A prolific movie bootlegger, dubbed "The Prince of Piracy," has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for covertly taping and distributing movies. 36-year old Johnny Ray Gasca was the first person ever to face federal charges for using a camcorder to tape movies from inside of a theater. Gasca was found guilty of taping Anger Management, 8 Mile and The Core -- hasn't he been punished enough? -- and convicted on several other counts including possession of false IDs and fleeing custody. The government asked for ten years. Known for going all-out for his clients, Gasca would use sophisticated monitoring devices and remote zoom lenses to minimize the tell-tale signs that usually give away a shaky camcorder-bootleg. He was so high-tech, in fact, that the studio flack who spotted him taping at a screening of 8 Mile reported that he was surrounded by a "glowing green light."
Gasca reportedly made as much as $4,500 a week distributing the films he taped, and a representative from the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles has released a statement noting that "we take copyright infringement as a very serious crime." Apparently so. I personally think the sentence is a little harsh. When I go to the movies, I couldn't care less if there are bootleggers sitting to the left and right of me when the lights go out, as long as they keep quiet. When is someone going to arrest the guy who had a 20-minute cell-phone conversation during the Friday matinee of Casino Royale that I was at?