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Screener hits the 'net.

Old 01-13-04, 01:07 PM
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Screener hits the 'net.

Screener Ends Up on the Internet;
A downloadable copy of 'Something's Gotta Give' reignites concerns about film piracy and videos sent to Oscar voters.

BYLINE: John Horn, Times Staff Writer
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,4204745.story

BODY: A copy of the hit movie "Something's Gotta Give" that was sent to an Oscar voter has turned up on the Internet, prompting an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences investigation and signaling a fresh setback in Hollywood's battle against movie piracy.

The academy said Monday that it learned last week about the unauthorized online appearance of the Diane Keaton-Jack Nicholson romantic comedy.

A person familiar with the academy's probe said the offending videocassette had been sent to Carmine Caridi, a veteran film and television actor who appeared in "The Godfather: Part II" and played Det. Vince Gotelli on the television series "NYPD Blue."

The copy available on the Internet carried markings -- some clearly visible, others hidden -- that identified it as having been from the videocassette sent to Caridi, the person said.

Any number of movies eligible for Oscar nominations can be found on Internet downloading sites. But the academy said "Something's Gotta Give" marked the first time a so-called screener sent to an Oscar voter had been made available for illegal copying.

The academy's inquiry -- part of a newly instituted get-tough policy -- could end with the expulsion of any member found to be involved.

Caridi, 69, couldn't be reached for comment.

There has been an industrywide attempt to stop the spread of awards-season videocassettes and DVDs to movie pirates. A recent campaign to limit awards-season screeners was sparked by concerns that piracy was costing the film business more than $3 billion annually. The seven major studios agreed Sept. 30 to ban sending out such free movie copies to all awards voters.

However, under harsh criticism from filmmakers, producers and studio-owned specialty film divisions, the studios amended their plan Oct. 23 and permitted the shipment of encoded videocassettes to Academy Award voters only. Oscar voters were obligated to promise in writing that they would safeguard the tapes.

On Dec. 5, a federal judge overturned the ban, and the studios and their specialized film units immediately started manufacturing and shipping a variety of screeners to thousands of other awards voters.

The academy said Monday that it was alerted to the "Something's Gotta Give" problem early last week by Sony Pictures Entertainment, whose Columbia Pictures produced and distributed the movie.

Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis declined to say which Oscar voter was being investigated.

Davis said he had spoken briefly on the telephone with an academy member about how that member's screener had wound up on the Internet.

The member said he would call back to explain himself more fully but never did, Davis said. The academy then sent the member a letter asking for an explanation, but has not yet received an answer.

"I still have trouble believing that anybody would take the care of a 2003 screener lightly," Davis said. "It never occurred to me that anybody would ever let this happen. It's risking the whole ability of the academy members to get their screeners next year."

The academy required its 5,803 eligible Oscar voters to sign forms promising to safeguard their videocassettes before they could receive screeners. About 80% of voters signed and returned the forms.

"I agree to ensure that I know, at all times, the whereabouts of all screeners sent to me under this agreement," the form reads. "I agree not to allow the screeners to circulate outside of my residence or office. I agree not to allow them to be reproduced in any fashion, and not to sell them or to give them away at any time... I agree that a violation of this agreement will constitute grounds for my expulsion from the Academy and may also result in civil and criminal penalties."

Sony said it would withhold making a decision about pursuing legal action in the "Something's Gotta Give" case until the academy's probe was completed.

"The threat of piracy is a real problem affecting our industry," Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said. "We did everything we could to ensure the secure handling of all of our screeners sent to members of the academy. We are very concerned about this situation, and have turned over all relevant information to the academy."
Old 01-13-04, 01:15 PM
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Ouch.
Old 01-13-04, 01:17 PM
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This is one place where the time expired discs would come in handy. Not the average consumer but for screeners. Once opened it would be dead in a day and a half due to air.
Old 01-13-04, 02:31 PM
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yeah but then they still have a day and a half to rip the movie to their PC
Old 01-13-04, 03:12 PM
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But the academy said "Something's Gotta Give" marked the first time a so-called screener sent to an Oscar voter had been made available for illegal copying.


are they sure about that?
Old 01-13-04, 03:38 PM
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I completely agree with Michael Corvin on this. If the technology exists to make these screeners unplayable after a certain time frame, why don't they use it? You'd think the Academy would use any too at its disposal to make piracy more difficult.
Old 01-13-04, 03:54 PM
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Because Micheal's idea doesn't change anything if the screener is opened up and you are now only limited to a day and a half to make the rip on a computer. it doesn't take that long to rip a dvd with today's software or even a VHS if you have the right connections to your PC so it doesn't change anything. other then the time limit the person has to get it done.

As for the screeners, this year's wave have been on VHS and they still manage to end up on the net.

I've seen Girl with a pearl necklace, love actually, cold mountain, 21 grams and sooo many other films on rips from screener tapes.

they are using tapes this year in a way to try to prevent the copying since it takes a little more leg work and the quality is lower in a vhs version.

