By Michael D. SellersAs we near the street date for Eye of the Dolphin, illegal downloads of the film are popping up here and there on various BitTorrent sites. If any of you come across any of these, please send me the link at email@example.com. So far we have had two in the last couple of days. Here is one link so you can see how it comes up:http://hbomovies.blogspot.com:80/2007/12/eye-of-dolphin-2006.htmlThe downloads happen in the weeks prior to a release, usually because of the hundreds (and possibly as many as a thousand) DVD screeners that have to be sent out to retailers as part of the solicitation process. Some of these find their way into the wrong hands — not just for EOD but for all films. You will see on the site that virtually all major Hollywood releases are there.This is a nuisance but the number of people who download from these sites is not huge and there is a migration toward legit download sites as there was from napster to iTunes for music downloads. Over the next five years legal downloads are projected to grow at almost 100% per year so this is a crucial area to be paying attention to.Legally, what happens is that when a site offers it illegally, we send them a letter which orders them to cease and desist. It doesn’t always work because many of the sites just say “we are a search engine like google” and it becomes a shell game. But they do often shut down. The law is written in such a way that they are not in violation until they have received the letter informing them that they have copyright material up illegally. Thus as long as no one challenges them, they are safe — but once challenged, they are exposed.