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FBI Raid Home of SAG Member Accused of Uploading Films to File-Sharing Site

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Arrrrrrgh, pirates! (Photo by LifeSupercharger via Flickr)
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The FBI have conducted a raid on the Los Angeles apartment of an actor they believe uploaded theatrical releases like "The King's Speech," "127 Hours, " "The Fighter, " and "Black Swan," to file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, according to Wired. Wes DeSoto, a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, was allegedly the first person to upload those titles to the site in January.The high quality of the films as uploaded have investigators believing they originated as screeners produced for and distributed to SAG members for voting. The FBI records in connection with the case say that all of the movie files at issue in the DeSoto case are films that "had been released for theatrical viewing in the previous three months, before having been uploaded to thepiratebay.org, but none of the movies had been sold or distributed publicly in the DVD or video-streaming formats.”

The FBI believe DeSoto is affiliated with an online group called TiMPE, who upload movies online. DeSoto allegedly uploads to the site using the handle "mf34inc." Investigators used unique watermarks imprinted on the film files to pinpoint DeSoto, IP numbers obtained from internet service providers, as well as the traceable iTunes codes sent to SAG members to facilitate accessing the screeners.

DeSoto says that he is not connected to TiMPE, and that the FBI's "investigation is excessive and a waste of tax dollars."