[Videolib]

Francis C Poole (fpoole@udel.edu)
Wed, 1 Oct 2003 14:21:27 -0400 (EDT)

This item was on NPR and other stations this morning. Of possible
interest to readers of videolib.

Francis Poole, University of Delaware Library

---------- Forwarded message ----------
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=598&e=5&u=/nm/20030930/film_nm/leisure_oscars_dc

As you might know, at the end of the year, the motion picture studios
send
out tens of thousands of screening video copies (almost entirely DVDs,
now) of their films to members of the motion picture Academy (Oscar
voters), guild members, press (Golden Globe voters) and studio
executives.
It's the ONLY way that many films get seen, since few people actually go
to the screenings the studios set up in theaters and in screening
rooms.
The practice began over twenty years ago.

MPAA president Jack Valenti has decided that these screeners are the
source of pirate copies of movies circulating in Asia. (He is partly
correct.) And so he has convinced the studios to not release any more
screeners. In doing so, essentially, he has accused everyone in the
movie
business of being potential pirates, unworthy of being trusted with
their
own films! It's an ugly accusation, but Valenti -- who also warned the
studios that VCRs would lead to the studios' demise, in the late 1970s

--
doesn't care.  Now, many films, mostly smaller films and independent
films, will go completely unseen by Oscar voters and opinion makers.
It's quite likely the studios will send out expensive swag in an effort
to
win support for their films, instead.

Indeed, every DVD is potentially a high-quality digital master copy of a film, and there is nothing Hollywood can do to stop this, short of destroying the entire DVD market and the billions in revenues it represents, worldwide. But then, perhaps that is what Valenti has in mind.

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