Think back to February 2016, when people were watching Deadpool for the very first time, getting their minds blown and thinking to themselves, “Everyone should be able to see this movie right now.” Or, at least, so thought one eager fan — who now faces three years of prison time.
21-year-old Trevon Maurice Franklin somehow obtained a copy of the complete film and uploaded it to his Facebook page eight days after the premiere. Five million people viewed the link, and because movies inevitably sell the most tickets in the period immediately following their release, 20th Century Fox is not happy. In fact, the company is pressing charges.
Franklin was arrested in Fresno on Tuesday on one count of copyright infringement, which is a federal crime. The FBI has been investigating the case, and although Trevon uploaded the film under a pseudonym (“Tre-Von M. King”, not too mysterious), it’s unclear why it took so long to arrest him, especially since he posted it to his own Facebook page.
Franklin appeared in court hours after his arrest but has not yet entered a plea. If he’s found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to three years in federal prison.
The moral of the story: Never upload illegal content. Just this week, a coalition of 30 entertainment companies vowed to step up their anti-piracy efforts. Deadpool is amazing … but it’s not worth it. If you want to follow through with your fandom in an intense way, there are other options. Like Deadpool toilet paper.
The legality of just watching a pirated video lies more in a gray area, but you should be okay as long as you stream it — don’t download — and do so in private.
Deadpool 2 will premiere on June 1, 2018. Enjoy it in any way you like, besides uploading it online.