Mirrored from The Verge
Apple let Vudu’s preorder customers download the hit Marvel movie way too soon
Thor: Ragnarok has quickly spread across torrent sites after customers were able to prematurely download the title an entire month before its planned mid-February digital release. The error is apparently the result of a miscommunication between Vudu and Apple.
Both companies participate in the Movies Anywhere program, which lets consumers watch their digital movie libraries across devices and various apps such as iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, and others. It’s a fantastic idea that basically bulldozes any kind of ecosystem lock-in — at least when it comes to movies.
According to TorrentFreak, some users on Reddit noticed that when placing a preorder for the well-received Thor: Ragnarok with Vudu, the movie showed up as immediately available on iTunes. Somewhere along the line, Vudu and iTunes mixed up the handshake on the release date, and iTunes seemed to think that customers had rights to watch the film right away instead of waiting another month. The movie could be streamed as well as downloaded in full for offline viewing. And as you might guess, it took very little time for a flawless, 720p version of the digital release to find its way onto the internet. Once iTunes’ DRM protections were stripped away and it was shared, the movie spread like wildfire. Higher resolutions (including 1080p) may also be out there.
If the rumored explanation is true, this would mark the first major failure of Movies Anywhere, and Disney is probably none too pleased about the situation. Thor: Ragnarok wasn’t scheduled to release on iTunes until February 20th. Now, Marvel and Disney might consider pushing up that launch to avoid losing rentals and purchases to a month’s worth of piracy.
Is it normal for an entire copy of a film to sit on iTunes servers this far in advance of release? Where was the breakdown between Apple and Vudu? The Verge has reached out to Apple, Vudu, Movies Anywhere, and Disney for clarification and further comment.