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Actor fined over Oscar screener piracy

Written by Jari Ketola @ 24 Nov 2004 12:34 User comments (2)

Actor fined over Oscar screener piracy US actor Carmine Caridi has been fined $300,000 for distributing screener copies of movies that were nominated for Oscars. Caridi, 70, handed out copies of several movies to Russel Sprague, who he thought was just a film buff. Instead Sprague, 51, made copies of the movies and distributed them over the Internet.
According to authorities Mr Caridi sent copies of about 60 movies to Mr Sprague. Caridi was sued by Warner Bros for distributing The Last Samurai and Mystic River, and was fined $150,000 per movie by the US District Court in Los Angeles. He was also sued by Columbia Pictures. That case is still pending.

Sprague has pleaded guilty to his charges.

The movie industry hands out screener copies to the press and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in hopes for getting an Oscar nomination. These copies, published long before any commercially available copy of the movie is available, have long been the source for pirated copies of movies.

Last year the movie industry started paying more attention to the issue which caused a clash between the smaller studios and the MPAA. MPAA banned screener copies from all but the members of the Academy. Smaller studios sued MPAA over the decision because they felt that it greatly diminished the chances of smaller films receiving nominations.

Source: BBC News

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2 user comments

124.11.2004 20:33

This case sounds so similar to when Metallica sued Napster a few years ago, where they went after Napster and its loyal fans who were eager to download their music, instead of facing the issue of who stole their music from their studio. At least this time the people downloading it are getting blamed. That sucks for Carmine. I guess the lesson here is make sure you know who you're giving illegal copies to.

225.11.2004 11:16

Why isn't Russel Sprague taking more of the blame than Carmine? In fact, why is Carmine even sued? Although Carmine Caridi already broke the law by handing out Screener to a person, who he thought, with his own judgment, was a film fanatic, Russel is the one who made copies of them....

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