What do you get when add the biggest movie release of the year to the tale of unauthorized file sharing? Apparently the biggest file sharing story of the year. News outlets are agog that someone "leaked" the studio print of the latest Star Wars movie, which a few thousand people are now sharing online. This is bad ostensibly for the same reasons the entertainment industry frowns on all unauthorized sharing and piracy: it's taking money out of the studio's coffers. But really, does anyone think that the die-hard Star Wars geeks who are downloading the film will not go see it in theaters? Or buy more stuff like DVDs, video games, and the occasional Chewbacca novelty suit? If anything, free distribution to a just handful of avid fans will only add to the positive buzz and already impressive revenues. Color us conspiracy theorists, but we wouldn't be surprised if the "leak" was intentionally done for this purpose. It makes perfect sense. The bootlegged movie is reaching only a limited audience that will go see it anyway, it's already getting good reviews, and the "piracy" story is getting the studio tons of free publicity. Maybe this is a case where Hollywood has actually caught on to the value of free content. Nah, that'll never happen.
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