Eight charged in theft of "Star Wars" movie

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SDRay

FU Spanos and Dundon
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - 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, which was the final installment made in the lucrative series of "Star Wars" films by director
George Lucas, 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, 28, of Lakewood, California, for taking the "Star Wars" copy from the post-production house where he worked. He has pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement.

Six others were charged with copyright infringement and other misdemeanors for copying and distributing the "Star Wars" film that Valente took.

One defendant, Marc Hoaglin, 36, of Huntington Beach, California, was charged with a felony for putting the movie on the Web where it could be downloaded by anybody. Hoaglin could face up to as much as three years in jail.

Separately, the U.S. Attorney also charged Ronald Redding, 37, of Linthicum Heights, Maryland, with misdemeanor copyright infringement for giving away his "screener" copy of "Million Dollar Baby," which was sent to him for
Academy Awards voting. He agreed to plead guilty, the U.S. Attorney said.

Finally, Eric Wright, 43, of Bellflower, California, has pleaded guilty to one count in trafficking in counterfeit DVD labels for films such as "The Incredibles" and "Friday Night Lights." He faces up to five years in a federal prison.
 

y2craig

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Aug 17, 2005
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Put the turkeys on ice!

A lot of creativity, time, and money went into those movies. I won't even buy a movie on Ebay that is from Singapore ... even under $7, or have I ever downloaded a movie. I'll be preordering SW: RoS in a couple days from a real online store.
 

BasPilot

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Aug 23, 2005
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I know that I wouldn't be in any kind of large crackdown on people that downloaded that movie, I don't think I've even seen the Episode II yet... I KNOW I have not seen this last one... Just don't wanna!!!
 

y2craig

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Aug 17, 2005
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I did not care for Episodes I and II too much, but the third was absolutely brilliant! Perhaps the best part was that Jar Jar was given no speaking role. It was a great effort given for this movie and ranks up there with #4 (A New Hope) and #5. My friend thought #3 would be pure cr@p, but he admitted he was wrong.
 

BengalFan

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Sep 19, 2005
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That's the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard.

I believe in information sharing, why should one guy make billions when i can see it for "FREE" Screw Lucas. I love the free-thinking mahcine called the INTERNET. Thank AL Gore for creating it. LOL.

Bit-torrent sites rule. So do newsgroups.

You cant STOP US. You can only hope not to piss us off. Dont try to put too many of us in jail. Beacuse we are the ones serving your little life a piece of pie. You never know what we could do to you. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Well the internet is the great equalizer.

LOL. SCREW LUCAS!!!
 

BengalFan

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Sep 19, 2005
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I know my Blog sounded like "Fight Club"

Now that was funny. Guess these guys got under my skin a little bit with the whole kisss butt to Lucas. "The first rule about newsgroups, you dont talk about newsgroups." That was REALLY good ray.
 

Raiderssuckass

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Oct 18, 2005
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Newsgroups? What newgroups?
Hahaha...seriously though...

I love all the Star Wars movies but to call Episode III absolutely brilliant is somewhat of a stretch IMHO. The best Star Wars movie out of all 6? My vote goes to V.
 

y2craig

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Aug 17, 2005
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Episode III was pretty good compared to Episodes I and II, IMHO. Yeah, I thought IV and V were the best ones. Man I cannot stand the Ewoks. When I play Star Wars Battlefront I actually shoot them and I am on the Rebellion side!

Lucas is thinking of Episodes VII-IX! Supposedly storylines are being created. The original movie(s) were pretty good vision and creative, but now I feel Lucas is becoming too greedy.