

Or do you wait around for a jury to decide if a bear, in fact, does shit in the woods?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Do you understand the concept of direct evidence? If you were going to trust someone with your property, what better method of evidence of infringement could you devise?

Or do you wait around for a jury to decide if a bear, in fact, does **** in the woods?

I understand the concept of direct evidence. It's summed up in this little joke. Some kid was trying to steal a ham from the supermarket. He stuffed it under his arm. As he was walking out, the store security guard stopped him and said, what's that ham doing under your arm? So the kid said, "how'd that get there!

As to the bear in the woods issue, it's "entrapment"! We wouldn't let him s*** on our lawns. We wouldn't let him s*** in our streets. So, he went to the only place he had left to "go", and the cops were waiting for him!

Wait til I tell that guest we've been quoting that the Constitution says the army can't crash at your house without paying you rent...! I know they try and do that all the time. That's in the Bill of Rights too.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

Wait a second, are you telling me that the readers of TS have been secretly empaneled as a jury without our knowledge? Oh boy, we are in some serious trouble, I've been discussing aspects of this case with outside parties.
Yeah well, the guest that you're quoting just got done reading, " The US Constitution for Dummies". At least that would explain most of the post.

I like the cut of your jib. I'm nominating you to be foreman of the jury.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is why, when I lived in New Orleans, I used to buy all my movies from a twitchy, smelly guy on Bourbon St.

Sure, I had to wear rubber gloves and spray them with Lysol first, but at least I paid for them fair and square right?

Mindwraith said:

If he were innocent, he would've welcomed the investigation. But he criticized it, which is what guilty people always do.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Mind

Hime being guilty or not apart (I don't care either way), but if the procedures are being violated by any investigation, it should always remain open to criticism, period.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If he were innocent, he would've welcomed the investigation. But he criticized it, which is what guilty people always do.

Criticism of having your home raided, and torn apart by Feds is not an admission of guilt. Are you serious Mindwraith? I know I'd criticize the Hell out of having my home raided if I were innocent. I don't know anyone (with the exception of yourself) that would welcome such a thing.

He may or may not be guilty, but lets give the courts a chance to sort it out first.

This is exactly the reason why our legal system is in trouble right now - because of armchair attorneys, juries, and judges. I'm surprised citizens haven't begun issuing arrest warrants from their iPads yet.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wendi:

Today's iphone/ipod generation frankly have intelligence of an snail (I hope they don't mind this comparison); the simple fact is, people have forgotten one very basic principle of law i.e. until someone is 'proven' guilty in a court of law, they are innocent. Tragically this mindset is created by the governments and many other segments of society which have vested interest in such culture.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Too true Archean. The legal system in our country, flawed as it may be, is the only thing keeping us from having a true police state. New Orleans is already run like a police state, but then again New Orleans has always been corrupt. link

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