A workprint of the upcoming season 3 premiere of Showtime's "Homeland" was leaked last week, and the unfinished episode has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.
"Homeland" was already one of the most pirated shows of 2012 according to TorrentFreak, with 2.4 million downloads.
The leaked episode has no opening credits and is missing many of the visual effects and CGI that will appear in the final version. There are missing buildings and empty streets, dubbed lines, and in one scene an empty parking lot appears with the words "VFX - bomb crater."
Showtime has yet to comment on the leak. It's possible the premium cable channel has no problem with generating buzz ahead of the show's official premiere September 29, especially since the leaked version won't stop people from seeing the fully-finished premiere.
Many have said over the last year that piracy can actually be good for television, with premium cable channel HBO taking a relaxed view of "Game of Thrones" breaking piracy records.
Time Warner CEO Alan Bewkes even said the buzz surrounding highly pirated shows ultimately leads to more subscribers. "I think you're right that 'Game of Thrones' is the most pirated show in the world, and that's better than an Emmy," he said.
But "Homeland" is produced by Fox 21, a division of 20th Century Fox TV. In 2009, an unfinished copy of "Wolverine" leaked a month early and 20th Century Fox involved the FBI to find the leaker.
The FBI eventually arrested Gilberto Sanchez in New York, and although he was not the original leaker, he pleaded guilty to uploading the movie to Megaupload and was sentenced to one year in jail.