As The Shadow used to say, “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.” Just ask Wes DeSoto, a member of the Screen Actors Guild. DeSoto was caught allegedly leaking Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan,’ as well as four other feature films, to BitTorrent last year, a case of piracy that’s going to cost the man some heavy duty jail time since he’s agreed to plead guilty to the crime.
Each year the studios send out screeners of films nominated for awards by the various guilds and organizations. Members of SAG received their review copies via the iTunes store; copies are watermarked to track possible theft. In DeSoto’s case, the MPAA received a tip and alerted the FBI, who went to DeSoto’s house earlier this year and connected him to pirated copies of ‘Black Swan,’ ‘The Fighter,’ ‘The King’s Speech,’ ‘127 Hours’ and ‘Rabbit Hole.’
Federal guidelines for this type of crime is a sentence anywhere from 10 to 16 months in jail, plus restitution. DeSoto will appear in federal court next month for his sentencing.
Think about DeSoto the next time you’re tempted to download a film for free, or are approached by a man downtown selling a DVD of a film still in theaters. Plus, it’s just darn bad karma.