Judge Lifts Screener Ban5 Dec, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner
A federal judge in New York has issued an order that effectively lifts a ban on sending DVD screeners to awards voters and, to the chagrin of the Motion Picture Association of America, declined to stay his order until the studio trade association can appeal the decision.
MPAA president Jack Valenti nonetheless vowed to appeal the decision, according to published reports.
"We know, without dispute, that in the past screeners have been sources for pirated goods both domestically and overseas,” he said in a post-ruling statement. “We will appeal because the impact and growing threat of piracy is real and must be addressed wherever it appears."
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey sided with the independent movie companies, who protested the ban as a crippling blow to their awards – and hence, income – potential.
He ruled that the ban would do irreparable harm to the indies, who have already missed opportunities to submit screeners in two competitions because of the bans, according to a Reuters report.