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MPAA Sued Over DVD Screener Ban 265

bigjnsa500 writes "Fourteen small movie houses are suing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) trying to stop the ban on DVD 'screeners'. 'It will chill the financing of independent films by limiting the awards they can receive', say the plaintiffs, who include Talking Wall Pictures, Sandcastle 5 Productions and Salty Features. They feel they are being treated differently because several 'specialty' indy film shops are still allowed to send out 'numbered, encoded videocassettes' to Oscar voters. This ban was issued by MPAA President Jack Valenti initially to stop the illegal distribution of DVD screeners on the Internet."
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MPAA Sued Over DVD Screener Ban

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:18PM (#7562811)
    What's that? Chef's movie studio?
  • by Anonymous Coward this a hint and a half that they shouldn't be members of the MPAA?

  • by badfrog ( 45310 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:20PM (#7562839)
    That someone sue over the 10 minutes of commercials I'm forced to watch after putting a DVD in.
    • Re:I'd rather... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by akiaki007 ( 148804 ) <aa316&nyu,edu> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:22PM (#7562865)
      Or better yet, over the 15 minutes of TV commercials and consumer product commercials we're forced to watch at the Movie Theatre that I just paid 10$ to go to in order to watch a movie.
      • Re:I'd rather... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Paleomacus ( 666999 )
        Agreed. Our local cinema chain was just bought out by Regal Cinema Corp. They used to show trivia and word games/puzzles before the movie started. Now all you get are commercials the whole god damned time.

        Weee! I'm going to get to the movie early, pay way to much for everything, and watch the brainwash reels.
      • Re:I'd rather... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by palp ( 90815 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:42PM (#7563090) Homepage
        I'm pretty sure the reason for this is that the movie companies take such a large percentage of ticket revenue that the theaters have to find any way they can to make some money.
        • Re:I'd rather... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by override11 ( 516715 ) <> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:44PM (#7563111) Homepage
          ummm, the friking 4 dollar soda and the 6 dollar popcorn doesnt make em any money?? anyone home?
          • Actually, I seem to recall seeing somewhere that movies cost so much to screen that the cost of the other crap is all they can do to turn a profit.

            Not that I give a fuck. That just means someone, somewhere has a serious cost problem. Oh yea, it's right there in the studio where dipshits "earn" *cough*bullshit*cough* 20 million for 6 months working on a single fucking movie that turns out to be a giagantic pile of horseshit anyway

        • Re:I'd rather... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by akiaki007 ( 148804 ) <aa316&nyu,edu> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:48PM (#7563150)
          In the initial weeks of a release, theatres make very little money, and the studio rakes it all in. I don't know what the breakdown it is, but it's something like 80% first week, and then drops off slowly, and after about a month or so, the 80% is on the theatre side.

          Yes, the theatres don't make much money compared to the studios, but then perhaps they should work out a deal that benefits me and you, the consumers, not their own money making pockets. I suppose what an investor wants, an investor gets.

          Though it would be so bitersweet to see all consumers protest the 5 biggest movies of the year by not going to watch it in the theatres at all.
          • Re:I'd rather... (Score:2, Insightful)

            by banzai75 ( 310300 )
            I don't see the theatres footing the bill of making the movies either. So if the movie industry takes most of the profit, I'd say that's probably fair.
    • That someone sue over the 10 minutes of commercials I'm forced to watch after putting a DVD in.

      What commercials? []

    • by Dynamic Ranger ( 725268 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:36PM (#7563043)
      When I first got my DVD player I found that if you try to "skip" to the next "chapter" it doesn't work; you have to watch the commercials.

      But if you hit "stop" and then "play" without powering off, it goes right to the movie. :)
    • I don't know why parent is modded funny, seems like a serious complaint, though it's not something I've ever seen myself with DVDs here in UK.

