Hack of unreleased films gets Dutchman indicted in L.A. court

The federal court house in Los Angeles (Los Angeles/Wikimedia Commons). (The federal court house in Los Angeles (Los Angeles/Wikimedia Commons))

A Dutch national suspected of identity theft and hacking will stand trial in a U.S court and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted, My News LA reported.

Joey V. allegedly stole digital pre-release copies of three films in 2010, including Rango from Paramount and Megamind from Dreamworks, both of which were distributed in the Netherlands by Universal Pictures International, according to IMDB. The third film, Sony Pictures Entertainment's How Do You Know, was released in the Netherlands by Sony's international distribution arm.

Prosecutors say that V. used a different person's online credentials to break into an online system storing the films, which was not managed by either of the studios. The 28-year-old from Delft, Zuid-Holland was indicted in Los Angeles on Tuesday on one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer and one count of aggravated identity theft.

While it is not clear whose username and password was supposedly stolen, German film composer Hans Zimmer worked on all three films that year, along with sound designers Sonicsmiths, musician Walt Fowler and engineer Daniel Kresco, their websites show, as well as several others. Together, they also worked on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Dilemma that year, and all but Kresco worked on Inception. The busy year earned Zimmer a nomination for Film Composer of the Year at the 2011 World Soundtrack Awards.

A hacking conviction carries a maximum five-year sentence, while identity theft carries a maximum two-year sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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