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Hollywood Reporter
updated 6/3/2007 8:16:09 PM ET 2007-06-04T00:16:09

A Chicago man faces up to three years in prison for illegally uploading pirated episodes of the Fox series “24” to an online video hub, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Jorge Romero, 24, is accused of uploading four “24” episodes he discovered in January at an unspecified location online and posting them on LiveDigital.com eight days before their primetime premiere.

The FBI’s criminal complaint, filed Friday in Los Angeles, charges Romero “with uploading copyrighted material to a publicly accessible computer network knowing the work was intended for commercial distribution, a felony that carries a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.”

Twentieth Century Fox, which produces “24,” issued a statement supporting the FBI investigation.

“We are grateful to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices in Los Angeles for aggressively pursuing this matter, and we hope it will serve as a powerful warning that uploading copyrighted TV shows and movies to the Internet can be a crime with significant penalties and will be prosecuted as such.

In January, Fox served both LiveDigital and YouTube with a subpoena demanding they disclose the identity of the user who had uploaded episodes of “24” and “The Simpsons.” (HR, 1/25). Both LiveDigital and YouTube complied with the request.

YouTube is not mentioned in the FBI’s complaint.

Romero is not accused of placing the episodes on the Internet, but facilitating their distribution once they were already put there by an unspecified party. Romero admitted to the FBI in an April interview that he had found the episodes online.

The Fox statement continues, “Video-hosting sites such as LiveDigital.com and YouTube are not copyright-free zones, and individuals like Jorge Romero who post episodes of television shows, particularly before they are even broadcast for the first time, will face harsh civil and criminal sanctions.”

Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter

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