The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

dvd piracy 02 The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

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, 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.

dvd piracy 03b The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

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

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  1. @ Handsoma

    I coulnd’t have said it any better…

    And I totally agree with your last sentence. I hate DVD’s that have crappy special features or none at all. Better off just buying a pirated version.

    The movie industry has been milking the public for years. Paying 20 million per quality actor per film!!! Why not pay all actors 50-75% less and drop the cost of movie prices and DvD’s?

    If prices were fair, there would be very little piracy. Hence, the extent of piracy is directly proportionate to the Movie industry’s greed.

    FYI, I own over 400 DVD’s and maybe only 5% are burnt copies.

  2. JOE:

    That is more the truth of it. Momentum of what people do dictates the outline of acceptance.

    Here’s a fascinating take on the momentum of society: A friend of mine had an accident. He was the 2nd car through an intersection under the green light and he got center punched by a speeding car and my friend took out two other cars. In the end, while he was still in the hospital, he learned that the accident was deemed his fault.

    Why? He went through the green light when it was not safe to do so, hence the a**h*** who ran the light got off. Eff me.

    That kind of society is what’s developing here. I’m not arguing it. When those who do “wrong” create the momentum of a premise, well then, what can we say. It is what it is.

    (I have to quote the word wrong… it’s a loosely defined term as this conversation is defining perspectives.)


    “harder to track effectively or legally”

    It’s not harder to track. Just harder to prove, or not cost effective.

    Sadly, it is preventable. I work within a system that has incredibly inscrutible controls and the data we handle will NEVER get out of our multi-user network BUT, the costs of creating such a system would be stupid by industry standards, not to mention tacked on to what we already pay. I don’t think they’d dare.

    Two words? Special Feature… oh crap!!! I’ve been saying them so fast, I thought it was one big happy word!

    So then I question the statement, NOT YOU HANDSOMA, but if one considers themselves moral, except in certain moments, then do most consider the state of being moral a part time endeavor where partial credit counts for the overall scheme?

    I see where you’re coming from. I do.

    So the moral person is a dinosaur that is going extinct as the temptations on the Internet create an environment of “ease of use”. Egads, are we going back to the day of “the apple”?

    This is somewhat depressing. But then, it seems, I’m a lumbering, depressed dinosaur.

  3. @Joe:

    Can’t say I agree with that. Right and wrong may be decided upon by society within the atmosphere of their every day experiences and interactions, but such a consensus should never govern the end result. Questions of morality get highly complex and should be vigorously scrutinized the greater this acceptance becomes.


    I won’t argue with you on the tracking part, perhaps more so because I couple it with the verification of the crime as it were. As to the cost effectiveness: I should have just made that my thesis, because I agree it is a money thing.. though isn’t everything?

    I do maintain, however, that illegal downloading can’t and won’t be stopped. I say this purely from understanding the voracity of the public and the adaptive and creative nature of those who will always seek to circumvent the system.

    As to your comments on morality: fear not! and don’t be gloomy! What you say is actually a debate of moral relativism vs. universal moral truths.. a topic that isn’t going to be slain or solved in discussing the publics penchant for victimless crimes – in this case downloading a movie on the internet.

    So you’re not a lumbering, depressed dinosaur, good sir! Richard Dawkins actually discusses the evolution of the moral zeitgeist quite well, and despite how glum things may appear, the moral zeitgeist is flowering and trudging forward with all the vim and vigor it should.. just not when it comes to movies / music / software and all the other free goodies on display in this bizarre bazaar know as the “net”.

  4. Ugh. Please don’t bring Dawkins into this.


  5. I’m done talking about infringement, etc. because I think people are talking about different things at this point. I know I was, so anyway.

    Have they figured out how this was leaked? Was it an insider or was it a case of intrusion?

    I don’t know if anybody remembers, but Valve Software’s game “Half-Life 2″ was leaked, and after investigation of what many had assumed was an inside job, they found an improperly configured IIS server had been rooted and the game build had been copied by an outsider. The hacker was never caught, IIRC.

    I wonder what the source of the workprint leak will turn out to be.

  6. Actually Jack, unless I’m remembering something completely different, they DID catch the hacker that leaked Half Life 2. It was some guy in Germany. I read that they pretended to be interested in hiring him as their IT security guy to lure him to a meeting so they can arrest him, but German authorities found out about it and arrested him themselves instead of letting our FBI get him. That’s what I read about that, not sure if it’s correct or not…

  7. You’re on the money Ken J:

    The Half Life 2 hacker was Axel Gembe, of Schonau, Germany.

    They tried to get him to the U.S. by offering him a job, and hence a job interview… but he didn’t take the bait. (This after he sent an email bragging about his stunt. I wonder if he’s related to Friedman?)

    He was put on probation in Germany for the crime, but the U.S. couldn’t touch him because he never came to U.S. soil.

    Old habits never die. Gembe is now under the legal spotlight again for his part in a massive 2003 denial of service attack and folk are wondering if this time, he’s going to be extradited.


