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Recently, Game of Thrones announced that they would not be sending out advance copies of Season 6 episodes to the media. This is HBO’s response to the BitTorrent leak of episodes last season.

At this point the Television episodes have diverged so much from storylines of the Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin, where even fans of the books don’t know what to expect.

When is Secrecy Too Much?

Hollywood secrecy is definitely not a new thing. For years scripts have been watermarked, printed on colored paper, encoded with minor changes to backtrack leaks, and even given the briefcase / bodyguard protection normally reserved for heads of state.

Regarding the secrecy around shooting Star Wars: The Force Awakens, actor Anthony Daniels, known for playing C3PO said that it was “..beyond ludicrous. For heaven’s sake, it’s a movie. When I got the script, it was typed in black on paper of the deepest red so you couldn’t photocopy it. I got a hangover just reading it.”

JJ Abrams’ studio Bad Robot is known for its protective measures. For the upcoming 10 Cloverfield Lane, actress Elizabeth Winstead said, “There is this veil of secrecy to it from the very beginning. We were making this movie in this little bubble where nobody else knew what we were doing..”

Constant Battle Between Marketing and Spoilers

It’s a delicate balance between releasing details for marketing and keeping some mystery. The only detail that Christopher Nolan has revealed about his next film is the release date: July 21, 2017.

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When asked about the secrecy around shooting the Batman Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan said, “We all want to unwrap our Christmas presents early. But we all know we’ll be disappointed if we do.”

One actor told of almost being thrown off the set - just for saying the word "Batman" while walking down the street. He said that he was especially confused when he and the other actors wore Gotham police uniforms, and passersby openly took photos.

How Loose Bits Sink Ships

Today many of these measures do little against the threat of technology. Watermarks can be removed. Copies today can scan any color. And finally almost everything (including this article) is done on some computer somewhere.

“We were no longer worried about an assistant at an agency photocopying our script; we were dealing with sophisticated computer hackers who were extremely serious about finding out how we were turning their favorite game into a script,” said Lulu Zezza, head of physical production for New Regency studio.

Besides the HBO leak to torrents sites, consider the suspected North Korean hackers who released confidential information, much to the embarrassment and horror of Sony Pictures.

It turns out that in spite of the role technology now plays, often it’s the human factor where things break down. Trying to implement a file security system, there was resistance.

“Nobody wanted to use it,” Ms. Zezza said. “The first year was unbelievably painful. I was teased mercilessly.”That was, of course, before the hacking at Sony."

A few years ago a copy of a script for a Doctor Who episode by Neil Gaiman was left in a taxi cab. Amazingly, a student returned it to the BBC without reading it or posting spoilers online.

“Beyond a certain level, nothing is 100 percent foolproof, but now we know there are measures that make it 99 percent,” said Oren Pelim producer and screenwriter of Paranormal Activity franchise. “I’m a little paranoid, but it’s justified.”