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MPAA's decision to ban Oscar screeners stands

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Oct 2003 4:39 User comments (3)

MPAA's decision to ban Oscar screeners stands Despite various rumors in public during this week that MPAA's chief executive Jack Valenti had met various indie movie authors in order to negotiate about the screener ban for Oscars, it seems that the ban stands.
Indie movie producers, directors, etc that operate in major movie studios' "indie divisions" have expressed their concerns over the decision. MPAA and major movie studios decided on last week to ban so-called Oscar screeners. Screeners are DVDs and videotapes of movies that haven't been released officially on that medium yet, but are being sent in advance to specific viewer groups, such as critics -- and in this particular case, those who are eligible to vote for Academy Awards.

Studios fear that perfect-quality DVD copies of their recently released movies get leaked to Net from people who receive screener copies during the "Oscar season" and therefor decided that they wont be sending any screener copies this year. This obviously doesn't have any meaning whatsoever to studios that aren't affiliated with major movie studios, but causes problems for indie divisions of major movie studios -- chances of voters even seeing niche movies before they need to cast their votes, are rather slim if indie movie producers can't send those movies directly to voters.

Anyway, after Mr. Valenti agreed to negotiate with heads of indie divisions, MPAA released a statement that the announced DVD screener ban stands.

"Jack Valenti has had conversations with individuals and several groups on the subject of the new screener policy," said MPAA public affairs VP Rich Taylor in a statement. "He welcomes the exchange of thoughts and ideas on the critical issue of combating piracy. That said, the screener policy remains as it was originally announced."

More information:

IndieWire (1)
IndieWire (2)
NYTimes (requires registration)

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3 user comments

110.10.2003 19:35

Well, I think we all know what this is really about. Sure if they get leaked it'll be bad etc etc but what Jack Valenti is really trying to do is discredit internet users with this ban. Look, if oscar screeners dont hit the net, CAMs, Telesync's maybe even Telecines WILL so there is no other explanation for this. Maybe these indie movie producers were ignoring the whole internet piracy issue because a lot of internet users might have been ignoring their movies anyway but Jack has come up with a great plan to make it all look like the internet users fault! The forthcoming oscars should be very interesting!

211.10.2003 04:53

And how will the critics see the movies? I believe you should view 2-3 times a movie to be sure to vote about something so important like the Oscars! Except this, I believe Dela is right. Movies will find their way to the net, there are always other ways for that.
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311.10.2003 14:17

I think it is less likely that some rich brat son of a director, or critic would leak the movie. Far more likely to be technicians (sorry guys!) within Technicolor and the like, as well as disties, all of whom have wider, more common access to these films anyway, as well as the knowhow to copy, rip, upload etc. And what about post production? I bet they think slapping the words 'For Academy Consideration Only' - Which is, I believe, the quote, although I have never seen it for myself - might get some toffs in trouble ;-) Anyway, the movies WILL get out even with this removal of priviliges, which is likely to really annoy some people, who will see it as an accusation of guilt. Paul.

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