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Screener copies of movies under consideration for the Academy Awards have been making very illegal debuts online, as a tracking company finds a few of them making the rounds on the Internet.

People who get to vote on movies that could be potential Oscar winners haven’t kept a tight grip on their copies of the DVDs. Digital tracking firm BayTSP, long known for its role in helping the government enforce the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, has found films like Charlize Theron-vehicle “North Country” online.

A TopTechNews report said that watermarks placed on those screeners, which are advance copies of a movie, enable them to be found. Peer to peer networks have been the place where most illegal film sharing takes place.

The report was careful not to blame the screener recipients directly, instead citing Yankee Group analyst Adi Kishore as saying an unauthorized person might see the screener DVD sitting on a desk and make a copy of it.

Last year, copies of “The Last Samurai” and “Mystic River” were among those Oscar nominees placed online, leading to the arrest and prosecution of two men.

The next Oscar nominees will be announced on January 31, 2006, with the awards show airing after that on March 6th.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

The Oscars Now Playing Online
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