      if they do start doing that with DVDs here, I'll just obtain a copy through other channels. it's especially easy for me to obtain stuff like that being at uni. I have no problem paying for something that's good, but if they force me to choose between paying to be annoyed or watching for free without annoyances, they'll quickly find themselves not getting another penn
      • I don't have a DVD player, yet. And that is just the sort of thing that will keep me from buying one. But of course, not buying their DVDs anymore will only make them blame piracy.
  • by hungryfrog ( 624114 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:20PM (#7562842)
    From the context I'm assuming these are pre-release copies, but the article shouldn't have assumed that all /. readers would instantly recognize this term.
  • This is dumb. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:20PM (#7562846)
    They should be able to send out whatever they want or not send it out. I'm so tired of things being settled in court when the answer is simple common sense, if they want to combat some imagined slight through no screeners then fine if the Oscars want to refuse to award any film without screeners then fine. This is ignorant. This country is too fucking sue happy.
    • It's dumb for more reasons than that. The big risk in screeners is when they leak early, like the week the movie premiers. When they get around to Oscar voting time, the movies have been out for months. They've probably played in the second run $3 theaters already. They might even be close to their home video release date. What's the big deal with sending out screeners now?
    • by DABANSHEE ( 154661 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:21PM (#7564969)
      IE what stop's Small film companies from simply sending out screener copies to awards voters any way?

      It's not as if either small film companies or awards voters are under any obligation to comply with MPAA decisions.

      AFAIC MPAA decisions only effect MPAA members, which I assume are the big studios. Anyway if the small makers are members they could simply renounce their memberships
  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:21PM (#7562851) Homepage Journal
    I know that if I was producing an indie film, I'd gladly welcome the ban as a way of allowing me to further differentiate my product by continuing to offer screeners. The process has been dominated by big studios for too long.

    What's the issue here? If anything, I'd expect a big studio to be upset.

    • Actually the "Big" movie houses are strange bed fellows in this one. The bigger studios generally command more screen play and with all the movies coming out between now and the awards (now to be held in late Feb or early March), it leaves little play for the smaller films. Since they can't send out screeners, there's less of a chance that the movies get seen and potentially nominated for award(s).
    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:31PM (#7562977)
      All films including indie films were originally banned from sending screeners to voters of awards like Academy, Golden Globe, etc because of misuse of the screeners. Now the ban applies only to lesser awards (best cinematography in a film about sheep-herding, etc). Unfortunately, indie films do very well in these lesser awards. The major awards like Best Picture, etc. are already dominated by the bigger studios in terms of marketing and promotion. So indie films are complaining that this limits their exposure.

      The indie films cannot offer a screener in these categories less face the wrath of the MPAA which controls the Academy Awards and a great deal of the movie industry.

    • Read the whole article thoroughly. They did point ount the distinction as to why this particularly screws indie films.

      "Awards and accolades beget more awards and accolades, which culminate for the awards season with the Academy Awards," the lawsuit said.

      The way the smaller filmmakers reason it, they need those small awards groups to get the attention of larger ones. The ban no longer restricts distribution of screeners to all awards groups, it was partially repealed:

      Last month, the Hollywood studios

    • It said small, independent film producers were forced to either accept the terms set by the major movie studios or be excluded from well over 80 percent of the distribution market.

      Simple blackmail...send out a screener, and lose 80% of your market instantly.

      Yeah, that will sure break up the big studio domination of the industry!
  • And if this ban sticks, it will simply result in people duping the retail DVD version of said movie. I can only wonder what kind of encryption they'll put in dvd audio discs, assuming they even put them on the market. From what I gather, the RIAA is afraid to put dvd audio discs out, after watching what happened to their twins at the MPAA.
  • The MPAA restricting practices that benifit small businesses
  • canned response (Score:3, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:23PM (#7562884)
    Rich Taylor, an MPAA spokesman, said the lawsuit is misguided because the reason for the ban was "to reduce piracy and to preserve the motion picture industry for filmmakers, both large and small."

    What a numbscull. He never stopped to think that the ban was misguided. We can only expect such responses I guess.

  • by mrshowtime ( 562809 ) * on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:25PM (#7562909)
    I don't understand why they are bothering to encode each VHS copy, and why they are bothing to release the screeners on vhs at all. I mean, come on, who the fuck still uses their VCR for anything except for watching old home movies?! Also, what happens if Jack Nicholson throws away his copy of "Brown Bunny" and someone goes through his trash and steals it and then uploads it to the internet and starts selling bootlegs on ebay? Is the MPAA going to go after Jack Nicholson for aiding piracy? This screener ban will eventually be recalled, but hopefully NOT till next year. Why? All of the lame-o indie movies won't have a chance to knock Lord of the Rings from getting it's well deserved Oscars. Face it, this year has been pretty slim in the "Oscar Worthy" movie department. Sure, lots of good performances, but nothing really great. LOTR has to win for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (Ian Mckellan). Jack Valenti needs to retire. He has made nothing but bad calls over the entire tenure of his dictatorship (remember he said that the vcr would ruin the movie industry and actually tried to outlaw it!).
    • Uhh not sure whether to agree with you or not, but you should go see 'mystic river'. It's a pretty oscar-worthy film (although I'm a LOTR nut too, so I'd probably cheer for that anyways). Sean Penn could easily walk away with best actor, and likewise clint eastwood for best director. Honestly, it's a good movie.

