The MPAA Caves (Sort Of) On Screener Ban

from the just-a-bit dept

Oliver Wendell Jones writes “This article at E! Online News states that they are getting ready to overturn the ban on screener DVDs and have reached a compromise on who will still be able to receive screeners. It looks like they’re leaving out a lot of people who benefited from them before, but it probably still won’t have any effect on movie piracy in the long run.” This sounds similar to earlier rumors of an overturn. They say that screeners will still go out to Academy Award voters, but that’s it. They’re going to try to keep a much tighter lid on the screener copies, which, as mentioned above will have little to no effect on movies showing up online.

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Comments on “The MPAA Caves (Sort Of) On Screener Ban”

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Matt says:

nail that mole

if people are just copying DVDs straight out onto the web, can’t they embed a unique code in each of the preview DVDs to find out where the leaks are happening? If the pirate wants to go through the arduous process of filming a TV screen to get around this, then couldn’t they be nailed by placing a small piece of text in one of the frames/scenes that was digitally modified per release CD too?

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: nail that mole

DVD screeners aren’t copied directly to the web. The video files are ripped from the DVD and then compressed to a much smaller file format like DivX or XviD. You can reduce a 2 hour DVD video from 7+ GB down to 700 MB or so, if you’re willing to give up subtitles, alternate audio tracks, menus, bonus features, etc.

These smaller files are much easier to share and would not contain any ‘unique codes’ or other digital information unless it’s contained within the video image or audio files themselves.

I’ve seen several screeners recently (Pirates of the Carribean is one example, ironically enough) that has a small blurred area of the screen which is most likely covering up a serial number or some other identifying mark.

Once a determined pirate downloads a compressed video file, they can either play it back directly on their PC, or through the use of some freely available software, convert it back to mpeg-2 video format, re-encode it to .VOB files for a DVD and burn it to DVD-/+R(W). It won’t be as good as the original DVD but it’s significantly better than a VHS copy from the local Blockbuster.

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