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Sony Pictures has removed copies of its red-band trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming screen version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that were widely circulated on the web during the course of the Memorial Day weekend.
The trailer, which was posted on YouTube and quickly spread to other sites, appeared to be an illegal copy captured in a movie theater. But many commentators speculated that Sony itself may have cleverly planted the trailer, which looked far more professional than the average camcorded film.
A studio spokesman denied that was the case on Monday, explaining that the trailer had been illegally copied in the United States where it played in selected theaters showing the R-rated The Hangover.
A follow-up query Tuesday asking why the studio — which publicly opposes film piracy — had not asked YouTube to remove the trailer, did not receive an immediate response, but by Tuesday evening, the studio said that the trailer had been removed earlier in the day.
Viewers seeking out one copy on YouTube which was uploaded Saturday in the Netherlands — and which appeared to have been the initial source for many subsequent postings — now find a message that reads, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Sony Pictures.”
Before it was removed, though, that particular YouTube posting had been viewed more than 1.4 million times as of noon PDT on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday night, there were still several other, viewable copies of the trailer to be found on YouTube in addition to other postings of the trailer that were no longer available.
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