"The Hulk" struck back in a Manhattan federal court Wednesday as a New Jersey man who uploaded a bootlegged copy of the movie to the Web two weeks in advance of the movie's opening pleaded guilty to felony charges.
Kerry Gonzalez faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 after copping to a felony charge of making an unauthorized digital copy of "The Hulk" and uploading it onto an Internet chat site. According to documents released by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, an unfinished "work print" version of the film, which did not include final special effects and graphics, was sent to a print advertising agency in Manhattan 2 1/2 weeks before the film's opening Friday.
Despite a confidentiality agreement between the studio and the ad agency, Gonzalez was able to acquire a copy of the film through an acquaintance who worked at the agency. Using his home computer, Gonzalez attempted to bypass the security tags embedded in the film and made a digital copy that was then uploaded onto an Internet Web site chat room hosted from the Netherlands on June 6. Karen Randall, executive VP and general counsel of Vivendi Universal Entertainment, said that within minutes of "The Hulk" appearing on the Internet, the studio was notified through its Internet-monitoring system.
"We were horrified," Randall said. "We launched an internal investigation which provided enough info to go to the FBI, and they were wonderful(ed: Ooo... we lurve the FBI... :)). They took it very seriously."
Citing an ongoing investigation, neither Randall nor several representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office were willing to disclose the name of the ad agency in question. Randall did say that she did not "think anyone involved in this act of piracy is in the clear."
News source: CNN.com