    • I mean, come on, who the fuck still uses their VCR for anything except for watching old home movies?!

      Speak for yourself, dumbass. I use mine all the time, the tapes are cheap and plentiful, providing exactly what I need (time shifting programs, archiving occasionally) with an existing piece of equipment. It's going on 8 years old and works perfectly. There's also no other way I know of to watch the 2nd season of "Twin Peaks." :P

    • All of the lame-o indie movies won't have a chance to knock Lord of the Rings from getting it's well deserved Oscars.

      Clearly screeners aren't necessary. You can judge how good a movie is just based on the trailers...oh wait, maybe you're a traveler from the future?
    • Generally, the actors and even the directors don't get a personal cut of the film before the premier. The producers control any screeners or copies going out to reviewers, critics, or VIPs.
  • by kemster ( 532022 ) <kem327&msn,com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:26PM (#7562918) Homepage
    trying to stop movies from reaching the internet is like trying to put a baby back into a woman..
  • Leave the MPAA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hungus ( 585181 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:26PM (#7562923) Journal
    Why not just leave the MPAA wouldn't that really be the meaning of independent? Or, does anyone know if you must be a member of the MPAA to qualify for the awards? Another option would be for them to send them out anyways and disregard teh MPAA altogether on this. I am no longer part of the movie scene ( though was once a member of NATO []) might such an action cause repercusions from SAG [] et al?
    • Some (read most) theaters will only run movies if the distributing company is a member of the MPAA...

      Same goes for DVD sales and the like. I'm surprised that, being a member of NATO, you hadn't heard of this...
    • According the the MPAA [] not all of the studios mentioned in this article are members (maybe none of them are, I only checked the ones listed in the slashdot blurb).
  • I want to Join. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lostindenver ( 53192 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:26PM (#7562924)
    Can I sue due to my movie experiance being limited. If the indies cant send out screeners, They won't get the nominations, then I wont get to see some Really good movies. All ill be able to watch is Matrix 3 rehashes, or halloween 289, or freddie VS Godzilla
  • by krulgar ( 250929 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:27PM (#7562931) Homepage
    It used to be that in order to compete for an Academy Award, the film had to be released via a huge 80 pound cannister of film (or TWO!). Then, when smaller films were getting included (in an attempt to be inclusive), the AMPAS decided to allow some of these smaller films to bypass the rules. I'm sure they see this as a mechanism to expand on a "loophole".

    MEANWHILE... they risk losing relevance in the minds of the public by ignoring those films that are garnering significant support throughy internet-first releases, or through DVD releases. The trick is defining the line between "film" and "tv" or "internet". Good luck with that one folks!
  • Idiots! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:28PM (#7562949) Journal
    Just quit the MPAA and be done with it!
  • Silly MPAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. McGibby ( 41471 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:29PM (#7562957) Homepage Journal
    So I had a thought. The MPAA (at least pre-screener-ban) was trying hard to encode something into screeners to find out who was releasing them. All kinds of silly tricks like putting dots on the screen. The problem was that copiers noticed anything they tried because they were trying to put too much information in there.

    Why not simply try to encode one simple bit in the whole movie? Then randomly give out the screeners but keep track of who you give the two different copies to. After say, 5 releases, you've narrowed down the field pretty well. At least they would have an idea of what types of people are releasing the screeners. Oscar judges? Reviewers? Soccer moms?

    Anyway, that would certainly help the problem.
    • Re:Silly MPAA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fancia ( 710007 )
      But if the film was being reencoded to another format when being ripped, wouldn't that bit change? And wouldn't single-pixel changes possibly be distorted when the frame is reencoded?
    • Why only create two different versions? Why not make every screener unique? If there's up to 15,000 screeners going out, a simple 2-byte tag within the file should be sufficient to tag every single non-retail copy of the movie, both screeners and the actual disc sent to theaters, with minimal technological requirements to accomplish this.
    • No worky (Score:3, Informative)

      by hamsterboy ( 218246 )
      Most screener rips aren't distributed as straight copies; usually they're DivX or XviD, heavily compressed. So any straight-data change will most likely be lost in the conversion process.

