As one of the most highly-anticipated films ever, it was inevitable illegal streams and pirate copies of Avengers: Endgame would surface.
However, pirate copies and illegal streams are usually easy to avoid, as normally the people using them are doing so willingly and in full knowledge that it’s illegal.
When a cable TV company decides to air a pirated version of the film though, it’s a whole other matter.
Imagine trying your hardest to avoid all mentions of the film, booking your cinema tickets and getting all excited the night before seeing it, only to flip on the TV and find a crappy pirated version throwing out spoilers left, right and centre.
Unfortunately for viewers in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte in the Philippines, that’s exactly what happened, as local cable provider Orient Cable thought it’d be a great idea to show Avengers: Endgame on TV a day after its premiere in cinemas.
According to a report from the Philippine News Agency, the cable TV company is being sued by Teatro de Dapitan – the authorised movie company that shows the film in the Philippines.
After the company found out about the pirate version circulating on TV, they went straight to the police to record the incident. Orient Cable then stopped showing the film.
But what did they replace it with? A pirated version of Captain Barbell, naturally. Captain Barbell is a Filipino superhero, with similar characteristics to Captain Marvel and Thor, but with a backstory akin to Captain America.
Chembeelyn Alpeche-Balucan, a lawyer for Teatro de Dapitan, said they will ‘definitely’ be filing a case against the cable company.
As one student of Multimedia Studies at the University of the Philippines Open University said:
This act is a huge violation of the law and a huge disrespect of the film industry.
Orient Cable, hunnie, you are part of the TV and Film industry. Clearly, you know how that business works. This stunt you’re pulling off supports piracy. Do you need an education about that? If you’re earning from your watch time, you’re stealing other people’s years of work and selling it for clout in such a bad light.
Orient Cable are yet to respond to questions about the issue.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.