The first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, has been leaked online much to the fury of Warner Brothers, which has launched an investigation.
The substantial leak occurred on Monday night when the section of the film, which amounts to about a fifth of the total run time, appeared on numerous file-sharing websites like The Pirate Bay. It came four days ahead of the film’s international release in cinemas on Friday.
The studio said that this was not a promotional practice and that it would be pursuing full legal action against whoever leaked the segment and anyone found to be sharing the copyrighted material will be banished to Azkaban.
The leak is watermarked, suggesting it could be from a reviewer copy or an employee of the studio, which is usually the case. While Warner Bros. has not explicitly said so, we imagine part of its investigation will be internal.
It has ruled out thefts from the premieres of the film held in London and New York this week, but has not commented on review copies or the prints already sent to hundreds of cinemas around the world which could also be the source of the leak.
There were some concerns raised about the leak affecting initial performance of the film at the box office, with the Wall Street Journal citing a previous instance of X-Men Origins: Wolverine being leaked out and pulling in less than anticipated at launch.