      At any rate, there's an easy way around this; do a diff between screeners from two different sources. If there's any identifying information, scramble it in the copy that's distributed, so that there's no way of telling where it came from.

      • I guess I worded that incorrectly. What I meant by "encode one bit" is to somehow change some small aspect of the movie that wouldn't be noticed, but could be identified by someone who knew where to look. I didn't mean literally change one bit.
      • Also you could just code out a section of the screen on the movie, like a small white dot on the lower-left corner, to show that it is a screener.
      • At any rate, there's an easy way around this; do a diff between screeners from two different sources.

        Would you just stop giving the MPAA more ammo please! I was just about to reply with a good scheme when I realised what I was doing...
      • Well, with enough bits of identifying code, couldn't they make it impossible to do a simple "diff" to figure out what's changed? I.e. use so many identifying bits that you could figure out the ID of the combination of screeners that were used in the dvd-rip even if a "diff" was run on the files.
    • Re:Silly MPAA (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freakmn ( 712872 )
      Perhaps you could change something IN the movie. Like an actor in a certain scene says a different word with the same meaning. i.e. instead of saying Whoa, the actor (keanu in this case) would say Wow. Most people wouldn't notice the difference.
      • Or even easier and less noticable, you could cut the scenes just a fraction of a second differently.

        That wouldn't require any extra acting and would survive reencoding as well.
      • Re:Silly MPAA (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Slack3r78 ( 596506 )
        Better still, if you're going to go through the trouble of editing to track, leave the film intact, but add dummy names of non-existant people to the credits of some of the copies you send out. Once the crackers got wind of it, they'd simply stop including credits in their rips, but until then, I imagine it'd be rather effective.
  • Seems like me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SargeZT ( 609463 ) *
    This is reminiscent of the Microsoft Monopoly Lawsuits. The small corporations/movie studios are pissed because the large corporation is making sure they never get off the ground. I know there are glaring differences, but then again, who the hell cares?
  • Petty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ActionPlant ( 721843 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:30PM (#7562967) Homepage
    I thought it was rediculous that the MPAA was able to impose that ban to begin with. I'm not upset...sure, I've recieved my share of screeners, but typically only kept those I liked anyway, and only until the better commercial dvd version came out anyway. I say if a movie house wants to put their film out there, let them do it! It's rediculous to lose any kind of elegibilities for doing what you want with your product.

    Hollywood is dangerously close to being an exclusive, communistic institution and state unto itself.

    Close? Who am I kidding??

  • by White Shade ( 57215 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:32PM (#7562988)
    Pessimistic outcome:
    MPAA Wins, small movie houses crushed by debt, MPAA Declares screener ban a 'non-issue' cuz no one left cares. Piracy rates remain unchanged.

    Optimistic but still Pessimistic ouctome:
    The small movie houses win by throwing the 'discrimination' tag around, thus hiding the real issues under a miasma of political correctness (a very thick and murky miasma at that). Piracy rates still remain unchanged.

    Really optimisitic outcome:
    Small movie houses win, screener ban repealed, MPAA gets 'a clue', Valenti discovers the way out of his own ass after years of deep internal struggle (ha). Piracy rates remain unchanged, slashdot loses issue to complain about (soon to be replaced, heh)

    Seriously though, I think this is a very good thing to be happening, the lawsuit that is. I hadn't even thought of these small movies losing financing because of lack of award potential, but now that they mention it, it seems blindingly obvious. This is certainly not a frivolous lawsuit, and very refreshingly so.

    I say, best of luck, small movie houses!

  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:33PM (#7563002) Homepage
    several 'specialty' indy film shops are still allowed to send out 'numbered, encoded videocassettes' to Oscar voters.

    So, would those be the Hollywood "indys" that co-opted the TRUE indy filmakers after it caught on in the past few years? Kind of like the "indy" RIAA labels.


  • by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:34PM (#7563012) Journal
    ..the Oscar is about the Big studios and their latest blockbusters.

    I'm pretty sure that if someone analyzed the data they would find that a *very* high percentage of the Oscar winners came from the big studios.

    The Oscar is not about quality.
    It's all about money, ratings, glory and power. Even if they(small studios) win this case they won't win any more Oscar's; if any at all.

    • Of course the Oscars aren't about quality. But some people think they are, and it's good publicity/advertising. Being able to label your movie as an Oscar winner probably does have some effect on sales.

