Summit Entertainment Identifies Breaking Dawn Pirates

According to The Hollywood Reporter and EW, Summit Entertainment has issued a press release identifying those who stole and leaked images from Breaking Dawn onto the Internet earlier this year. According to both sources:

“Summit’s release ID’s Daiana Santia of Argentina as having been involved in a group that stole photos, unfinished images and video of Breaking Dawn, which will be released in two parts beginning in November. Summit’s four-continent crusade involved the services of investigation firm Kroll Inc. and law firm Keats McFarland & Wilson, which located Santia and others in the northern Argentina town of Posadas. Civil actions have been filed in the U.S. and Argentina, along with a criminal action in Santia’s home country.

“While we very much appreciate the legions of committed fans of the franchise and encourage them to create community online, we cannot ignore that property was stolen,” says David Friedman, Summit’s executive vp and general counsel. “It is not fair to the majority of fans that want to see the final chapter of the Twilight Saga film franchise fully realized by the filmmaker and dedicated cast and crew to have these images out and available on the Internet.”

See THR and EW

Earlier this year the photos in question circulated the web starting with sites and Twitters in South America. The images then spread to English speaking sites and Twitters and from there the images went global.

Given that last year Summit Entertainment prosecuted the person who broke into their set photographer’s server and stole all the still images from Eclipse (six leaked online), fans shouldn’t find this latest action too surprising. In the Eclipse case Summit spent several months building a case and tracking the IP addresses attached to the leak. The trail eventually lead to Sweden where the person responsible was found and prosecuted with the full help of that country’s authorities.

Whereas a studio may occasionally turn a blind-eye to limited footage from an event like Comic Con or a pre-screening going online because that was finished product meant for public consumption, they will always go after material that is stolen from what amounts to online breaking and entering.

Other studios have taken similar measures and jail time has resulted from such cases such as the Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the fuller version of the press release. I only agree with Friedman that it’s because of the technology hacking across international boundaries that the theft is deserving of prosecution. But “not fair to the majority of fans”? All they have to do is not look. The same goes with official trailers, stills and clips that are full of spoilers. Ultimately, it’s about trademark and copyright infringement — in other words, $$$$$$. Summit has engaged in litigation with others as well, but only when it comes to Twilight.

  2. EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight says:

    Good for Summit!! I’m so glad they found some of the culprits behind this, and hopefully they will find the rest too.

    Theft is theft–whether it’s hacking or someone breaking down your front door. Just cause it’s online, doesn’t mean it’s “less wrong”.

  3. It’s all about money, and nothing else. Summit wants it… and since they decided to make people wait to damn long for the actual movie, they have to make it somehow… go get those photos publishers… it’s not like it’ll ruin the movie for anyone.

  4. Though this is theft, and very wrong, I hope that the people responsible aren’t given jail time. I wouldn’t want someone’s life to be ruined as a result of this. Summit makes so much money and will continue to make so much money off these movies…I really hope that they don’t take these people to the cleaners… :/

  5. In the end, folks, what these people did was criminally wrong, no matter how much Summit has made off the series. As it is their product that have every right to restrict what should be shown to the masses. In many ways, Summit has been more than fair to Twihards giving them access to the filmmaking process in ways no other studio has ever done, save the blogs and such Peter Jackson used for Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Yes Summit hasn’t released a ton of goodies for Breaking Dawn yet, but you know what folks… I’m glad. I remember how excited I was to see New Moon, especially with all the wolf footage they released, only to realize that all of the wolf footage that was released…was really all they had in the film. It was a bit of an information overkill. I think Summit is playing it smart. Right now Harry Potter, Captian America, the coming Planet of the Apes are going to be dominating the air waves for a while. By waiting until the summer rush has ebbed away, it will give them more room to pimp Breaking Dawn.

    The severity of punishment will hindge upon how severe the crime was.

    Remember just because Summit is making money, doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to protect their properties and take legal action against those of whom have breeched their private quarters.

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      Very well said, Joshua! Thank you!

    • Rachelle says:

      Very well said. I know people like to make excuses and try to act like it is not stealing, but it is. It is illegal and no matter what someone tries to say to make it better in their mind, this is a huge problem. Technology has its pros and cons just like anything else and while it gives us access to a lot of things, people are going to have to learn that there are consequences for stealing in any shape or form. It is no different than actually taking from a store or person’s home. It is not yours, it is not meant for your eyes, do not take it.

      I do agree that fans have to be part of the solution instead of the problem though. I refused to look at the leaked material, but it was posted up on tons of fansites and so forth. It is hypocritical to condemn these people and then just as quickly enjoy the things they are leaking. Hopefully a lesson will be learned here, but I hope jail time is not that lesson. That does not help anyone in the long run. I think fines and public service could be more effective. That way the point is made without going to the extreme.

    • CullenCoven says:

      Very well said Joshua. I applaud you.

  6. smitten_by_twilight says:

    Very well said, Joshua, as usual. Let’s remember, too, that Summit is unlikely to make huge amounts of money off the civil prosecution, unless the hackers happen to be unusually wealthy. This is also about stealing from all the people who have been working so hard on the project, from Stephenie to Kristen to the camera operators and production assistants. Not stealing money – stealing their hard work, their intellectual property, before it was ready for release. Theft is violation, and I think that in many ways theft of creative work is worse than theft of money.

    • Joshua L. Roberts says:

      And you are quite correct on that Smitten. As a creative artist, screenwriter, author, don’t like seeing projects released before they are finished. I have trusted friends that I show stuff to, but I don’t want people seeing something that isn’t completed, as they might get the wrong impression. It isn’t finished. It isn’t ready to be shown. If somebody breaks that trust and shows my material beforehand, it can be damaging, not only to me, but the product itself.

      The best example of this is… “Midnight Sun”. It was illegally released before it was finished, and the result made Steph “almost” not want to write any more period. She was so hurt. The terrible act, also put Midnight Sun’s fate in almost permanent limbo.

      • smitten_by_twilight says:

        I didn’t want to mention it, Joshua, but MS was exactly what I was thinking. Some of us fans are so obsessed that we become our own (and everyone else’s) worst enemy, by prematurely exposing material and disheartening the talent that is producing it.

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