Star Wars EP3 Workprint Leaked Online

Though the original rumors of screener copies of Star Wars Episode III spreading via BitTorrent turned out to be fakes, a new workprint of the film was leaked online yesterday. Watermarked with timecodes on every frame, the workprint was made available as a DVD-R by a pirate group named VISA by Wednesday afternoon.

To get an idea of the quality of this workprint, the video below is a 19 second sample excerpt, posted along with the complete film to Usenet newsgroups. (Thanks for mirroring, Leonard.)

Download: starwars_ep3_leaked_workprint_sample.avi (7.3 MB, XViD)

Mirror #1: starwars_ep3_leaked_workprint_sample.avi

(Note: I don’t have the movie and have no plans to download it, so please don’t ask me how to download it. Also, please don’t post torrent links in the comments.)

Update: This entry is linked in a new Reuters article and many media outlets that use the Reuters feeds, like CNN Money, News.com, and ZDNet. The story is also on the front page of Yahoo right now. In the blog world, it was linked by Boing Boing, Fark (indirectly), and Kottke, among others.

The results? My bandwidth is going through the roof. Downloads of the sample video are pushing 82 Mb/s. That’s pretty insane, and it’s a testament to EV1 Servers that the site is still online and speedy.

59 thoughts on “Star Wars EP3 Workprint Leaked Online

  1. i’m not sure if this is coincidental with the fact that Lucas shoots his films on digital (and the films are projected digitally as well) but it certainly is interesting to note.

    i think a more plausible explanation is that the culture surrounding these films is greater than any other fanbase which increases the chances of this sort of thing happening.

  2. I started downloading it last night. But I am gonna go see it at least 3-4 times at the theatre. Plus I will buy the dvd when it comes out.

  3. What if this is an inside job by the movie industry?

    Leak a copy of the film to the internet, let it be snapped up a bit by torrent users, etc. Complain to the media. The media writes a sympathetic story about how a multi hundred million dollar film was stolen by digital pirates. Conveniently timed to correspond with many descisions being made by congress and the courts about file sharing and copyright.

  4. I get the whole “stop movie downloading piracy” thing, but what about TV shows? I mean come on, the majority of them are shown for free on national television, why stop that? It’s no different than if I tivo it or if someone tapes a show for me. The movies I get, the music I get, the TV shows I don’t get.

  5. Like I said, no torrent links! If you really want to find it, go use a torrent search engine like Torrentspy or MadTorrent.

    Just keep in mind, when you’re downloading from a public BitTorrent tracker, you’re extremely exposed. Personally, I think you’d be insane to try to download from any of these popular trackers, unless you want to be slapped with an MPAA lawsuit.

  6. I hear ya Mike. I like downloading tv shows that do not come on anymore or just favorite episodes that I like to watch whenever I choose to, (South Park, MST3K, Seinfeld) Granted those are coming to DVD quick. So where is the harm there? They were FREE on tv and on the numerous VHS tapes I recorded them to. What is the difference when the medium changes?

  7. you know.. its been out online longer then any of you have known about it.. im glad this got teh obvious tag 😉

  8. You have proof to back that up? The workprint was released online for the first time yesterday, and all others before it were fakes.

  9. i was pretty sure they can only get you for sharing the files, not actually downloading them. at least, that’s the way those ****jobs from the RIAA handle things.

    not that i’m bitter.

    i2hub should pay my court fees.

  10. not watchable at all… grainy, has a big ass time display over everyones face.. you have to be really poor to choose this pirated over paying 8 bucks to see it in the theater.

  11. Oh it’s watchable. . .you must be some richboy who can’t afford to have a dead pixel on your screen.

  12. maybe online piracy is what we need to bring these overpaid crybabies down to the regular working man’s level. now we need to figure out a way to lower athletes pay too.

  13. It´s a sorprise, I´ll see the film at the cinema for 2 or 3 times and then I´ll buy the dvd to watch in my house

  14. I think it’d be interesting to compare the workprint to the final product next December after the DVD comes out…

  15. mike – illegal in what country? what if the country never signed the berne convention?

    n0wak – downloading the torrent is illegal? who owns the copyright of a torrent? whose copyright are you infringing if you download a torrent?

    just because you’re sharing files doesn’t mean it’s illegal. check http://www.fiestamundo.com they actually allow you to share files with 12 people …

  16. I’ll wait for the big screen.. or a projector to fall into my lap.

    It’s amazing how fast something like this can be leaked. I remember the first Lord of the Rings movie was out 2 weeks (or so) before it was released in theatres.

    Ain’t the Internet grand?

  17. What if this is an inside job by the movie industry?

    Leak a copy of the film to the internet, let it be snapped up a bit by torrent users, etc. Complain to the media. The media writes a sympathetic story about how a multi hundred million dollar film was stolen by digital pirates. Conveniently timed to correspond with many descisions being made by congress and the courts about file sharing and copyright.

    LoL… so basically the industry is emperor palpatine?

  18. Pageman, what n0wak means is that if you are downloading a file using the BT protocol, you are also uplading to other peers, therefore you are sharing the file.

  19. I’m actually surprised at the quality of this encode (judging from the sample). This was done really well, and for release on opening day, it’s better than most others I’ve seen.

    That being said, I just don’t think it would be the same on a monitor as it wold be on the big screen. Let’s face it, the sound and picture just aren’t that good at home. Too bad though.

  20. overpaid crybabies…do you have any idea how much work/time/money it takes for a film to be made…a bunch. My personal opinion is that actors make way too much, usually much more than a director or anyone else on the crew, and they have the easiest jobs. Actor pay, I believe, needs to decrease, but as far as DPs, and directors, and special FX guys…need an increase.