      No, repealing the ban on screeners will not allow the indies to win more Oscars, just that they won't win LESS. They do actually win some. The whole point is that the big movies can be seen easily by every member of the Academy. The smaller ones can't and so screeners help them more than they do the big stu
  • Twisted logic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:35PM (#7563022)
    Let me see if I get this straight. Some people were putting their screeners up for sale or available for P2P. So instead of tracking them down for violating copyright or blacklisting them from future screeners, the MPAA imposes a ban on all screeners. Isn't that like a software company banning all game demos because somebody posted their demo on Kazaa?
    • It's like the whole class getting detention because one person stuck gum on the teacher's seat.

      Or the increasingly obtrusive trend towards checking airline passengers (next step, full-cavity searches for everyone).

      I've seen a screen rip where at certain points during the movie the colour goes off and you get black+white. Movie is still viewable, but that section indicates it is a screener. Now if they did this to different sections for different screeners... whomever sells theirs off would have to colle
  • "Jack Valenti, now appearing in 'Cat on a hot tin roof'" - see him dance (or at least hop from foot to foot), see him sing (out at anyone and everyone), see him fall!


  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:42PM (#7563089) Homepage
    I read an article [] the other day about Ethan Hawke's next movie, "Billy Dead" [], trying a new way to get financing: by selling 900,000 IPO shares @ $8.75.

    Sounds like a good idea to me. I'd love to pay for what amounts to advance movie ticket(s) to get a movie made that I want want to go see (or download), and sell short the shit I don't. Making a little change off of good taste doesn't hurt either.


    • i liked the idea of this also, but the first thing that came to mind was the current royalty practices. typically, a movie is only "profitable" after all expenses (read parties, massages, and alcohol binges) have been deducted. few movies are profitable! so, i wonder what the accounting standards will be, and what the incentive for investors will be. "i gave my hard earned money to bob so he could party and make some movies." i would rather see 1 million people prepurchase "tickets."
  • I'm sorry I missed the part where the MPAA has direct law making authority... at least most of the time they have to buy congress.

    What gives the MPAA any authority to issue this decree? Seems a bit out of scope.

  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @06:43PM (#7563104)
    I went to an advance screening last night for the first time in 5 years or so.

    Printed on the back of the ticket was a 10 line disclaimer/EULA/warning about bringing in any "electronic recording equipment", claiming that my attending means I agree to have it confiscated if they find it (yeah, unsigned contracts always hold up in court!).

    When we got to the theatre, we had our bags thoroughly searched (this is a leather attache case btw, and I was dressed in a suit and tie). They also ran a metal detector over us, and our bags. It was quite honestly as invasive as an airport screening area.

    Then, when we sat down, the promotors did their shpiel, gave away some prizes, and went on a several minute tirade about how we shouldn't steal movies, we're hurting artists, etc. Anyone caught with a camera will be ejected and possible criminal charges brought against them. And (get this) if you see anyone else with a camera, please notify us immediately.

    Finally, the movie starts, and I get to listen to another idiot telling me that downloading a movie is no different than stealing a chocolate bar.

    I've never, ever felt more like a suspect in my life. After last night, I can understand why Blacks in the US complain about supposed random stops on the freeway. In fact, I almost expected a few police to be on hand.

    Of course, for fun I poked around on Kazaa last night, and lo and behold, the movie was there. All it takes is one person, you morons, and inconveniencing and/or pissing off the MILLIONS of people who pay to see your movies is NOT a good way of doing business.

    This is the final straw. It was bad enough last week seeing Master & Commander, and those damn brown spots were all over this one scene with mostly light-coloured backgrounds in it, so all I could do was sit there and think "Ok, enough with the dots!" and then lose track of what was going on with the movie.

    I can't honesly see myself paying for another movie again, if this is how I'm going to be treated.

    Oh, and in case anyone's curious, this happened in Canada. I guess we have our own MPAA equivalent here, or their reach is just that long.
    • If it's an American movie, I'm fairly sure that the MPAA works here as well. I believe you can still be sued/etc for breaking the laws of another country when it comes to their "property," so long as Canadian court recognises their claim.
    • You're in an advanced screeing for a reason. Use that to your advantage. If you're a reviewer, spend several paragraphs saying how you were treated like a criminal suspect. If they're trying to gauge audience reactions, walk out halfway through. If you're an academy member, tell the producer that you won't vote for it, and follow through.

