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UPDATED: The top piracy watchdog at Summit Entertainment called on Hollywood to stop using screeners, the DVDs that are used in postproduction.
that are popular this time of year as studios try to court Oscar voters
“It’s something we have to get away from,” said Kaye Cooper Mead, executive vice president of worldwide distribution services at Summit, the indie studio behind The Hurt Locker, which won multiple Oscars including the award for best picture, and the Twilight franchise. “Those screeners are a source of leaks, and when they leak, it’s a very serious leak because it’s a much better copy than the pirated ones.”
Mead made her comments Wednesday during a panel discussion at the Content Protection Summit, a Los Angeles-based industry conference devoted to discussing best practices for cracking down on piracy.
Piracy is a particularly sore subject for Summit. In a separate lawsuit in May, producers for the film and the U.S. Copyright Group took the drastic measure of suing thousands of individuals who illegally downloaded Locker. The film may have done better at the boxoffice were it not for the many who saw it for free online.
“we’re going to have to agree to be inconvenienced,” said Mead.
Mead also called on more information-sharing among the studios with regard to combating piracy, noting that Summit was able to counteract an unspecified piracy outbreak because of intelligence offered by another studio that had experienced a leak at the same source.
“Don’t close ranks when the problems happen,” said Mead. “When that investigation is over, it’s time to speak up and say where it happened.”
Industry executives at the summit discussed a wide range of methods for fighting illegal downloads throughout the day. Mead herself recommended everything from beginning to educate children as young as 6 years old of the immorality of piracy to making examples of the wrongdoers who get caught.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Summit clarified that when Mead referred to “screeners” in her speech, she was referring strictly to those used in the postproduction process and not those circulated during Oscar season to Academy voters.