Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Yahoo! News - Man Convicted of Copying Oscar Films Dies

Yahoo! News - Man Convicted of Copying Oscar Films Dies: "LOS ANGELES - A man awaiting sentencing for illegally copying and distributing movies being screened for Oscar picks was found dead in his jail cell, authorities said.

Russell Sprague, 52, of Homewood, Ill., may have died of a heart attack, the U.S. Marshals Service said. His body was discovered Monday morning and an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.

Sprague was scheduled to be sentenced March 21 after pleading guilty last year to one count of copyright infringement. He had faced up to three years in prison.

Sprague was accused of copying 134 "screener" movies sent to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (news - web sites) to solicit their votes for last year's Oscars (news - web sites), including "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" and "Seabiscuit." Films were made available for download over the Internet, authorities said. "

The first death of the copyright wars.

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