You'd have to be enjoying a Mars residency not to know that all big (and most small) movies get leaked online. If it's available in a cinema, someone, somewhere will have a copy in a matter of days and it's just a question of when, not if, it appears on the Internet.
As such, these events aren't particularly big news but every now and again one comes along to make people sit up and listen. Several hours ago, July 24, 2014, marked one such notable leaking event.
Featuring every action hero known to man, from Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham and Jet Li, to UFC stars Randy Couture and Ronda Rousey, Expendables 3 was always going to be a hit. However, the plan was to have it become a hit on the big screen before breaking into the home market.
That is not going to happen. Around twelve hours ago, a near perfect copy of The Expendables 3 appeared online and it's already a smash hit with home audiences.
Screenshot from the leak
Figures gathered by TorrentFreak reveal that more than 100,000 people have downloaded the presumed 'DVD screener' copy using BitTorrent alone, and at one point in excess of 65,000 users were engaged in transfers on a single torrent.
These stats push the leak well ahead of the initial pre-release popularity of the infamous X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak back in 2009 and once the news begins to spread today, things are only going to get worse.
Needless to say, the folks at distributor Lionsgate are going to be absolutely furious. While 'cams' are an annoyance, most movie-goers won't want to destroy the movie experience by watching them. High-quality copies like this one are a different matter altogether and the soaring download numbers are a testament to that.
No blurry cams here, high-quality all the way
So who is behind the leak? At this stage it's impossible to point the finger at the person who obtained the DVD copy. However, we can take a look at who brought the copy to the wider public Internet.
When leaks come from a so-called 'Scene' source it's possible to track the copy at least as far back as the group that placed it online but with so-called P2P releases, as is the case with Expendables 3, that's not quite so easy. However, the initial and most popular copy appears to be attributable to an entity known as Drarbg.
Drarbg has accounts on several major torrent sites, including The Pirate Bay, and is one of the most prolific BitTorrent releasers online today. Many presume that this is a single person, but Drarbg has previously indicated that it's a group of individuals working together as a team. Drarbg, as the name suggests, has affiliations with RARBG, a popular public torrent site.
It seems likely that this high-profile, high-quality leak will become a talking point in the hours, weeks and months to come and will probably be seized upon as a prime example of why piracy crackdowns are needed. However, there is also another angle to be aware of.
Nu Image, the production company behind all three Expendables titles, sued previous downloaders of its titles. Will history repeat itself? Time will tell….