Thursday08 December 2022

Screener Season Kicks off with a Bang thanks to the Hive-CM8

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As 2015 comes to a close the advanced copies of movies are in transit to different groups and agencies. Many of these are for awards or accolades of some sort and almost without exception, copies of these (called screeners) end up on the internet available for download. This year has seen a bonanza of screener news including tracking one copy of the Hateful Eight to the Co-CEO of a production finance company, Andrew Kosove. As you might imagine things got more than a little interesting after this was uncovered.

Of course Kosove is denying that he received the screener and says that he knows nothing about it. He would say this even if he is the one that made the copy and put it up for distribution. However, it is probably more likely that someone in his office or the distribution chain made the copy and served it up. Hollywood’s anti-piracy guys used a water mark to establish the link. Kosove is cooperating with the FBI and his company is performing their own internal investigation according to a recent statement.

Hollywood knows that a large number of screeners get dumped at the end of the year and ramp up their takedown machines. These cover both links and domain names just to be sure that nothing gets past them. They are also adding in more watermarks and other tech to identify which copy is which and how might have leaked it. This does not mean that the screeners will stop flowing, it just means that new ways of removing watermarks and metadata will be found to clean the films before release.

In fact despite the FBI investigation and the amped up domain seizures and link takedowns a large number of screeners have hit the interwebs including the James Bond File Spectre. In total eleven of these screeners are out there in the open. What makes this unusual is that these releases are not following the normal pattern of hitting the Scene first and then dropping down the chain to bit torrent and other forms of distribution. Instead these are getting public release to Bit Torrent from a pair of groups calling themselves the Hive and CM8.

Just to make the executives in Hollywood even antsier the Hive and CM8 are claiming they have access to 40 movies in all. The 11 that they have pumped out are just the beginning. This move is a big risk to CM8, but it also puts them and their form of distribution on the map in a rather big way. We are working to find out more information about them and the reaction from the scene and will update as we get more information.
For now the holiday (screener) season is looking to be a very exciting one for anyone looking to grab a few movies… some before they hit the theaters.

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