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September 26, 2003

Oscar Screeners a thing of the past?

— Posted by John Campea

For those of you who may not know, Oscar Screeners are BASICALLY DVD or VHS copies of films that are Oscar candidates that studios send around to boost thier chances at the Academy Awards.

The problem is that these copies get leaked, and end up on the internet or duplicated about 50,000 times. I know I personally had an official screener copy of Bowling For Columbine at least 5 months before it was released in video stores, and a perfect DVD copy of The Two Towers at least 6 months in advance. I felt no guilt since I spent about $100 on seeing each in the theatre multiple times.

However, people like me who will only view a “pirated” copy of a film if I a) Have already paid to see it in the theatre, or b) plan on going to the theatre to see it in the near future, are few and far between. This appears to be prompting studios to consider halting the practice of Oscar Screeners.

Variety reports the Motion Picture Association of America late Tuesday sent major studio heads a draft of a proposal under which the studios would agree not to send out screening cassettes or DVDs during the upcoming awards season, in an effort to halt piracy. The MPAA has apparently been huddling with the studios in recent days on the subject.

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