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2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: Footage Leaked Ahead Of Friday's Big Show

Footage of the super-expensive, super-secretive Opening Ceremony found its way, briefly, to the Internet.

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Rehearsal footage of the $42 million Opening Ceremony was posted to -- and removed from -- YouTube on Thursday as organizers try to keep the show under wraps, according to The Independent.

The director of the ceremony, Oscar-winning Danny Boyle (who also directed "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours"), had implored spectators to "save the surprise" and not post video of the event. There was even a Twitter hash tag -- #savethesurprise -- dedicated to keeping the event shrouded.

From the Independent:

One video on YouTube - entitled "Olympic 2012 opening ceremony snapshot from rehearsal" - was replaced with a message stating: "This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds."

Another video, named "Olympic Opening Ceremony Rehearsal", was "removed by the user", according to the site.

A YouTube spokeswoman said: "As always, when we're notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another's copyright, we remove the material in accordance with the law."

NBC, the US rights holder for the Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee have been fighting to keep footage of the Olympics -- including rehearsals -- off the internet.

Despite the secrecy, Boyle has been dropping hints about what to expect at the ceremony.

The ceremony will start Friday at 4 p.m Eastern and air in its entirety on NBC at 7 p.m. Eastern.

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Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.