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.

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