The Federal Bureau of Investigation says an Irvine man pleaded guilty to a felony charge of uploading a pre-release version of The Love Guru to a website operated by a piracy group that made the Mike Myers movie widely available on the Internet.
The big question is: Why?
To clarify, there is no question why the FBI would want to publicize a successful prosecution based on one of its investigations.
Nor is there a question why 31-year-old Mischa Wynhausen--whose name Myers should incorporate into a bit--agreed to a guilty plea of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution in an agreement filed Dec. 30 in a Los Angeles federal court. Clearing his conscience, ensuring a lighter sentence and pissing off video pirates are all valid reasons for Wynhausen to accept his fate, which the judge is scheduled to hand down later this month.
Without the plea deal, Wynhausen faced up to three years in the federal pokey. Now, because of his cooperation, prosecutors will ask the judge to give him three years of probation.
The "why" in this instance is, why all the effort for The Love Guru?
It was being called a bomb before it hit the theaters, with Roger Ebert having written, "Myers has made some funny movies, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents." Our Ella Taylor summed it up as, "[M]ostly it's dreary dick jokes and elephant poop . . . and, of all fatal errors, Mike Myers, shooting for cuddly."
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Myers should have been paying the pirates to destroy all copies, based on the assessment of Nathan Rabin of The Onion's A.V. Club: "A smart, talented, accomplished writer-actor like Myers spending years meticulously creating, rehearsing, and refining an obnoxious one-note cartoon like Guru Pitka is like a group of brilliant scientists working around the clock for a decade to build a malfunctioning fart machine: a surreal waste of time, energy and manpower."
Incidentally, Wynhausen becomes the second person charged in relation to the theft of The Love Guru screener and its subsequent posting on the Internet. Earlier this year, Jack Yates, 28, of Porter Ranch, was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense of criminal copyright infringement.
Yates worked for a company Paramount Pictures hired to make DVD copies of the movie that would be distributed to the media before The Love Guru's June 20, 2008, release in theaters. But Yates made an extra, illegal copy that he provided to Wynhausen, who uploaded it onto the Internet on June 19-20, 2008.