The First High Definition Movie Pirated Was?
2005’s sci-fi space western Serenity wasn’t just a continuation of the popular but short lived sci-fi show Firefly, but also a distinct marker in the history of high definition video distribution: Serenity was the first high-definition film to be distributed after an encryption scheme used on HD-DVDs and Blu-Rays was cracked.
In late 2006, the encryption scheme was reverse engineered to yield a universal hexadecimal key that could be used to decrypt the encrypted contents of any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc such that the video/audio streams therein could be copied and manipulated as easily as any unencrypted content. In early 2007, the first movie cracked using the key, Serenity, appeared on a private bit-torrent tracker.
While we’re sure the controlling interests in the film, namely Universal Pictures and Joss Whedon, were none too amused by the unauthorized distribution, we’d like to think that Whedon was at least a little flattered that the first HD film to be cracked and distributed was Serenity which is, in a roundabout way, a testament to how popular the film was and how strongly it resonated with its audience of hardcore fans.