Carmine Caridi, the Academyof Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member who violated the Academy's screenerban last awards season, has been ordered to pay $300,000 in damages in a civilsuit brought by Warner Bros Entertainment.

Caridi received DVD screenersfor Mystic River and The LastSamurai and passed them on toRussell Sprague in Chicago. As a result of Sprague's involvement, both titleswere posted illegally on peer-to-peer websites.

Forensics proved thatCaridi's screener, along with two illegally camcorded copies, provided themasters for pirated hard good copies in at least 21 countries.

Imposing the maximumstatutory damages of $150,000 per title for willful copyright infringement,Judge Stephen Wilson of the US District Court for the Central District ofCalifornia said Caridi's conduct was "particularly egregious".

"Judge Wilson's award andcomments clearly show that due to the viral nature of the internet, even oneillegally used copy of a film can cause significant financial damage," DarcyAntonellis, senior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy operations at WarnerBros Entertainment, said in a statement.

"In awarding the maximumstatutory damages, he has shown that willful infringers will cause significantfinancial damage to themselves as well. We hope that the court's award againstCaridi, as well as the criminal sentence to be handed down against Sprague,whose actions were equally destructive, will prove a deterrent against thestealing of intellectual property."

Sprague was arrested in April2004 and awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of violating theDigital Millennium Copyright Act.