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Fox Columnist Brags About 'Wolverine' Piracy

A few months ago, Roger Ebert got in hot water for admitting he watched about eight minutes of a movie, walked out, and based his review on those eight minutes. He later went back and watched the entire film. Still, that's a rookie mistake, isn't it?

So, too, is the recent work of Roger Friedman, who presumably believed he would be protected by working for the same company when he reviewed an illegally downloaded copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine on There are so many problems here, I almost don't know where to begin. For an employee of any media company to cop to stealing product off the web is incredibly stupid. Even if you steal an mp3 at a radio station, it's very dumb.

But to admit to downloading a pirated film that is essentially taking some money out of your own corporation's piggy bank - and to indirectly infer how easy it is to snag a copy of that film online - could be the sort of thing that gets you fired. And given how much these companies put into fighting piracy, Friedman probably should be fired.

The FBI and Fox have been hard at work tracking the source of the leaked film, but Friedman seized the opportunity to grab some of the available spotlight for himself, and wrote about the film in an article since removed from the Fox News site (but available through the miracle of cached pages).

"Right now, my 'cousins' at 20th Century Fox are probably having apoplexy. I doubt anyone else has seen this film. But everyone can relax," Friedman wrote. "I am, in fact, amazed about how great Wolverine turned out. It exceeds expectations at every turn. I was completely riveted to my desk chair in front of my computer."

Stupid. And, by the way, illegal. If some college kid feels the wrath of the MPAA, Friedman should face similar charges. And don't think for a minute that the parent company is taking this all in stride. Fox released a statement to IESB chastizing Friedman and his activities:

"We've just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a free-lance columnist who writes Fox 411 on — an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox — watched on the Internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine.' This behavior is reprehensible, and we condemn this act categorically — whether the review is good or bad."

While the movie studio is trying to completely distance itself from Fox News, they're not "entirely separate;" they both trade under the News Corporation banner. But the message is clear: This was not something 20th Century Fox wanted Friedman to do, nor was it something the studio facilitated. And Friedman is likely in deep shit.

Reader Comments (6)

We actually broke this on our podcast the day it happened. My co Host even wrote the following letter to Fox:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Travis Stephens <>
Date: Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 10:11 AM
Subject: Repercussions to a columnist?

This morning a noted entertainment columnist Roger Friedman wrote a review of X Men Origins: Wolverine. Friedman did not take in to account when posting it that the huge summer blockbuster was not set to be released for another month.

Friedman openly admitted to downloading and watching the latest installment of the X-Men series illegally on the internet, thus violating copy right infringement. If caught he could be forced to pay a maximum of 250 thousand dollars or serve up to five years in prison.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America's website " Pirates all over the world should know that law enforcement entities are committed to protecting copyrighted material because creative works such as motion pictures and television are as valuable as any other type of property."

As an employee, Friedman represents the top-rated 24 hour news station Fox News in his columns. Will Friedman face repercussions?,2933,512139,00.html

Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Richards

Roger Friedman should be FIRED for being a shitty reporter (which he's always been), not to mention a total dumbass...

Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterV. Cano

Fox News not surprisingly is the source of another idiotic comment. Thing is, I have to say, 20th Century Fox is a different company. Clearly they didn't want this guy to come out and do this. He should be fired, and I'm sure he will be. Either way, I'm ready to see the movie in theaters...where it actually should be seen. Never took my ques from a Fox News reporter, and today is no different.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim J

Downloading is not what you get fined for. It is not what violates the copyright. The person who provided it to be downloaded (shared it, uploaded it) distributed it in violation of the copyright. So unless this man shared it himself, ie: downloaded it on a P2P service, he should not be fined.

He is, however, still ethically bankrupt.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAD



Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim J

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