Why is a trafficker in pirated movies sailing to Hollywood’s rescue?
The following feature, excerpted in part from J.D. Lasica’s book “Darknet,” appeared in the May-June 2005 issue of Legal Affairs magazine.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE HULK OPENED AT MOVIE THEATERS in June 2003, the $150 million motion picture made an unauthorized debut in cyberspace. Universal Pictures had sent a videotape of the unfinished film to a New York advertising agency, where an employee lent the tape to a friend, a 24-year-old insurance underwriter, who digitized the tape and put it on an Internet movie-trading channel.
The work print lacked special effects and much of the movie’s soundtrack. After it was viewed online, negative word of mouth spread quickly, helping to doom the film at the box office despite a strong opening weekend.