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Monday, October 24, 2005
Hollywood Secures Oscar Screeners

In an new effort to combat piracy, The Walt Disney Studios will utilize an encryption technology from Cinea, a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, for 2005 DVD awards screeners.

The agreement was announced Monady by Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios; Jeff Miller, President, worldwide post production and operations; and Bill Jasper, president and chief executive officer, Dolby Laboratories.

Cinea's solution provides copy protection and piracy tracking for DVDs. It includes the S-VIEW DVD player and encryption technology to safeguard content. Disney will use the tecnnology starting from this year's Oscars and believes that it would solve the problem of leaked movies. Other studios may follow Disney's lead down the line, at least until one of the next-generation video formats with their more robust encryption schemes becomes mainstream.

In collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cinea has distributed the SV300 model of its S-VIEW DVD player to nearly 12,000 of the collective voting members. Recipients of the Cinea S-VIEW players need to install the player as part of their home entertainment system, as they would install a regular DVD player, and make a phone call or go online to register with Cinea.

Cinea encrypts each disc with a code unique to each member. The Cinea disc delivered to each member will play only on the Cinea S-VIEW DVD player registered by that member. A Cinea encrypted disc cannot be viewed on any other DVD player or computer.

Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, "Obviously, there is no substitute for seeing a movie on the big screen in a theater, and we strongly encourage everyone to experience our films in that way. With regard to home viewing, we have given the matter careful consideration, and have committed to using Cinea's encryption technology on award screeners this year. This process offers maximum protection for our films, while allowing key members of the Academy, BAFTA, and a few other select organizations the opportunity to view these contenders in the comfort of their own homes. Of equal importance, it protects legitimate recipients of these screeners against interception and theft of the DVDs. It is our hope that others will join us in this aggressive stand against piracy, and we believe that Cinea enables an important step in that direction."

The studios believe that piracy from screener copies is a dire threat to their business model. While the occasional leak of a screener copy on to BitTorrent has made big news in the past, the movie industry has much bigger problems than pre-Oscar film escapes. Box office receipts are down for a number of reasons, first and foremost becauseof the poor quality of the movies .

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