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FBI Traces Hateful Eight Screener Leak to Point Break Producer

| 23 Dec 2015 17:34

First the script, and now the screener. Quentin Tarantino just can't catch a break.

Because people simply cannot wait until a movie is released in theaters nowadays (or simply don't want to pay to see it), screener copies of both Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and Alejandro Inarritu's The Revenant were leaked online earlier this week. The former has been downloaded by over 864,282 unique IP addresses in the past 48 hours, while the latter has risen to a ridiculous 1,145,840 addresses in that same time period, marking the biggest piracy takeover since the events that inspired Captain Phillips.

As is usually the case when this sort of thing happens, the FBI was brought in to determine where the source of the leak might be, and I know so little about their methods of doing so that I won't even attempt to explain them to those of you who likely do. In any case, The Hollywood Reporter outed the supposed source of the leak this morning: Alcon Entertainment co-CEO and Point Break reboot producer Andrew Kosove.

Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of production-finance company Alcon Entertainment, was sent the "screener" copy of Hateful Eight for year-end awards consideration. That copy was signed for by an office assistant and later shared online, where it is now circulating on multiple file-sharing sites. Sources say officials with the FBI, working in conjunction with distributor The Weinstein Co., have been able to pinpoint Kosove's copy of the film as the source of the leak from a watermark on the DVD sent to him. FBI agents are visiting Alcon's Century City headquarters Tuesday to determine the chain of custody of the DVD and who is responsible for its uploading. Alcon is cooperating fully in the investigation.

Kosove, however, is not only denying being behind the leak but even laying a finger on the screener DVD his company reportedly received.

"The screener copy of 'The Hateful Eight' that was sent to me at Alcon Entertainment never touched my hands nor was I aware that it had been delivered," said Kosove.

"In addition to cooperating with the FBI, we are going to conduct our own investigation to find out what happened. Piracy is a threat to our entire industry and as filmmakers we will not tolerate such illegal and despicable behavior."

For what it's worth, the source of film leaks have been misattributed before, especially during "Oscar screener season." Last year, Ellen DeGeneres was linked to a leaked screener of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which surfaced on file-sharing pirate networks with the watermark "Ellen DeGeneres" just weeks before her gig hosting the 2014 Academy Awards. Degeneres was later cleared of any wrongdoing, so it's more than likely that Kosove is, as the Reporter puts it, "a victim in this leak rather than the perpetrator."

The true source of the leak will likely be unveiled in the following weeks pending the FBI's investigation, but one can only hope that the leaked screeners don't do too much damage to either The Hateful Eight or The Revenant's returns. Both are original, inventive properties from established directors, which we're seeing less and less of in the current moviescape, and should be supported accordingly.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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