If you download a pirated movie on the internet, your odds of facing serious penalties are fairly modest. But Hollywood studios are becoming increasingly aggressive about prosecuting those who distribute movies in violation of copyright law. An extreme case of this came last week, when a judge in the United Kingdom sentenced 25-year-old Philip Danks to 33 months in prison for illegally distributing the movie Fast and Furious 6.
A couple of factors contributed to the man's harsh sentence. First, Danks wasn't just another guy sharing the movie online; he was the guy who uploaded the original pirated copy to peer-to-peer networks. He recorded the film while sitting in a local movie theater last year. The film was downloaded 700,000 times, which the film's distributor, Universal Pictures, argues cost it $2.5 million.
Second, Danks was defiant, even after he was arrested. A few days after his arrest, he posted to Facebook: "Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures." He reportedly continued distributing the film even after his arrest. The judge who handed down the sentence chastised Danks for his "bold, arrogant, and cocksure" attitude.