  21. I always download movies from the net, the good ones I go to the movie theater to watch it in better definition and I also buy it when it comes out on DVD. It helps me keep only good movies in my collection.

  22. You should have posted a torrent of the file, seriously. Don’t complain about supporting 82MB/s when yo could have easily made a torrent and wouldnt have to worry about your bandwith at all. BitTorrent has many legal uses too ya know. 😛

  23. Somehow I doubt there are many people who are downloading this file just to save a few bucks. It would seem to me that if you drew a Venn diagram showing “internet pirates” and “Star Wars fans” a huge chunk would sit in that creamy middle. As for myself, I’ve watched chunks of this thing, but I’m going to see the movie in theatres three times in the next few weeks. I will also buy the dvds, hd-dvds, blu-rays and whatever other format they invent next. I’m sick, I admit it…

  24. i saw it as well and it is very good quality, only thing is the dam numbers on top of the screen-but big deal…there are ways around that as well

  25. Actors are paid what they’re worth. Go try to make a movie by paying the backstage guys what you think they’re worth, and get whatever actor you can afford or you think they’re worth. Then try to finance the film, or even better, risk your own money on it with no big names. People risking millions of dollars on a one-off venture tend to be risk-averse, so a Tom Cruise on the bill makes sense in terms of reducing risk. That’s worth what it’s worth.

    I do enjoy people’s opinions on the way other people should put their money at risk though, it’s great.

  26. imo i think once you create something, it is out of your hands. star wars, simpsons, et al–they are at this point cultural icons…

    in line with their thinking, why not charge people a nickel everytime someone utters a brand name? it is ridiculous…

    the money is made by the people who go line up to see it, buy the taco bell cups, and rent the dvd special editions… and for the most part, the mainstream will always pay up for the social currency of owning an ‘official’ copy.

    but at the end of the day, information will always be free to those who want it, and entropy will always eventually kill those institutions who’d centralize.

  27. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Lucas, as he hates unions. Gary Oldman pulled out of the project when he discovered that Lucas would be using non-union actors (and Lucas also shot principal photography in Australia so he could use non-union crew as well).

  28. I may be an oddball here, but I don’t really care for downloading music or movies. So yes, I have a small fortune invested in cds and dvds. Btw, the quality on this bit wasn’t all that great. (which is partly why I stick with with dvds and such)

  29. Isn’t posting this “sample” of the pirated film proof of your own breach of copyright?

  30. As I mentioned in the entry, the movie sample I posted was bundled separately by the pirate group and released on Usenet. (That’s a very common practice.) I haven’t downloaded the movie and have no intention of doing so.

    I’m a regular reader of Slyck, but didn’t see their article written two hours before I wrote mine. I’m guessing my entry is getting more attention because of the video sample and screenshots.

  31. The truth is movie piracy will never be stopped, but it probably won’t have to be for a long time. Star Wars III will still be one of the best selling movies of all time, people still camped out days in advance to see it, and most people still have no clue where to get the movie on the internet. All stories like this one do is to inform people that a) the movie is out there and b) bittorrent is how you get it. Good thinking.

  32. hmmm… I just saw it at the movie theatre. I have no interest in downloading it now. Besides, it was $10Cdn, which is twice the price of renting at Blockbuster, but WOW!!! was it worth it. I might go see it again. I’ll wait for all 6 movies to come out in a collectors package (probably for christmas or something). Unless it’s a rip from a DVD, or the DVD itself, there’s really no point in downloading a movie. So better off to wait if you can’t go see it at the movies, or better yet, go to the library and read the book version.

  33. if you’re really worried,,, some european countries have bass-ackwards copyright laws, and therefore the sites can’t be touched… piratebay for one.

  34. I just went and saw the movie today at the local theatre. Wow, some real bad guy stuff going on. Will probably watch it at least once more in the theatre and buy the dvd (bought all the other ones too) but I will be downloading a pirated version as well so I can enjoy it at home. I dont feel one bit of regret as having already purchased a ticket I feel that I have payed to use that intellectual property for my own recreation. And I will not be sharing it online or otherwise. To bad there is no middle ground with these megolithic industries. They remind me of Garth from Wayne’s World “We fear change…”. After Metallica banned me from Napster the gloves are off and they can all get bent. I bought every album they ever made at least twice and haven’t bought one since the Napster debacle. Seems the only way to make a dent is to hit em where it counts. Love Star Wars though and I’m happy to put money down for it.

  35. Sooooo this entire discussion begs the question, How long will it be until revenge of the unionized filmworkers manifests itself as they begin torrenting scenes cut from Episode III?

    That’d be something you can’t get in theatres and is the only hope for peeps to delay the inevitable, which is of course… The Final End of the ever increasingly inaccurate titled Star Wars Trilogy.

    Now if only the Star Wars Holiday Special with timecode would be leaked, I’ll be happy.

  36. this is really interesting, people are starting to learn just how efficient bittorrent really is. but i really wonder if the industry is able to do anything about the leaking and the bittorrent sharing. if they are, are they able to bust the tracker web sites? i.e. like waxy.org? (Editor’s Note: Waxy.org is not a tracker site.)

  37. “Rome is the mob, and the mob is Rome.”

    People (as a group) are going to do whatever the feel like doing, legal or otherwise, until (a)there is literally so much power/control/force/domination put upon them that they must stop, or (b)it becomes obvious it will not be stopped and is made legal.

    Rarely is the first option excercised successfully at any later stage…

    Railing against an established practice is folly, a fallacy which normally lead to the loss of one’s business; or at least an emasculation of one’s business assets. The only way to profit when things are changing is to adapt.

    Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #78 – When the going gets tough, the tough change the Rules.

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