Movie Studios Target Leaked Copies of Wikileaks Films

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When you make a movie about Wikileaks, starring Julian Assange in a Pirate Bay t-shirt, you probably know that it's virtually impossible to prevent pirated files from spreading online. Nevertheless, the movie studios behind both films are trying desperately to take these leaks offline, thus far without much success. Adding to the irony, the Pirate Bay T-shirt used in The Fifth Estate also appears to be "pirated".

fake-jul-assangeHollywood premiered two films on Wikileaks this year, The Fifth Estate and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks.

Like most other releases, pirated copies of both films leaked onto the Internet soon after they came out. In an attempt to stop this unauthorized sharing the studios have been sending out numerous takedown requests.

While there’s nothing new about major Hollywood studios sending takedown notices, there’s an amusing irony to this case. The studios are trying to suppress leaked information, much like the U.S. Government tries to stop Wikileaks from sharing its “work”.

And there’s more.

The Fifth Estate, for example, has their version of Julian Assange starring in a Pirate Bay t-shirt. Not just in the movie itself, but also in the trailer. So Dreamworks and Disney are indirectly “promoting” the torrent site.

To our knowledge this is the first time the Pirate Bay logo has been featured in a Hollywood blockbuster. Adding to the controversy, Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde previously pointed out that the shirt was custom-made, and not bought through the official shop, making it a “pirated” T-shirt.


Nevertheless, The Fifth Estate rightsholders are not happy with the fact that people can pirate their film on The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites. In recent weeks they have sent out many takedown requests to remove links to unauthorized copes, including this one.

Similar takedown notices were sent out by Universal Pictures for We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks. Universal has sent a slew of DMCA requests directly targeting leaked copies of the documentary on The Pirate Bay and several other sites.

While Google has removed the links in question, the original links are still accessible on many sites.


Adding yet another twist to the above, Julian Assange and Wikileaks probably wouldn’t mind if the films were made unavailable. They have criticized both films on several occasions.

“I know the film intends to depict me and my work in a negative light. I believe it will distort events and subtract from public understanding. It does not seek to simplify, clarify or distill the truth, but rather it seeks to bury it,” Assange previously said about The Fifth Estate.

For now, however, the leaked copies remain available.


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