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Warner Bros. moves against Web copies of 'Dark Knight'

Illegal copies of the film didn't show up on the Web until two days after the theatrical release; the studio calls that a victory.

Warner Bros. is going after the sites that posted pirated copies of the film The Dark Knight.

Studio says the first illegal version to show up online was a poorly lit, 'camcorded' copy. Warner Bros.

CNET News reported Monday that copies of the hit new Batman film could be found at several Web sites. Now, a spokesman for the studio said Warner Bros. is taking action.

"We actively search for these sites and services and have them taken down," said Craig Hoffman, a spokesman for Warner Bros.' worldwide antipiracy and technical operations. "While so far we have had compliance with our requests, we certainly reserve our rights to take whatever legal action necessary to protect our intellectual property."

Warner Bros. does see one positive in the pirating of The Dark Knight, Hoffman said. No copies of the film circulated before the film's theater debut.

"It is impossible to monitor every single screening at every theater worldwide to prevent it from being camcorded," Hoffman said. "Sadly, it is inevitable that an illegal copy of the film will eventually surface. What was a true accomplishment and unprecedented given the amount of interest and Internet buzz about The Dark Knight was despite hundreds of pre-release press, review, and promotional screenings worldwide, not a single copy of the film leaked prior to the official release."

According to Hoffman, the first copy, which was a poorly lit "camcorded copy," did not surface until 48 hours after the film's release. There's no way to confirm that, but it sounds about right.

"It was that copy that propagated on the Internet during the first days of the movie's release," Hoffman said.