On Monday, the New York man who uploaded an unfinished and unreleased “workprint” of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ to the internet in March of 2009 was sentenced to serve one year in prison.

About a month before the film was set to be released to the public, Gilbert Sanches posted the “workprint” on the file-sharing site MegaUpload. 20th Century Fox was able to remove the content within 24 hours of the posting, but by then the damage had been done, according to prosecutors. They claimed the “film had proliferated like wildfire throughout the internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements.”

In March, Sanches plead guilty to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution. This week, Judge Margaret Morrow called Sanches’ actions an “extremely serious” breach of the law and sentenced him to one year in prison, one year of supervised release and various restrictions on computer use.

US Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr. said, “The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message. The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”

[GigWise]