Trevon Maurice Franklin, from Fresno, California, was arrested Tuesday by federal agents for posting the entirety of Deadpool on Facebook while it was still being shown in movie theaters.
Variety reported that according to law enforcement officials, more than 5 million people viewed the film uploaded by Franklin, who went by the screen name of “Tre-Von M. King”, after he uploaded it to the social media platform around eight days after it premiered on February 12 last year. It is unclear how long his pirated version was up on Facebook before it was taken down.
The arrest came after a federal grand jury produced an indictment alleging he reproduced and distributed a copyrighted work; the decision was based on an investigation by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan White and Vicki Chou, of the Department of Justice’s Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section will be the ones prosecuting the case against Franklin.
Coincidentally, a group of 30 entertainment companies has announced an “anti-piracy coalition,” designed to help tackle copyright infringement online and suing anyone caught doing so. Some of those involved include Disney, Netflix, Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, and Amazon.
Deadpool was one of the smash hits of early 2016, grossing $363 million at the US box office. Its titular star, Ryan Reynolds, had revealed that he wanted to make it for years after appearing as a version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Test footage that leaked online spurred on great excitement from fans, convincing executives to push forward with the film. Twentieth Century Fox is currently producing Deadpool 2, set to be released on June 1st, 2018.