Breaking News Emails
Fans of the Netflix prison drama "Orange Is the New Black" face a dilemma after hackers claimed to have leaked most of the new season's 13 episodes this weekend — wait more than a month for the official release date or give in and download the pirated shows.
The hack or hackers — who go by "thedarkoverlord" — said they had demanded a "modest" ransom from Netflix to stop the leak, "yet they continue to remain unresponsive."
"With this information in mind (and the fact that leaving people on cliffhangers isn't fun) we've decided to release Episodes 2-10 of 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 5 after many lengthy discussions at the office where alcohol was present," the group said on an online computer code sharing site.
The industry site Torrentfreak reported that "thedarkoverlord" also released the season premiere.
NBC News hasn't independently verified the authenticity of the files, but Netflix didn't deny that they were real as hundreds of clips and excerpts began flooding social media beginning Saturday night, alternately thrilling and dismaying the show's rabid fans.
Netflix told NBC News in a two-sentence statement only that a production company used by several major TV studios "had its security compromised" and that "the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved."
The hackers appeared to confirm that the leaked episodes — which Netflix had planned to release June 9 — were harvested from a third-party production vendor.
"We were so early when we acquired the copies that post hadn't gotten around to Episodes 11-13," they said, using an industry shorthand term for "post-production."
The hacker or hackers warned that more Netflix material could be leaked soon — and not just the streaming service's proprietary work. It specifically named ABC, National Geographic, Fox and IFC (formerly the Independent Film Channel) as being "on the feasting menu."
"Our offer(s) are still on the table — for now," the group said.
"Orange Is the New Black," based on the 2010 book by Piper Kernan about her time in the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, built an intensely loyal following in its first four seasons, and those fans were torn by the unauthorized posting of most of the fifth season: