How is Fox News’ Roger Friedman Not Fined for Reviewing Wolverine?

Earlier today on my Twitter account I wrote, “I am confused as to how people can download Wolverine, review it and not be prosecuted as thieves. Am I missing something here?” This comment was in response to the fact Roger Friedman of wrote up a piece headlined “Wolverine’s Big Surprises: Some Revealed”.

Clicking over to the site now all you get is an article about the series finale of the CBS soap “Guiding Light”, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet and Google’s caching system we can all see proof this actually happened. The piece begins:

Yes, I’ve seen “X Men Origins: Wolverine.” It wasn’t at a screening, either. I found a work in progress print of it, 95 percent completed, on the internet last night. Let’s hope by now it’s gone.

Obviously I have no idea how Friedman obtained his copy of Wolverine and I am not a lawyer so I don’t know if there is a difference between downloading a torrent file of a bootlegged movie to your computer or streaming it directly in your browser (even though some streams are downloaded to your computer as well). Perhaps Friedman shouldn’t be fined or prosecuted as a thief for watching Wolverine, but considering he has just admitted to somehow obtaining a copy I would think an investigation should be in order.

Going beyond that, where does come up with the balls to publish a review of an unfinished illegal copy of a film their sister company is so desperately trying to squelch the existence of? Tom Rothman, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, has even said, “It’s a complete misrepresentation of the film and is deeply unfair to the people who have worked on it for years.” This doesn’t exactly jive with Friedman’s “95 percent completed” statement.

Now, with the article removed, has received a statement from Fox regarding Friedman’s piece which reads:

“We’ve just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance 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.”

It’s funny they make sure to point out it’s a different company when actually both and 20th Century Fox fall under the umbrella of News America Group. Friedman even refers to 20th Century Fox as his “cousins” in the review while saying they are probably suffering from a stroke right now. Yeah, and your review isn’t helping genius. However, I respect the fact Fox publicly condemns the move and refer to Friedman’s behavior as reprehensible, but I still don’t understand how it just stops there and I hope it doesn’t.

Toward the end of his article Friedman writes, “[Obviously] someone who had access to a print uploaded the film onto this website. This begs several questions about security. Time to round up the usual suspects!”

Begs is right, and I would start by making sure Friedman is tagged by security and no longer allowed in the Fox News building. That’s one suspect out of the way.

I understand there is probably no way to fine Friedman unless someone was to check his Internet history and Temporary Internet Files and perhaps find out he actually did download the film to his hard drive, but still, the fact allowed this to be published is shocking. So much time is spent by film studios policing the small band of movie websites yet outside of reporting on the film I didn’t see a single one of them admitting to downloading it and certainly none of them displayed the unprofessional behavior of reviewing it… that is, at least not to my knowledge based on the group of sites I frequent.

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