Fast And The Furious Video Pirate Jailed For Three Years

Universal Pictures

A man who filmed Fast & Furious 6 from the back of a cinema and then uploaded it to the internet has been jailed for almost three years after being caught out on an online dating site.

The pirate copy of the Vin Diesel movie was reportedly downloaded 779,000 times, apparently costing one of Hollywood's biggest film-makers around £2.3 million in lost revenue after the movie was uploaded onto the web.

Philip Danks, 25, from Walsall, West Midlands, was the first person in the world to record and distribute the action movie illegally after filming it on its release day on May 17 last year.

Danks reportedly also sold copies of his recorded version for £1.50 via his Facebook page, making £1,000 in the process.

The BBC reported that the court heard a special "webwatch" team - set up by LA-based Universal Pictures because the film was so valuable - spotted his copy spreading across the internet.

He was apparently busted when fraud investigators noticed that his online tag 'Thecod3r' attached on the video matched his profile on dating website Plenty of Fish.

He was arrested at his home on May 23. Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how his motive was primarily “street cred”, with Danks continually updating his Facebook friends with news on his case.

After his arrest, he bragged on Facebook: "Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures."

Danks also thoughtfully kept people posted on the case through social media - but while awaiting sentence he conceded: "Not loking (sic) good," Sky News reported.

He reportedly even continued to offer a dozen films he had copied whilst freed on police bail.

"The film was Universal Picture's most significant release of that year with both the biggest production costs and expected revenue," Mr Ari Alibhai, prosecuting said.

"The estimated loss to the industry caused by the defendant's actions is conservatively estimated at £2.3m but he did not receive money from the online distribution."

He added: "The first person with a pirated version attracts much kudos. He wanted recognition from the community."