An unfinished work-print of the hit Showtime series Homeland appeared online yesterday. According to TorrentFreak, the leaked episode is missing the opening credits and some of the “seamless” CGI effects — buildings in the background, cars on closed roads, and a key element of last season’s finale — have yet to be added.
Homeland was already one of the most pirated shows on television, averaging 2.4 million downloads per episode. Almost 200,000 people have already downloaded the season premier, and although Showtime has yet to officially comment on the leak, premier cable channels have been increasingly open to the idea of having their content downloaded.
Last month, the head of Time Warner, Alan Bewkes, said “[w]e’ve been dealing with this for 20, 30 years — people sharing [subscriptions], running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying [subscribers]. I think you’re right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world and that’s better than an Emmy.”
The last leak of a workprint with this high a profile occurred in 2009 when a copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine appeared online. Although the copy contained no special effects — it was a Wolverine film in which the character’s signature claws were lacking — 20th Century Fox aggressively pushed for the prosecution of the leaker. Gilberto Sanchez, who uploaded a copy of the film to Megaupload, was eventually sentenced to a year in jail.
It remains to be seen whether Showtime will follow 20th Century Fox’s lead, or whether it will adopt the more lenient attitude of HBO.
[“Claire Danes Arrives At The ‘Homeland’ Panel At The Academy Of Tv Arts And Sciences On March 21, 2012 In North Hollywood, Ca” on Shutterstock.com]