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Is 'Harry Potter' leak good for publicity?

John D. Sutter
Bloggers are asking if pirated films do better at the box office.
Bloggers are asking if pirated films do better at the box office.
  • 36 minutes of the new "Harry Potter" are leaked online
  • Blog asks if the leak is actually good for publicity
  • Warner Bros. says it aims to prosecute the pirate

(CNN) -- For those of you too busy downloading the entire Beatles catalogue to check out entertainment news, the second-to-last "Harry Potter" movie debuts Friday.

The first 36 minutes of the film are already online, circulating on a number of "torrent" sites, which help users download sometimes-pirated media files.

The leaked chunk of the movie is raising some interesting questions. Among them: Will the film actually do better because a portion of it has been leaked online?

One blogger goes further, asking if Warner Bros. Entertainment, which made the film and shares a parent company with CNN, leaked the clip on purpose.

"Warner Bros. Pictures is usually none too fond of leaks, especially if a film gets out before it premieres in theater," writes Ernesto, editor-in-chief of the site "However, today's leak may actually benefit the movie and boost theater attendance, as long as the full version doesn't leak out too. If the first half hour is compelling enough, people will have to go to the theater and pay for a ticket to see the rest.

"It may be going a little bit too far to suggest that Warner Bros. leaked the film intentionally, but from a business perspective it might make sense."

In a statement to CNN, Warner Bros. doesn't sound like the pirating type:

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"Last night a portion of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' was stolen and illegally posted on the internet. This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available," the company said. "Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law."

The company did not immediately respond to a CNN request for further comment.

As E! Online notes, the company has a history of fighting against its films being pre-released online.

What do you make of the leak? Would you be more or less willing to see a movie if you'd already seen a 36-minute teaser? Is that much different than the trailers that are all over the internet? After all, it's about the same length as the modern music video (as defined by Kanye West, of course).


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