These discs are often given out to awards voters “for their consideration” and are supposed to be handled extremely securely so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Nevertheless, every year screeners end up on torrent sites, much to the disappointment of movie companies.
Two titles that leaked back in 2015 were Creed and In the Heart of the Sea but their route to the Internet was a particularly unusual one. After obtaining the discs legally on behalf of its clients, talent agency Innovative Artists used ripping software to copy the movies to its own digital distribution platform.
Quite clearly its security was lacking, as notorious pirate group Hive-CM8 obtained copies of the movies and dumped them online. Both were watermarked, however, which allowed content security company Deluxe Entertainment Services to trace the copies back to Innovative Artists.
In response, Warner Bros. filed a lawsuit against the company last October. Warner pulled no punches, accusing Innovative Artists of using illegal software to circumvent the protection on the discs before placing them on an illegal distribution platform.
The agency publicly apologized for its actions but added that it was surprised by the lawsuit. It had cooperated with Warner right from the beginning in an effort to put things right, so the legal action came out of the blue.
Now, however, the dispute appears to be have been sorted out. According to information received by THR, Warner Bros. and Innovative Artists have come to some kind of settlement agreement.
No court documents have yet been filed to indicate that a settlement has been reached. That being said, it’s rare for such agreements to be made fully public so any terms could remain confidential, even when the notice of dismissal appears. THR says it contacted both parties for comment but neither side provided any information.
Meanwhile, Hive-CM8 have continued releasing copies of leaked DVD screeners over the past several weeks, showing that when one route of supply closes, another one opens.