The Marvel Universe received some unexpected news yesterday. Due to a glitch between Vudu and iTunes, the new “Thor: Ragnarok” film was offered for download well before its planned February 20, 2018 release.
What happened? It starts with “Movies Anywhere.” Movies Anywhere is a Disney-owned platform that lets users link their iTunes, Vudu, Amazon and Google Play accounts so that any movies they’ve purchased through those outlets can be viewed all in one place. The snafu allegedly comes about due to users’ accounts being linked together via Movies Anywhere.
When the wires between the two providers were crossed, it enabled anyone who digitally pre-ordered the movie to access it early. From there, copies of the film stripped of its digital protection began popping up on torrent websites, in both 720p and 1080p resolution.
In a Reddit post, a user claims that after pre-ordering the movie on Vudu, they were given the option to download it on iTunes. It happened just that quickly.
Generally, users cannot share iTunes movies with others online but there are groups on the internet that are prepared to put in the effort to make that possible. Release group ‘EVO’, which presently has the most popular torrent of “Thor: Ragnarok,” took the time to explain the headaches it gave them.
“More than 10 hours working in a way to remove this [sic] protection finally come to a end,” the group said. “Casualties: 1 account banned. Lol. But it was worth it. Enjoy fellas. Have a good weekend. No VIP required. No pennies needed. All free.”
It took very little time for copies to flood on to the internet. Once iTunes’ Digital Rights Management (“DRM”) protections were stripped away and it was shared, the movie spread like wildfire.
Disney, iTunes and Vudu have yet to comment on the situation and there is no telling what impact the illegal pirating of the film will have on its sales once it becomes officially available.