The first episode of the third season of Showtime hit series Homeland has leaked out onto the Web about a month before its official premiere on Sunday, Sept. 29, according to multiple media reports.
TorrentFreak, a news site dedicated to file-sharing and privacy and copyright issues, said the leaked episode is a “workprint” that is missing some minor details, including a few visual effects and the opening credits. It was shared by an unknown group called “HOMELAND,” according to the report.
Those missing elements apparently didn’t deter a group of Homeland fans who still wanted to take an early peek. Downloads of the advanced copy via the Internet’s various torrent sites reached “in excess of 100,000 copies during the first few hours” after it was leaked on Monday, TorrentFreak said.
According to the site, Homeland was one of the most pirated TV shows of 2012, as it was downloaded about 2.4 million times. HBO's Game of Thrones, with 4.2 million downloads, ended 2012 with the dubious honor of being the most popular show among digital pirates.
Because few people have access to unfinished production work, TorrentFreak suggested that that leak could have leaked from a post-production studio or another generally well-protected source.
Showtime declined to comment.
The leak of a workprint of a highly anticipated show or movie is apparently rare. TorrentFreak said the last “high –profile” unfinished film to leak out was of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Bronx, N.Y. resident Alberto Sanchez admitted he uploaded the pirated copy and was sentenced to one year in federal prison in December 2011.