But hell, this move is not stopping anything from happening, go to VCDquality.com and see for yourself how many rips of films are being released by how many different groups. there are tons of them and will continue to be tons of them.

Atleast by water marking them and tracking them like they did this one, they can see where this tape was going and who allowed it to be pirated. the system worked great if you ask me.
Old 01-13-04, 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by necros
yeah but then they still have a day and a half to rip the movie to their PC
Yeah, but it is better than an infinite amount of time. And I think it would cut down on some of the piracy. Some of the die hards would find a way, but the way I see it is the Academy Voters aren't the ones uploading the movies. They more than likely watch it and pass it on to a neighbor, friend, etc. and they proceed to post it. Therefore 2 days would be a tight window for a voter to watch it and then pass it on, and then rip it before it expires. Just my thoughts.

The movie companies want to use the technology AGAINST the conusmer, the people paying for the discs, why not use it where it might actually benefit them?
Old 01-13-04, 04:05 PM
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the thing is that even if one of those die hards do it, then it's already done. sure there is a lot of different groups that get on any film, if just one die hard gets it, it's still going to spread on the net like wild fire. there really is no way to stop this other then just giving the voters the ability to watch it in a theater for free.. which with there respected guild cards, they can already do.
Old 01-13-04, 04:47 PM
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The main problem with viewing a screener that has a shelf life of 1 - 2 days is that small market films which try to compete with the studios may not get their movies seen. Imagine an academy member recieving 5 - 6 screeners with only 2 days to view it. The likelyhood that that member will watch a small arthouse film over a big budget film that s/he missed in the theaters is relatively small.
Old 01-13-04, 04:57 PM
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Can't wait to pick up the RoTK screener.
Old 01-13-04, 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by devilshalo
The main problem with viewing a screener that has a shelf life of 1 - 2 days is that small market films which try to compete with the studios may not get their movies seen. Imagine an academy member recieving 5 - 6 screeners with only 2 days to view it. The likelyhood that that member will watch a small arthouse film over a big budget film that s/he missed in the theaters is relatively small.
The time to view it doesn't elapse until the packaging is opened and oxygen in the air hits the disc. That starts the chemical reaction that makes the discs unreadable. So, this argument is moot as they still have time to watch them as long as they don't open a disc until they can pop it in and watch it.
Old 01-13-04, 06:48 PM
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Most studios are afraid that people will one day get smart and realize paying up to $10.25 for a shit movie is just too much.

Yet they keep making crap, and people flock to it.
Weird.
Old 01-13-04, 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by PhYbEr
But the academy said "Something's Gotta Give" marked the first time a so-called screener sent to an Oscar voter had been made available for illegal copying.


are they sure about that?
Probably the first time that it is without a doubt there own fault. It "being the first time" is probably just PR spin to indicate that their own system doesn't play a role in piracy, which is cleary does and we now have evidence to that fact.
Old 01-14-04, 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by Sunday Morning
Most studios are afraid that people will one day get smart and realize paying up to $10.25 for a shit movie is just too much.

Yet they keep making crap, and people flock to it.
Weird.
If it's shitty, don't go see it.

Last edited by Breakfast with Girls; 01-14-04 at 12:13 AM.
Old 01-14-04, 07:21 AM
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Sounds like the Academy is handling this correctly, targetting the specific person responsible rather than the RIAA's method of blaming everybody.
In addition to the disposable disk, continue putting tracking numbers intot he films, then prosecute the hell out of whichever member was sent that particular number. Sure worked fine this time.

Last edited by Panda Phil; 01-15-04 at 10:23 AM.
Old 01-14-04, 12:08 PM
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Second one now..

HEADLINE: Second Oscar 'Screener' Finds Its Way Onto Internet

BYLINE: Patrick Day, Times Staff Writer

BODY:

A copy of "The Last Samurai" has surfaced online, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the day after it announced it was investigating the appearance on the Internet of the comedy "Something's Gotta Give."

The academy said Warner Bros., which distributed "The Last Samurai," reported the incident Tuesday. The studio declined to say whether it had identified the source of the unauthorized copy.

The downloadable version of "Something's Gotta Give" that turned up on the Internet last week carried markings identifying it as coming from a video sent to an Oscar voter, Carmine Caridi, according to a person familiar with the academy probe. Caridi, who played Det. Vince Gotelli on the television series "NYPD Blue," wouldn't comment Tuesday when contacted at his apartment in West Hollywood.

The 69-year-old Caridi's commercial agent, Malcolm Cassell, said the actor had hired an attorney. Cassell said Caridi was "mightily embarrassed" about the situation and unhappy with the "angry and threatening" communications he received from the academy, which could revoke his membership.

As to how a copy of an Oscar "screener" sent to Caridi might have wound up on the Internet, Cassell said Caridi was "vague and not forthcoming."

The screeners sent to Oscar voters have been at the center of a storm that began when the MPAA, hoping to thwart piracy, said Sept. 30 that film-awards voters would no longer receive videos and DVDs of eligible movies. On Dec. 5, a federal judge overturned the ban just in time for awards season videos to be sent out.

