An anonymous hacker claims to have released pirated episodes of Netflix's popular series "Orange Is The New Black" after the company did not pay what the hacker termed a "modest" sum to avert the leak.
The hacker, self-titled "thedarkoverlord," announced via Twitter that episodes 2 to 10 of the series' fifth season — set for official release on June 9 — had been leaked on Saturday. The announcement included links to a file-sharing link where the episodes purportedly could be downloaded.
The hacker also threatened to leak other pirated content from Netflix, the on-demand streaming leader for movies and TV series, along with similar content from ABC, National Geographic, Fox, and IFC.
"You're going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was," the hacker wrote, referring to Netflix and "Orange Is The New Black," a streaming series focused a woman serving a criminal sentence in a minimum-security federal prison.
In an apparent warning to the other companies, the hacker added: "There's still time to save yourselves. Our offer(s) are still on the table — for now."
USA TODAY was not able to confirm the hacker's claims.
"We are aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved," Netflix said in a written statement.
ABC and Fox declined to comment on Sunday, and the other companies did not respond to emails seeking their position. The FBI similarly did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment.
Some fans of the show appeared to indicate they had successfully downloaded the material in Twitter posts responding to the hacker's claim.
"Season 5 is amazing and I can't believe it works," tweeted Cody Thomas, who added: "You Are Our Saviour. Enjoying the show!"
Others tweeted requests for the hacker to pirate and leak additional popular content.
If the leak proves to be genuine and continuing, the pirating could impose a negative drag on earnings and subscriber growth for Netflix (NFLX).
Earlier in April, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company said it added 4.95 million new subscribers in from January through March, slightly below Netflix's projection of 5.2 million new subscribers. The number fell well short of the 6.74 million additions for the same period last year.
Overall, Netflix added 1.42 million new U.S. and 3.53 million international subscribers, boosting its total subscriber base to 98.75 million.
Contributing: Mike Snider
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