A federal judge has ruled that the MPAA’s ban on screener tapes for Academy voters violates anti-trust laws. The MPAA had banned the screeners due to piracy concerns, but independent studios viewed the ban as an underhanded way of keeping their films from reaching Academy voters.
The fact is that piracy will still happen, even with screeners, but the problem the movie studios face isn’t piracy – it’s a series of soulless mass-produced crapfests posing as films. If I’m going to shell out a sawbuck for tickets, gas, and overpriced popcorn, the very least I expect is a good story. Unfortunately, that’s a rare thing in Hollywood today. Independent films are rapidly becoming the last bastion of true quality filmmaking, and an action that harms the ability of independent filmmakers to compete in the Oscar race over the MPAA cabal is an action that would seem to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.
I’m not sure this case will stand in court, but it does seem like the judge made the right decision by issuing the injunction until the issue can be settled. It’s not like the Pirates of the Internet don’t already have their pirated copy of The Pirates of the Carribean as it is.