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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Eight charged over Star Wars leak
Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith opened to huge fanfare in May
Eight people have been charged by US authorities with the illegal online release of the final Star Wars film before it appeared in cinemas.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was leaked onto the internet the day before the film's worldwide release in May.

Documents from the court in Los Angeles allege the copy was taken from a post-production facility in California, where one of the defendants worked.

The defendants are charged with various offences relating to the leak.

Guilty plea

The US attorney in Los Angeles filed a copyright infringement charge against Albert Valente, 28, of Lakewood, California, for taking the Star Wars copy from the post-production house where he worked.

In a statement, the US attorney's office said he had pleaded guilty to the charge.

Six other people were charged with copyright infringement and other charges for copying and distributing the Star Wars film that Valente took.

Another defendant, Marc Hoaglin, 36, of Huntington Beach, California, was charged with putting the film on the internet.

Mr Hoaglin could face up to three years in jail if convicted.

All eight defendants are scheduled to appear in court next month.

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