Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is set to premier this week on Thursday. Last night, the first 36 minutes of the movie leaked to torrent sites and via other download protocols.
Released by the group iNK, the leaked copy has the typical watermarks and other screener features, but because it is not the full movie, some are speculating that the clip was leaked to create anticipation for the movie. Users who download it will want to see the rest of the movie as 36 minutes is just enough whet your appetite and absorb you into the plot but obviously not enough to satisfy your Harry Potter hunger.
"Last night a portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was stolen and illegally posted on the internet," Warner Bros. told Wired. "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."
Is the major studio finally testing a theory that many copyright infringers insist on? That is, pirates believe that distributing a movie illegally on the Internet provides more of a marketing boost to a film than a revenue drain. Either way, the company's official stance is still the same: pirates need to pay.