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Warner Bros. vows to prosecute Deathly Hallows leaker


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Warner Bros. is scrambling to identify who leaked the first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 to dozens of BitTorrent sites.

The movie does not open until Friday, but Potter fans who want a sneak peek currently have plenty of unauthorized options.

“Last night a portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was stolen and illegally posted on the internet,” Warner Bros. said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law.”

Torrent searchers hit pay dirt Monday with the discovery of the Deathly Hallows fragment on BitTorrent sites. The watermarked footage appears to come from a DVD screener sent out by the studio, although Warner Bros. would not confirm this.

Ernesto Van der Sar, founder/editor of the TorrentFreak website, told Wired.com that Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the most-anticipated film at the moment among downloaders, but said he doesn’t think this particular leak will be downloaded by millions of BitTorrent users.

“From comments I’ve seen, people would rather wait for the film to premiere in-theater or hang on until a full, high-quality copy of the film appears online,” he said.

On Torrent-tracking sites like and The Pirate Bay and isoHunt, some users complained about fake Deathly Hallows torrents that were popping up, while others said they enjoyed the extended sneak peek at what appears to be legitimate footage from the seventh Harry Potter movie.

“This is the actual release from iNK,” wrote Tam&Carla on The Pirate Bay. “Quality-wise, it is a screener and is watermarked throughout! Hopefully the full release will be up soon, but in the meantime, take or leave this tease.”

Last year’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince stands as one of the most pirated movies in history with more than 8 million downloads, according to Van der Sar. In his story about this week’s Potter piracy, he theorized that the leak might boost Deathly Hallows at the box office.

“Warner Bros. Pictures is usually none too fond of leaks, especially if a film gets out before it premieres in theater,” he wrote. “However, today’s leak may actually benefit the movie and boost theater attendance, as long as the full version doesn’t leak out too. If the first half-hour is compelling enough, people will have to go to the theater and pay for a ticket to see the rest. It may be going a little bit too far to suggest that Warner Bros. leaked the film intentionally, but from a business perspective it might make sense.”

Van der Sar described the quality of the leak as “highly unusual” in his e-mail to Wired.com.

“In terms of uniqueness and impact I would compare this leak to the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak last year, although that wasn’t a screener but an unfinished copy work-print without the special effects,” he said. The X-Men Origins leak sparked an FBI investigation.

Warner Bros. has not replied to queries from Wired.com about the Deathly Hallows leak.

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WTF? He/them are advertising the film for you and you go and sue them? :huh:

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liek always they give out dvdscreeners to their elitest liberial friends

guessing they are trying to win the oscar awards.

i watch it and i can tell you it made me actually tihinking of going to the movie theater and seeing it.

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I did it. Warner Brothers, come get me (now as WB looks to me, everyone else repeats)

@Warner Brothers: Yeah he did it. :P

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