The first episode of Homeland's third season has been leaked online nearly a month before its television premiere.
More than 100,000 fans pirated it from various BitTorrent networks within a few hours of it becoming available.
Homeland Season 3 - trailer
The third season of American mystery/thriller series Homeland is set to begin in September.
It is missing the opening credits and some special effects, and an actor's voice has been dubbed in one scene.
The third season of the critically-acclaimed spy thriller will debut on US cable channel Showtime on September 29.
Channel Ten will fast-track this season to Australian viewers – as it did with the previous seasons – partly in an attempt to discourage piracy. The network has not confirmed a launch date but Fairfax Media understands each episode will screen just several hours after airing in the US.
Variety is reporting that the leaked episode resembles a preview copy handed to reviewers at a Television Critics Association event in July. But the Torrent Freak website believes the episode is a "workprint" – an unfinished copy awaiting final editing.
"The source of the leak is likely connected to a post-production studio," the website claims.
Homeland is seventh most-pirated shows on the internet. Last year, it was downloaded illegally almost 2.4 million times.
Traditionally, networks have despaired at their shows being pirated but Variety and Torrent Freak both suggest Homeland's leak could benefit its US broadcaster.
"While the early sampling could conceivably eat into the audience that might otherwise subscribe to Showtime, another school of thought dictates that such a sneak peek has promotional power, spreading the word in advance of the premiere," Variety argued.
Torrent Freak said: "Showtime hasn't officially responded to the leak thus far, but it could be that they're not too bothered by the free publicity. In recent months several TV insiders have gone on the record stating that piracy may actually help TV-shows, because of word-of-mouth promotion it generates."
Australian networks take a much dimmer view of piracy. Most argue that any promotional benefits are outweighed by a significant loss of viewers, which is particularly detrimental in such a small market.