A Fresno, Calif., man shared a full version of “Deadpool” on his Facebook page while the 20th Century Fox film was still in theaters — and more than 5 million people watched the pirated copy, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.
Federal agents on Tuesday arrested Trevon Maurice Franklin, 21, who used the screen name “Tre-Von M. King,” on the criminal charge of copyright infringement. The Department of Justice alleges that he uploaded “Deadpool” approximately eight days after its Feb. 12, 2016, theatrical release.
Franklin faces up to three years in federal prison on the charge. He was busted after a federal grand jury in April returned an indictment alleging he reproduced and distributed a copyrighted work, based on an investigation by the FBI.
“Deadpool,” starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular Marvel antihero, grossed $363 million at the U.S. box office, according to Box Office Mojo. Twentieth Century Fox is producing “Deadpool 2” with Reynolds reprising the role, set to be released June 1, 2018.
It’s not clear how long the pirated copy of “Deadpool” remained on Facebook. Reps for the social giant did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The case against Franklin is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan White and Vicki Chou of the DOJ’s Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.
Separately, this week a group of 30 entertainment companies, including Disney, Netflix, Amazon, CBS, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros., announced a new anti-piracy coalition aimed at fighting copyright infringement online and suing criminals.