      Movies are no different than anything else. When a food critic goes to a restaurant and the waiter treats him like dirt, the restaurant won't get a good review, despite th
      • Unfortunately, this was just the usual "free tickets" type thing. I'm nobody special :(

        I have to assume reviewers stop getting free passes if they EVER badmouth industry procedures though, because I've never once heard of something like this going on. And I read a lot of reviews. I can't honestly believe that people have ZERO problems with search and seizure of their persons just for going out on the town.

        Then again, I think we already do it for sporting events...
        • I have to assume reviewers stop getting free passes if they EVER badmouth industry

          If the reviewers put up with this, they're stupid. If I write an honest review and get blackballed from screenings, you had better believe I'm going to pan everything else that producer does.
  • The LA Times (no, I'm not posting a link because you get 1/2 column inch of text in a full screen of ads, and they have REALLY intrusive registration) reported this and said the indies were suing under antitrust law.

    If this is true, it would be awesome to see the MPAA declared a monopoly, and forced to act under the more stringent rules applied to monopolies.
  • Cause and effect (Score:2, Interesting)

    "It predicted that continued enforcement of the ban would result in fewer movies, higher prices and decreased quality."

    Shouldn't that read, "Fewer movies, higher prices, and decreased quality^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HGigli?"

    Seriously though, maybe fewer movies are a good thing. It seems like the more saturated the movie market gets, the more and more crap we have to weed through looking for something decent. Things like that are why I pick a movie or two that I just have to see, then after th
  • The one thing I have never seen asked (let alone answered...) is why this ban has any teeth at all?

    The MPAA is not in charge of the Academy Awards in any way. So if a studio wants to send out screeners, why should they listen to the MPAA? The MPAA does not give any benefit to a studio, other than a lobbying force, and its hard to make your lobbying help one studio while hurting another...

    And what business does the MPAA have telling the studios how to run their business anyhow? If the studio feels they will

  • The Real Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lhpineapple ( 468516 )
    Rather than ban DVD screeners, the MPAA should really be focusing on the real problem, the leak. It must be an internal matter.

    The independent film makers shouldn't have to be punished for someone else's problem, but I guess that's the price of freedom.
  • because the experiance. Sorry, but my 27" flat panel TV is nice, but it doesn't hold par to a 50 foot screen. Now that it costs like $10 to see a movie, I wait for it to come to the cheap theater for $2.

  • if the member of the mpaa don't like the fact that screeners aren't sent out, they should consider leaving the mpaa and sending screeners out independantly.
    • by cens0r ( 655208 )
      Except that then they can't distribute to 80% of theaters. Which is what the lawsuit is really about. The MPAA is an illegal trust forcing these studios to play by their rules or die.
  • by BlueQuark ( 104215 )
    As someone who has worked most of his professional career in Hollywood, I can honestly say that Corporate Hollywood is probably running scared.

    Profits are running thin on big budget Hollywood films, especially after so-called 'A' List actors, directors and writers get their big cut/fee.

    Because Hollywood is beholden to corporate overloards who in turn are beholden to stock holders, there is very little incentive to produce 'riskier' films. This has resulted in a series of dull, uninspiring lackluster produ
  • While I think this lawsuit is absolutely neccessary it's not really an anticompetitive move. The monopoly would become an ancillary benefit to be sure, but they really are just trying to curb pre sales piracy. This move does NOTHING to stop the massive flow of DVD-R images that flow after a movie is released. Why buy it at Best Buy when you can DL it and burn to a $1 disk?

    If you don't grok why the indie makers are pissed think about how much it costs to make a movie. If any of the actors carries a SA []
  • Roger Simon [], a screenwriter [], said his screeners have either been delivered by an indifferent Fedex driver who didn't care who signed, or just plain left on his doorstep. Given that, he suggests that just possibly, the MPAA's agenda on this issue isn't piracy.
  • by grahamtriggs ( 572707 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @05:04AM (#7566878)
    I still don't understand why the MPAA are getting involved.

    If a studio sends out a screener, and it gets copied, then it is that studio that will suffer from the piracy.

    So if a studio doesn't want their screener to be pirated, then they have a simple choice to make - either put more controls on the distribution of their screener, or not distribute one at all.

    The studios can make their own decisions as to what is important to them - so why does an industry body have to get involved?

    IMHO, the only reason an industry body should ban screeners (or other types of promotion) is if (smaller) studios can't afford to promote their films, and so create a level playing field. Otherwise the studios are perfectly capable of making their own decisions.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.