YouTube pulls Olympics opening ceremony videos; IOC urges public to inform on sharers via Twitter.

Video footage offering a sneak-peek at film director Danny Boyle's £27 million opening ceremony Olympics spectacular has been pulled from YouTube as London 2012 officials re-affirm their desire to keep Friday night's curtain-raiser under wraps.

Following the emergence of clips from a Wednesday dress rehearsal of the international sporting extravaganza, the video-sharing giant has removed a number of files with names like "Olympic Opening Ceremony Rehearsal," on "copyright grounds," while others have been "removed by the user," according to the site.

A YouTube spokesperson 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."

Boyle, the show's artistic director, pleaded with spectators at the sneak preview event to '#savethesurprise' and refrain from circulating material shot from inside the Olympic stadium prior to Friday night's spectacular, with the hashtag beamed on to giant screens inside the venue and evolving into a global Twitter trend thereafter.

Games organisers went even further, encouraging right-thinking members of the public to rat out their fellow citizens who may be sharing content against the wishes of the IOC and Mr Boyle, not to mention appearing to take more pro-active action against social media sharing by banning 3G hotspots inside Olympic venues.

"If you want to #savethesurprise and see vids of Olympic dress rehearsal on YouTube email the links to monitorolympic.org," tweeted Alex Balfour, head of new media at the Games.

Attendees at the exclusive rehearsal reported glowing reviews of the opening ceremony, a worldwide event expected to be watched by billions across the globe.

An audience of some 62,000 is expected at the stadium in Stratford tomorrow evening, which will be partly reinvented as a cloud computing centre in line with the Games' legacy initiative.

For more on social media and the Olympics, check out ITProPortal's recent report on the IOC's official 'Social Media, Blogging, and Internet Guidelines.'

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