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Oscar screener appears on the 'net

Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 2:13 PM Central

by John Couture

After heated debate between the large studios and the independent filmmakers over the piracy risks involved with sending out screening copies of movies to award show voters, an Academy Awards screening copy of Something's Gotta Give has turned up on the Internet.

As you may recall, the riff was touched off last year when Jack Valenti of the MPAA banned all forms of screening DVD and VHS copies ahead of the major awards season. Eventually, a court order on a motion brought by independent film studios allowed the distribution of screening copies to voters of individual awards shows, but with more security features to enable the tracking of individual copies and signed contracts that the members would combat the online piracy of these movies.

For Carmine Caridi, an Academy Awards voter and star of The Godfather Part II, it may be time to hit the mattresses as the offending copy has been traced back to the 69 year old actor. Sony Pictures, the movie company responsible for Something's Gotta Give, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are conducting an initial investigation into the piracy before pursuing possible criminal and/or civil charges.