A wave of DVD screeners and cam copies of new films hits piracy sites
A successful hacking attempt may mean that many, if not all of this holiday season's hit films are now, or will soon be available to download on piracy sites.
A torrent for the box office darling of the moment, the new Star Wars sequel by J.J. Abrams, has also been leaked online in a separate incident.
Piracy release group Hive-CM8 says they have access to more than 40 DVD screeners of recent films that they plan to upload online following the group's upload of Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight'.
Screeners are sent to industry insiders, reviewers and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during reward season. These DVDs, also sometimes digital copies, are watermarked to allow the source of potential leaks to be traced.
An FBI investigation has been launched, and they have traced the source of the leak to Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment. Kosove has agreed to cooperate fully with the FBI, and claims that the DVD screeners of 'The Hateful Eight' never reached him in person, suggesting that the leak possibly occurred earlier in the chain of distribution.
Hive-CM8 has also released DVD screener copies of 'The Revenant', 'Creed' and 'Legend'.
Meanwhile, pirated versions of the current box office lead and potential candidate to become the most successful movie ever, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', is now available to download on most piracy sites. The pirated versions are all "cam" copies, meaning they were recorded in a film theater using a digital recording devices, such as a phone or a camcorder.
The initial leak was a very poor quality copy in Spanish, but more releases are now available complete with English intro text crawl and soundtrack, in good quality (for a cam release).
The available of pirated copies of the eagerly anticipated film seems to have had little effect on the box office fortunes of director J.J. Abrams's take on the Star Wars universe, with the film currently breaking almost all box office records in all markets around the world.