Imagine if you knew that thousands of hardcore sci-fi fans were chomping at the bit to see the season finale of a hit TV show, especially if it had been promoted as an episode that would include secret revelations that viewers had been teased about for months.
Imagine if, by accident, some people had been sent a Blu-Ray boxset of the TV show’s episodes *before* the final episode had been broadcast.
Do you think fans would be able to wait a few days for the episode to be properly broadcast on their TV stations, or would they go hunting peer-to-peer file-sharing sites hoping to find a downloadable (and pirated) copy of the episode?
Well, that’s precisely what seems to be happening with “Doctor Who”, the BBC’s long-running science-fiction show, which stars Matt Smith and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.
The season finale episode, “The Name of the Doctor”, is due to be broadcast on Saturday 18th May in the United Kingdom and USA. But, due to some colossal screw-up, BBC America has managed to send copies out early to some fans who pre-ordered the Blu-Ray boxset.
Some have even taken photographic proof that they’re watching it!
No doubt there are thousands of Doctor Who fans right now, scouring the internet for torrent links for the episode – as their fanatical fan gene doesn’t allow for them to wait until next weekend.
Aside from the morality of pirating a TV programme and ruining the surprises carefully planned by the Doctor Who production team in Cardiff, reckless downloading of torrents could also expose your computer to malware.
After all, if I were a cybercriminal, and heard that internet users were feverishly trying to find a particular movie – wouldn’t it be tempting to upload something claiming to be Doctor Who’s hotly-anticipated “Name of the Doctor” episode, but actually containing a malicious Trojan horse instead?
Maybe it’s better to wait until the TV programme is properly broadcast, rather than seeking out an early copy. And, if you are a fan, avoid social media sites and Doctor Who messageboards for a few days where someone who has seen the episode might try to ruin your enjoyment.
Certainly Doctor Who brand manager Edward Russell would prefer it if everyone resisted the temptation.
To remain legal, and to maintain the best health for your computer, it’s probably better to wait for the programme to air at its planned date and time on television rather than grab it early via a torrent site.
Update: Mischief-makers on Twitter have been posting messages pointing to what they claim to be a downloadable torrent of “The Name of the Doctor”.
In reality, the file you end up downloading is called GNFOS.MP4. I’m reliably informed that the filename might relate to a film released in 1992 called “Gay N****rs from Outer Space”. Not exactly Doctor Who…
Images of Blu-Ray disc and “The Name of the Doctor” playing on TV courtesy of the Untempered Schism blog.