Working on counterfeit and piracy issues at Microsoft for so many years now has given me a finely tuned ear for interesting piracy stories outside of software. On this note, there’s recently been quite a bit of chatter and news about Fox News columnist Roger Friedman and allegations that he knowingly viewed and then reviewed a pirated copy of the upcoming new X-Men movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
As is often the case with high profile movies, leaked versions started to showing up online well in advance of the release (X-Men Origins: Wolverine is due in theaters on May 1). But, unlike most cases where the leaked content is traded around in shadows, the Fox News columnist took his experience mainstream and actually reviewed the film for his audience.
While the story is an interesting read in and of itself (and funny in some ways because the film is actually owned by the parent company Fox Corporation) I found the outcome interesting. In my recollection this is one of the few times swift and measureable action has been taken against someone who blatantly participated in what we think of as “social pirating”. The story started off slow over as the first reports did a bit of “wondering out loud” if a fairly prominently reviewer had openly admitted to watching the pirated version. By the weekend, there were rumors that action was going to be taken and by Monday, he was fired. It continues to be a top news item.
In fact, X-Men Origins: Wolverine star Hugh Jackman agrees. His local Australian press quoted him as saying "It's a serious crime and there's no doubt it's very disappointing -- I was heartbroken by it…”. Maybe we can get him as a spokesperson for our team?
“Hugh Jackman Rips Wolverine Leak”
“Piracy Sinks Fox columnist Roger Friedman”
“Columnist out of work after reviewing pirated film”