Revenge of the Sith

Eight Charged in Theft of Star Wars Movie

from Reuters

LOS ANGELES - 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.

The movie debuted in theaters worldwide to huge media fanfare in May.But before 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 for taking the copy from the post-production house where he worked. Six others were charged with copyright infringement and other misdemeanors for copying and distributing the film that Valente took. Marc Hoaglin, charged with a felony for putting the movie on the web, could face up three years in jail.


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