  8. Once a criminal always a criminal.

  9. Holy cow! I never knew they caught the guy. That’s really interesting. Thank you for the information.

  10. Yah, good thing they did, Half Life 2 is truley a masterpiece and you can tell those developers put all their heart and effort into it. just play it with commentary mode turned on and you will realize that at EVERY turn, they put everything into consideration before they designed an inch of this game. They considered where the player will most likely focus their attention at any given moment to perfectly place where things will happen or where the next passage would be, they considered how the other characters’ reactions would affect how you interpret the next part, they consider what sounds to put where and when you reach where so you don’t get distracted when you don’t need to but at the same time get the full story, etc. etc. etc. So to steal that game is a real insult to people who really care about giving quality entertainment to their consumers.

    I can’t wait for Half Life 2: Episode 3, which I will BUY, even preorder.

    Funny thing, the developer has come out and said that they realized they’ve made a big mistake with the naming of the episodic content. They should be called Half Life 3: Episode 1, 2, and 3, not Half Life 2: Episode 1, 2, and 3, since they are episodes of Half Life 3, not 2, lol. But it’s too late to change it now, lol.

  11. The Movie Industry and the MPAA will continue to bemoan their poor fates and how much money all these poor A+ actors are losing, and the people who are involved in making the actual movies (Don’t worry about them, they’ve got Unions) at the same time continuing to bury their heads in the sand and deny the internet exists for anything but piracy. Did online music destroy the poor bedraggled music industry? Hardly. Millions upon Millions of people buy music legally from Itunes and other services. People don’t want to spend money on gas, ever-increasing ticket prices for ever-worsening movies, exorbitant rates such as 5 dollars for a 50 cent box of candy, and so on, in a crowded theatre, full of screaming babies, and ruckus teenagers snickering every other minute while you try to watch a film. Get with it, movie industry! Itunes, Rhapsody, Hulu, etc., etc. They’ve got the right idea. They’re making money! Why aren’t you? Someone get some baby wipes. I smell some rear-ends that need to be cleaned and some tears that need to by dried up.

  12. Oh yes, the internet only exists for the sake of piracy… right…

    We all know the internet is for pron… 😀

  13. Hey Dan,

    Deterrence is moot these days, since laws are inadequately backed to enforce.

    And the proper measures, are so cost prohibitive to the end movie viewer that they are probably not worth it because the cost to do so many layers of transfer monitoring would be passed to us.

    As we’ve seen from comments above, to most, this “event” is an acceptable practice.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to head down to my local grocery store and snag a bottle of ketchup to “try” before I buy one.

  14. I agree re: deterrence, have it there, will discourage some folks, but it won’t do much.

    And we agree that a significant percentage of society views this as not a big deal. Not surprising, most folks don’t have a dog in this fight, and its hard to feel bad for the symbols of Hollywood (overpaid performers). But the studio does care, and a lot of other people are affected, people who’s yearly income isn’t measured in millions.

    But we’ll have to agree to disagree on controls. Right now they are trying inadequate things, references to safes and sign out sheets, saber rattling. It won’t cost a dollar to go through the communications methods at these companies and determine whether any monitoring safeguards are in place for each method. The safeguards themselves (e-mail appliance, web filter, firewall, end point DLP) could cost less then $100,000. Add a competent security guy to work for the studio and check out all the vendors, do the monitoring another $100,000.

    The movie has been downloaded at least 1mm times so far, so at $7 a ticket that’s $7mm in lost revenue (low side estimate doesn’t include all downloads, DVD dist., etc.).

    A couple hundred grand spread out over all those ticket prices, and cost cost passed on to each movie goer isn’t even a penny.

    Thanks for the response, made me think.

  15. Yep.. it seems pretty simple indeed. Just like following the speed limit!

    Yet somehow, it never ends up that simple. Having been a “packet sniffer,” I get what you’re saying. Yet… someone will screw it up and complicate the system.


  16. After watching the movie at the cinema, I wish i would have illegally downloaded it.

  17. I agree with “Mark” in a previous post: “I want quality.. i reward quality.”

    In the days of vinyl you bought the quality albums, otherwise, you bought cheap singles.
    Later came cassettes. Again you bought or re-bought the quality (It doesn’t matter who the artist is. Just what ever you consider “quality”) and made home copies of the rest.
    Then came CD’s. Again, I re-bought the quality and then I dowmoaded cheap (or free) of the rest.
    Same goes for movies. VHS came out, I bought the quality movies, dubbed the rest.) DVD came out, I bought the quality copied and downloaded the rest.
    My point is this. I feel I’ve paid my dues. Everytime a new technology becomes available, I am expected to re-buy my libraries. I don’t mind buying and even re-buying quality, but buying crap is just a waste.

  18. way to go cowboy. 100% behind you on this.

  19. downloading is not illegal. if you give me something illegal over the internet,you should get prosecuted,not me.
    you make it available,i just download it…;)

  20. now we're talking…