Digital piracy is a large and polarizing issue. Fans soak up torrents of "Game of Thrones" immediately after it airs. Some do it because they don't want to pay the price for HBO or don't want to wait for it to reach a legitimate streaming service or DVD release date. CNET's Nick Statt took a look this week at one particular corner of digital piracy: unreleased films.
"The Expendables 3," which doesn't open in theaters until August 15, has already been leaked online where hundreds of thousands of early birds have downloaded it. Statt argues that this sort of behavior is indefensible. "While there is no golden rule on film piracy right's and wrong's, the argument that it's an inevitability for the industry -- alongside the ludicrous idea that it will actually make a meaningful portion of torrenters pay to see it in theaters -- doesn't make downloading an unreleased film any less wrong," he writes.
Another high-profile piracy case appeared recently when a workprint of the first Peter Capaldi episode from the new series of "Doctor Who" made its way online, even though the season doesn't start until August 23. These leaks may create quite a tempting situation for fans who want to get in early on new productions, ahead of the movie lines, and before everybody else gets to watch them on TV.
Statt argues that pre-release film leaks are damaging to the entertainment industry as a whole. "We often complain about 'sequelitis' and the onslaught of low-quality, brainless action movies and series reboots, yet don't ever seem to take responsibility for the fact that our collective unwillingness to pay for things that don't have formulaic payout is what drives creative decision making," he writes.
It's time for true confessions. Have you ever downloaded an unreleased film or TV show episode? Vote in our poll and tell us why or why not in the comments.