Just in case you had’nt heard, on the eve of April Fools Day a workprint of X-Men Origins: Wolverine found its way to the internet and hundreds of thousands of downloads occurred before 20th Century Fox could stop it. Though at first one might think “So what?” – there’s more at stake than just having a flick run free on the internet prior to its official release date.

When I first saw this, I held back. It was April Fool’s day. But as the hours passed, so did the proof that this was indeed real.

I shook my head in disbelief.

How Can A Movie Get Leaked?

Does that really matter? There are so many different people that handle a DVD of a movie in post-production before it hits the theaters, it’s amazing we don’t see this more often.

With the number of folk who have access to a post-production version of a movie, when do the necessary additional security measures kick in that studios may have to take? Will those measures cost us, the fan, more in the end?

Sure we might grumble at the studios, but who is really to blame?

Have You Thought About the Little Guy?

I suppose that for some, the idea of seeing a movie before it’s actually released to the public is some sort of thrill (or something). While these folks gloat about having seen a film early (and illegally), I’m sure they don’t think about the impact their cumulative actions have on others.

The “others” are those people who put in 10 to 14 hour days over the course of a couple of years creating a movie. The “others” are also the second tier people who depend on a film to be released for their livelihoods… Movie theater owners/employees, for example.

For all these people, an advance pirate copy that makes it online dilutes the hard work they’ve put into something, and takes away from the “event” status of a big blockbuster release date. A release date that has had many countless hours of effort put towards deciding how to best present the culmination of all that hard work.

As this travesty went viral, Twitter.com was aflame with people stating that the Wolverine movie had found its way to the internet.

Some cheered at the travesty thrust upon Fox. I get where you’re coming from. Fox sure doesn’t have the best track record in how they’ve handled some franchises or other matters. But if you think this through, it’s just not Fox that gets hurt. It’s shameful to ponder the idea that we might really wish harm on a person’s livelihood.

So the buzz lit up big time.

Shortly thereafter folks were out there boasting about having grabbed some popcorn and sitting down to watch their newly stolen digital media.

Yes… I Said Stolen

If you go to the trouble of hunting down what you know is an illegal copy of the film, you knowingly stole it. And don’t tell me you didn’t know. To add insult to thievery, some of you were stupid enough to brag about it on various social networking sites. Good for you! Now at least if Fox and the FBI decide to pursue this legal issue to that level, you’ve made it very easy for them to find you. Even if you didn’t brag about it, you left a digital trail to the torrent files and subsequent activity is clear as day to the packet sniffers.

As it stands, the copy of the film that made its way online did not have the majority of its visual effects complete, had missing scenes and a temporary audio/music track. So I’m sure that made for an AWESOME viewing experience.

Some Actually Posted Reviews

To further implicate yourselves, you then thought you would be super cool and leave your reviews and opinions on what you saw on various bulletin boards and websites. Most website admins removed your misbegotten opinions, choosing instead to take the high road regarding this scenario. Good for them.

Fox stated in a press release on April 1st that the FBI and the MPAA are actively investigating this crime and that:

“The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Oh yes. This little stunt can lead to some jail time. I have a feeling someone may find themselves with some new best friends fairly soon.

When All Is Said And Done

It seems that it may be pretty easy to track down who did this. Maybe instead of firing him or her, the studio should garnish their wages for all eternity for profits lost.

If you think it really doesn’t hurt studios, think of this: Eli Roth didn’t release Hostel: Part II in Mexico because it was already leaked there and you could buy it for twenty-five cents. What was the point of opening there then?

You think that if you alone “stole” a movie, who would it hurt? It adds up. One of my favorite examples of adding up is an article I wrote about saving electricity. If every light switch wielding person (estimated 211 million – it’s just a ball park for this example) in the U.S. left a light bulb burning in an empty room for only 5 minutes, as a collective, that adds up to around 2,000 years of wasted energy. It all adds up and we can make a difference.

In closing, Fox said this:

“We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning piracy and this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors and, above all, hurts fans of the film”

We at Screen Rant will never support this kind of behavior and we will not tolerate anyone posting their own review or experience in the comments.

‘Nuff said?

Source: BBC News