When an incomplete and early version of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked to torrent sites in 2009, Twentieth Century Fox announced that the uploader “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it,” the studio said in a statement.
Nabbed by a watermark, a New York man subsequently pleaded guilty to making the movie available on Megaupload. Gilberto Sanchez was sentenced to a year in prison in 2011. A triumphant US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said that “sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates.”
But fast forward to today. An unprecedented number of in-theater movies like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and other movies are now flooding torrent sites. These are the same movies—watermarked DVD screeners—handed out to critics and Academy members who vote on the Oscars. A Screen Actor’s Guild member was popped in 2011 for making available the King’s Speech on The Pirate Bay after a watermark on his copy matched the one that was online.
But movie pirates are now embracing technology of their own and defeating the studios’ watermarks. The quality of the scrubbed versions isn’t perfect. But the removal of the code digitally woven into the Oscar screeners is making camcorded torrrents of in-theater movies look like child’s play.
Piracy groups are bragging about it, too.
The CM8 release group wrote on kickasstorrents that it was a time-consuming effort to make availableThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
First real Screener of this Year!!!
got you First and Second Part, now its time for Part Three! Have FUN!
A bit later than last years, but better late and safe than sorry.
Last 2 weeks have been hell, searched all over for Hobbit day and night.
Movie had Watermarks visible and invisible ones, had to remove frames to get rid of them.
Nothing i havent done before, It was hours of work, but its finally done and here for you to get!
TorrentFreak notes that the number of Oscar screeners now appearing on torrent sites—at least a dozen, is “unprecedented.” The latest Hobbit installment was downloaded 500,000 times within 24 hours of its initial debut on torrent sites a week ago. “Several ‘versions’ of the movie exist on torrent sites, each labeled by rival release groups including CM8, EVO, TiTAN, Ozlem and RAV3N,” TorrentFreak said.
And it’s happening without the The Pirate Bay, which was shuttered last month, following a raid on a Stockholm server room.