Mark Ishikawa, the chief executive of BayTSP, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based digital security firm, said it was technically possible to track at which point in the production process an unauthorized copy of a movie probably had been made.

There are plenty of pirated films and other works circulating: Ishikawa said his staff on a daily basis identifies 1.5 million to 3 million copyright infringements online. Ishikawa said that once caught and reprimanded, 85% of offenders never return to the sites where they traded pirated material.

The academy's inquiry into the Internet versions of "The Last Samurai," starring Tom Cruise, and "Something's Gotta Give," which pairs Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, could result in the expulsion of any academy members found to be involved.
Old 01-14-04, 12:28 PM
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There a whole lot more that have been leaked as jack said, and they're just finding out about these 2?
Old 01-14-04, 12:43 PM
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There is nothing more clever than someone trying to get something for free.

Scams like this will never be completely avoided. THey can make it harder and force them to take other means, but the end result will remain the same.

Not that they shouldn't continue to protect their property, just saying...
Old 01-15-04, 09:06 AM
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Originally posted by glassdragon
There a whole lot more that have been leaked as jack said, and they're just finding out about these 2?
No. It is just that these two(and more recent films) they can track down who leaked it and press charges.
Old 01-15-04, 12:30 PM
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Do the Jay and Silent Bob approach. Find the addresses of the people downloading the movies and send a couple of punks to beat the crap out of them. The downloaders will probably be nerdy anyways so it makes the job even easier.
Old 01-15-04, 12:44 PM
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Now they're on eBay

Oscar Copy Found on EBay

BYLINE: Patrick Day, Times Staff Writer

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, scrambling to crack down on movie "screeners" that have popped up on the Internet in recent days, had a new incident to investigate Wednesday: how an academy screener copy of "House of Sand and Fog" came up for sale on EBay Inc.

Security features on the tape identified it as belonging to academy member Ivan Kruglak, president of Valencia-based Coherent Communications, a wireless audio-video and data communications company. Kruglak, who received a 1998 technical achievement award from the academy for a wireless video assist system for motion picture cameras, expressed complete surprise at the incident.

"The first I heard of this was when I got a phone call from the academy," Kruglak said in a phone interview. He said he had no idea how a copy of his tape ended up for sale on the Internet.

"I firmly believe someone at the duplicating house made themselves a copy before the studio sent it to me," he said.

The academy already is looking into how a screener of "Something's Gotta Give" belonging to 69-year-old actor Carmine Caridi was used as the source of a downloadable pirated copy on the Internet. Caridi met Wednesday with an attorney; neither would comment on the matter. Another screener, for "The Last Samurai," also has made an appearance online. The film's distributor, Warner Bros., said it intended to enforce its copyright "to the fullest extent of the law."

Meanwhile, Miramax said late Wednesday that it was looking into how an academy screener of its "Cold Mountain" became available for download.

Those incidents involved downloadable copies. In the case of "Sand and Fog," the tape itself was offered for sale. DreamWorks SKG, the studio behind the movie, said the tape was removed from EBay after the studio contacted the auction site.

The rash of unauthorized copying comes amid a broad effort in Hollywood to crack down on movie piracy. A ban enacted in the fall by the Motion Picture Assn. of America initially prohibited the release of the popular screeners, though an exemption later was made for Academy Awards voters. Then, on Dec. 5, the entire ban was thrown out by a federal judge.

Seeking to deter unauthorized use of the free movies -- which have long been a favorite Hollywood entitlement -- the academy this year is requiring its 6,000-plus members to sign waivers agreeing not to allow the tapes out of their possession. In addition to any criminal penalties, those found to have violated the agreement face expulsion from the academy.

Academy President Frank Pierson said his organization would not apply sanctions "without due process."

"We will give these members an opportunity to explain how their screeners got into the hands of pirates," he said.

As of now, the academy has no intention of setting up a permanent system to handle cases of screener piracy. Academy spokesman John Pavlik characterized the investigations as informal.
Old 01-16-04, 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by Michael Corvin
No. It is just that these two(and more recent films) they can track down who leaked it and press charges.
lets see what came out recently that was academy screener


Love Actually
Calander girls
School of rock
bad santa
Mystic River
Big Fish

all those are from the list at vcdquality.com

i havn't heard of any of these mentioned... but as michael said maybe they don't have the watermark
Old 01-16-04, 01:24 AM
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Cold Mountain
Shattered glass
Lost In translation
House on sand and fog
Youth Adam
The Cooler
Radio
Monster
Capturing the friedmens

to name a few off the top of my head.

The main thing is, if a pirater knows how to play there cards right and actually wants to keep the supply safer, they will blur out the watermark as best as they could.


Though still no decent LOTR copy other then the SVCD's.
Old 01-16-04, 01:29 AM
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I saw a site that said it WAS one of the tapes sent out to academy members. I think it's vhs and i hope it doesn't get leaked heh

actually if i recall correctly Big Fish came out like 2 weeks before the wide release.

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