Harry Potter Movie Leaks on Torrent Sites Before Premiere

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A pirated copy of the latest Harry Potter movie appeared on dozens torrent sites last night, just days before the worldwide premiere of the movie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 opens Friday, but enterprising fans can now download a high-quality part of the movie for free on the Internet.

Like most DVD rips found on torrent sites, the Harry Potter screener has the watermarks and other pirating-deterring features. But the unusual thing is the leak only contains the first 36 minutes of the movie, drumming up anticipation for reportedly the most searched film on torrent sites right now.

Ernesto Van der Sar of TorrentFreak speculates that the 36-minute clip could be an intentional leak from Warner Bros. studios, in order to draw intrigued audiences to the cinema this weekend. If the first half-hour actually compels viewers of the pirated leak to go to the cinema, then the studio might actually benefit from this. Otherwise, consider it an extended sneak peek.

But Warner Bros. says the leak was not intentional. "This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property," the studio said in a statement to Wired. "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."

This is not the first time a movie leaked on torrent sites before its cinema premiere. Last year, a full-length prerelease copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine found its way on torrent sites a month ahead its release, although the version did not feature all the finalized special effects. In 2007, a prerelease copy of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows book was leaked online before it hit the streets as well.

Will the 36-minute Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 leak convince you to go and see the full movie in the cinema? Sound off in the comments.

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