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MPAA to Allow VHS Screeners

23 Oct, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has partially reversed the Sept. 30 decision to ban the use of video and DVD screeners.

In a joint announcement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the MPAA has authorized studios to send out specially marked screeners in VHS format to authorized academy members who annually determine the Academy Award winners.

The notice made no mention regarding reports that low-resolution DVDs would be made available as well.

A MPAA representative was unavailable for comment.

Under terms of the one-year agreement, those authorized to receive screeners will have to personally sign for them and pledge not to transfer the content to friends, relatives and third parties.

In addition, the MPAA will forward the name, home or work address to studios of all screener recipients so that allegations of “piracy can be traced back its source.”

The deal grants studios final discretion as to whether to participate in the agreement.

“The battle against piracy has to take precedence over everything,” said MPAA president/CEO Jack Valenti, in a statement. “There can be no misread of the purpose of this initiative, which is the long-term health of this industry for films large and small.”

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