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Warner Halts Retail Video Screeners

22 Jun, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In an effort to undercut movie piracy, Warner Home Video (WHV) today said it would cease supplying video retailers with pre-sale screeners of new theatrical releases.

“We're sensitive to the needs of our retailers and don't anticipate this new policy having adverse effects for their business or their ability to successfully market our products,” said Jeff Baker, SVP of domestic sales for WHV. “This measure is really aimed at providing another layer of defense against movie piracy for our products. This new policy will help protect our products from copyright infringement and is a step towards combating a grave threat to the motion picture industry as a whole.”

The Burbank, Calif.-based distributor said it might offer film highlights on its Web site.

A manager at Super Duper Video in Lake Forest, Calif., said the new policy would not alter her decision to purchase a title, which she said is primarily based on the title's box office performance, buzz appeal and trade awareness.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which yesterday announced a $500 cash reward to theater employees who catch individuals recording films, notify the police and stop the recording, estimated that more than $3.5 billion in sales was lost to piracy in 2003.

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