‘Screener Season’ is Here, But Where are the Piracy Leaks?

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The end of December is a season of gifts, also for movie pirates. The special presents they are anxiously waiting for don't show up under the Christmas tree though, but usually on torrent sites and streaming portals. The question is, will there be any this year?

scrPirated copies of the latest Hollywood movies leak all year round, often ripped from DVDs, Blu-rays or online streaming platforms.

Towards the end of the year, however, some real gems appear online in advance of their theatrical debut in what many have dubbed “screener season.”

Screeners are advance copies of recent movies which are generally sent out to critics and awards voters. These high-quality releases are subjected to intense security precautions by the studios, as they are highly sought after by online pirates.

Still, over the years hundreds of these screeners have leaked early. Most people probably remember last year’s spree of high profile screeners released by the Hive-CM8 group. These allegedly came from the talent agency Innovative Artists which was later sued by Warner Bros.

This year, however, things have been quiet on the screener front. While many have been sent off for review, the first have yet to leak to the public. That is, if they ever leak at all.

2017 screeners?


Looking at recent history, it’s almost unthinkable that no pirated screener copies will appear online. For more than a decade a healthy number have leaked from Hollywood’s own connections.

Below is an overview of the leaks per year, based on data from Oscar piracy watcher Andy Baio. These are only for movies that eventually received an Academy Awards nomination, so the actual number will be even higher.

The data clearly show that the major movie studios have managed to limit the leaks somewhat over the years, thanks to their increased security measures. But they’re far from perfect, as last year’s bump shows.

Leaked screeners of Oscar nominated films per Oscar year


Although it’s still relatively early, Hollywood will be happy to hear that based on this data it has never taken so long before a screener has leaked online.

In all years that were previously documented the first leaked screener came out before December 16th. This means that today’s absence of 2017 screeners is definitely noteworthy.

That said, the bulk of the leaks are often published late December or in January, so it’s too early to draw any conclusions. Time will tell if there are going to be any presents for pirates this Christmas.


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