Leaking That Movie Where Leo DiCaprio Dances With A Bear Will Cost Former Dr. Phil Show Staffer $1.12 Million

Every awards season, the internet fills up with pristine, pirated copies of Oscar-contending movies, many of them ripped from screeners sent out by the studios to promote the films. One staffer on the Dr. Phil Show who has admitted to leaking a copy of The Revenant online was recently sentenced to fork over $1.12 million to the studio.

Prosecutors say the man, using the screen name “clutchit,” uploaded a digital copy of the movie to the torrent-tracking site Pass The Popcorn on Dec. 19, 2015 — nearly a week before the film hit U.S. theaters.

TorrentFreak reports that an FBI investigation ensued, eventually identifying the uploader as a 31-year-old California man in the TV industry whose account had also apparently been used to leak a copy of The Peanuts Movie, which we didn’t see but we’re pretty sure doesn’t include a scene of Linus being mauled by a bear.

In Feb. 2016, two days before The Revenant‘s Best Picture hopes were slammed against a tree by Spotlight, the Department of Justice accused clutchit of felony copyright infringement for uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for distribution. Clutchit was fired from his gig on the pop psychology talk show as a result of this allegation.

The defendant entered a guilty plea to this charge on March 31, as part of a deal with prosecutors. The question is: How much should he be punished?

He could have been sentenced to between 21 to 27 months behind bars, based on the calculated level of the offense, but prosecutors eventually recommended a total of 12 months in custody. Earlier this month, clutchit’s attorneys argued that there were additional reasons to reduce the possible prison time, including the defendant’s family obligations. His wife has been out of work since 2013 and she must care for four young children. Making matters worse, claimed the court documents, clutchit will likely never be able to find another job in the entertainment industry because of his crime, meaning he’d have to embark on an entirely new career path.

In the end, the court came down this week with a sentence that was light on confinement, but heavy on financial penalty. The uploader must do eight months of home detention (during which time he’ll probably watch The Revenant on HBO a few thousand times), followed by two years of probation.

The big bill will come from Twentieth Century Fox, to which clutchit owes $1.12 million. That is a lot to you and me — and to the defendant, who was making around $40,000 a year according to court documents — but it’s only about .6% of the studio’s $183 million domestic box office revenue from the movie, and about .2% of its global ticket sales (not to mention pay-TV and home video licensing fees).

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