Pirating the Oscars: 2011 edition

Andy Baio has continued his excellent annual series, "Pirating the Oscars," which tracks each year's Oscar nominee's appearance on file-sharing networks, and keeps statistics on the method by which each nominee is captured and uploaded (camcordered, ripped from screener/pre-release cut, ripped from commercial DVD, etc). Because Andy does these stats on an annual basis, we get a longitudinal view into the way that file-sharing is changing in response to the studios' countermeasures, and in response to new technologies in general.

* This year, three films were leaked online within a day of their theatrical release -- Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland, and Harry Potter.

* The Rabbit Hole screener was leaked online eight days before its theatrical release, while Winter's Bone [ed: excellent film, but don't make the mistake I made -- it's not a date-night kind of movie!] was the slowest to leak online (so far) at 125 days after its theatrical release.

* Oscar-nominated films tend to get released late in the year, but how late? More nominated films have been released on December 25 than any other day, but the median date is October 20.

* For the first year, the first high-quality leak of a film -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- was a PPV rip, most likely from a hotel's new movie releases on pay-per-view.

* Retail Blu-Ray rips are now frequently being leaked online now before retail DVDs, so I've modified the "Retail DVD" column to include them.

Pirating the 2011 Oscars

Google Spreadsheet


  1. Starting 2 years ago, people who received screeners got threatening letters with the screener saying each copy was basically watermarked to them individually. And I have heard of people who were hassled when a copy intended for them was found elsewhere.

    The rhetoric is less drastic now, but you are asked to destroy them and not lend, sell, or give away. You basically agree to this if you watch it.

    I suggest anyone with old screeners to dontate them to soldiers overseas.

  2. Very Interesting!

    However, I am concerned about the cultural mentality of piracy for our young population. They are branded as outlaws, as thieves. To me, it seems we are entering into a 2nd recursion of the Great Prohibition.

    Young people know that pirating through fileshare, torrent, warez forums is looked down upon. They might or might not feel it’s morally wrong, but because they ain’t got the money, they got to do it if they wanna take advantage of the web. What we got is a rather dangerous situation where breaking the law is fun because of the corporate branding of piracy as evil.
    But alas information wants to be free. And free it shall be. Just like the Prohibition of alcohol was to no avail, so too will this era of digital Prohibition.

    check out my blog post on piracy, future of internet and nature of “free” on the web:

    1. I assure you, it’s possible to take full advantage of the web without resorting to downloading pirated content. I often wonder what would happen if pirating ever became truly impossible. Many people would probably just consume other free content, or affordable independant content, rather than pay the high prices that large media production companies are asking for. I often ask people why they risk getting viruses by installing so much pirated software from questionable sources when there’s so much open source/free software available to fill just about all your needs, unless you need professional tools, which 99.99 % of us do not need.

  3. My neighbour downloaded a copy of ‘The Social Network’ that had yellow copyright notices superimposed on the action at regular intervals. I assumed that this copy was uploaded by an insider…

  4. Am I not understanding something here? Say according to the graph:

    % Release by Type 2003
    25 Cam
    65 Telesync
    90 Retail DVD

    so in 2003 180% of movies were release online. Sure the chart tells me the telesync has got harder to find, which I knew, and that DVD/bluRay rips have become more popular, which I knew. What I don’t understand is the three lines being on the same graph and what that represents on aggregate. nothing I hope.

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