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Oscar Group Leaning Toward Encrypted DVD Players, Screeners

6 Jul, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), organizer of next year's 77th Academy Awards, appears to be in favor of an antipiracy measure that would involve sending individually coded DVD players and encrypted discs of Oscar-designated screeners to all voting academy members.

Cinea, a unit of Dolby Laboratories, would supply the specially marked DVD players and discs — the latter playable only on that player.

Each player would be legally contracted to an Academy member.

An AMPAS spokesperson said the measure was met with approval from the board and has been forwarded to the studios and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to see “if everybody will be comfortable with it.”

The studios — not the Academy — send out the film screeners (typically in DVD format) and created controversy last year when the MPAA refused to authorize their release in an effort to combat piracy.

Legal efforts by several independent studios resulted in a stay on the ban, when a judge agreed the action favored the major studios.

As a result, specially marked VHS screeners were issued.

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