Stuff.co.nz reported that one user, who had downloaded two versions of the film, had had 180,000 downloads from their account.
The film was supplied with a series of watermarks, added to preview copies in an attempt to reduce the risk of piracy, and the user had spent time trying to rid the copies of these.
“As you can imagine it took some time, loads of security in it, days of work I can tell you, all for the security of the source,” the person wrote.
Whilst Warner Brothers declined to comment, Tony Eaton, executive director of New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT),said:
“We are prepared to take all steps necessary to identify the thieves and pursue our available remedies under civil and criminal law.”
Eaton urged people to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at cinemas, or on official subsequent DVD and Blu-ray releases, rather than source pirated copies.
“Illegal downloading has a serious impact on the creative industries, jeopardising the jobs and livelihood of all those involved in bringing this film to fans in New Zealand and all over the world.”