Despite what the MPAA claims, it’s not us consumers who need to be restrained by DRM, but their own people. This website demonstrates how movies are pirated by the movie companies and members of the Oscar committee.
Here are some key quotes:
For the last few years, the movie industry’s battles with Internet pirates offered an entertaining diversion during Oscar season. Their problem: they need to “leak” their films to Academy members for consideration, but don’t want those official leaks to fall into the hands of pirates. In 2003, the MPAA banned all screeners, causing a massive uproar from directors, actors, critics and indie studios. The plan was eventually scrapped in December 2003
In 2004, a company named Cinea spent $5 million distributing custom DVD players to Academy and BAFTA members with very mixed results. Lately, it seems the new strategy is to stop trying. Maybe the industry is finally realizing that the best way to get recognized is for people to see your movie, despite the risk of piracy. For example, Munich was very likely snubbed for a British Oscar nomination in 2005 because the screeners were late and defective. The best case study is Lionsgate’s promotion of Crash vs Disney’s Cinea-encrypted screeners:
In a way, Lionsgate’s strategy was the opposite of Disney’s. While the indie sent its film to as many voters as possible, upping the odds copies could be pirated, the Mouse House focused on minimizing piracy, with the result that at least 26% of Oscar voters didn’t watch its screeners.
The outcome: Crash shocked the world by winning Best Picture over the favored Brokeback Mountain, while Disney only got Best Makeup for The Chronicles of Narnia.
After the MPAA decided to ban all screeners in 2003, I started tracking the distribution of Oscar screeners online to see how effective their ban was. I found that screeners for all but one of the 22 nominated films were leaked. I followed up the following year, but took a break last year. So, how did they fare this year?
Check out the link above to see how they did for the 2007 Oscar season