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Criminal law case – Man sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment after selling pirated film online

Philip Danks has been sentenced to 2 years and 9 months’ imprisonment for recording the film Fast and Furious 6 in his local cinema and uploading it on the internet.  Mr Danks, a computer programmer,  recorded the film on its release day on his camcorder, uploaded the film on the internet and offered to sell copies of his recording for as little as £1.50.

The recording was quickly downloaded over 750,000 times.  Mr Danks was traced after he left a comment on a pirate movie website using the same username on a dating website.   He received £1,000 for selling copies of the film whereas, according to The Federation Against Copyright Theft ('FACT') (the prosecuting authority in this instance), Universal Pictures faced an estimate loss of revenue of £2.3 million.

HHJ Raynor sitting in the Wolverhampton Crown Court stated that Mr Danks’ actions were “bold, arrogant and cocksure offending” after he continued to sell copies of the film via his Facebook profile despite being on police bail at the time.

Another man who assisted Mr Danks in uploading the film to the internet faced a more lenient sentence of 120 hours of community work.

Phil Clapp of The Cinema Exhibitors Association congratulated The Federation in securing Mr Danks’ conviction stating that the sentence “gives an important message on the increasing seriousness with which our courts rightly view film theft”.


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