Sunday, 13 July 2014

"Deep Breath" rough cut appears online...

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you'll know that recently, due to a BBC Worldwide "open" server, the scripts for the first five episodes of Series 8 appeared online.  On the same server were mp4s of the first five episodes - these didn't appear online so we all thought they hadn't been downloaded.  "Deep Breath" has now hit the internet.  It's a rough cut, black and white version with no cgi and "BBC Worldwide" watermarked all over it.

Originally, I wasn't going to comment on this.  As with the scripts, I have no intention of finding this or downloading it.  Quite rightly, the blame is being laid solidly at the feet of BBC Worldwide - their history of cock-ups is quite extensive.  A technical point - BBC Worldwide and the BBC are not the same thing.  BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm but it is wholly owned by the BBC.   I've no doubt the BBC themselves are angry and fit to burst about this - it harms their product after all.

Now, Steven Moffat said something interesting at London Film and Comic Con yesterday - he said that the script leaks had been "horrible, miserable and upsetting" for the Doctor Who team and then commented that "they were stolen, it's theft".  He also used a "you wouldn't steal from a car with an open window" analogy.  That's quite true - just because a door or window has been left open doesn't mean you go inside and nick stuff.  BBC Worldwide were incompetent idiots for leaving this window open...but what about the person/people who saw this and immediately stole the material by downloading it?  Why not simply inform the BBC and BBC Worldwide about the server?  Is it because the download culture online is so extensive that it's taken as being normal behaviour?

We've all done it - we've all downloaded things online.  The difference in this case being that this is stolen material that was not going to be broadcast.  Have no doubt - this IS illegal.  Some sites are saying that the Police are involved - I hope they are.  This needs to stop.  Heads should roll at BBC Worldwide but the person or people who blatantly stole this material from their server and spread it around need to be heavily punished too.

Here's the latest statement from BBC Worldwide - they also point out the illegality but their investigation is going to be watched very closely and I think it's only right that their conclusions are made public:

"This is part of BBC Worldwide's ongoing security investigation into leaked unfinished Doctor Who materials. This content is currently being removed and originates from the same Miami server we disabled last week, it is not a new issue. We'd like to thank the amazing Doctor Who fans who are continuing to keep fansites and social media spoiler-free but would remind anyone downloading and sharing this material that it is illegal to do so."

I can't tell you what to do.  You guys will have to make up your own minds on this but, be honest, do you REALLY want to see a rough, cgi-less black and white version?  You want to illegally download something because you can't wait a few weeks to see the proper, finished version?  Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat and the production team deserve a bit more respect - they've worked their socks off and the very least we can do is wait until the finished version is transmitted.  

I'll get off my soapbox now....