Innovative Artists sued over screener piracy leaks
Image/Photo Credit: Innovative Artists
A well respected Hollywood talent agency has been identified as the source of several screener leaks, which had led to the mass piracy of films such as 'Creed' and 'In the Heart of the Sea'.
An investigation led by major Hollywood studio Warner Bros. has identified, via digital watermarking technology, that the leaks originated from screeners sent to talent agency Innovative Artists. The agency, which represent clients including the likes of Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me), Alicia Witt (Twin Peaks) and used to represent The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons, apparently engaged in unauthorised sharing and distribution of the Academy screeners to persons inside and outside of the agency.
This has all come to light via a lawsuit filed by the rights holder of these leaked films, Warner Bros. Warner alleges that persons within Innovative Artists ripped the screener DVDs and then distributed it via the talent agency's own digital distribution platform. This then allowed these movies, "along with infringing copies of many other copyrighted movies", to be downloaded and streamed by people inside and outside of the agency.
Innovative Artists issued a statement addressing the lawsuit, expressing their surprise at the lawsuit, saying that the agency "fully cooperated with Warner Bros. from the first moment Warner Bros. informed Innovative that two award screener movies had been found on an Internet bit torrent site in December 2015."
Innovative also made note to mention that Warner Bros. should have been well aware that sharing screeners is commonplace within the industry. But Warner, in their legal filings, specifically notes that Innovative actions amounted to more than just the sharing of screeners, as DVD ripping software was also used to create digital copies of the screeners, for even easier sharing.
"Instead of forwarding the screeners directly to its client, Innovative Artists used illegal ripping software to bypass the technical measures that prevent access to and copying of the content on DVDs," writes Warners' attorney Kelly Klaus.
In their statement, Innovative also offering their sincerest apologies for the matter, and hoped that the matter can be resolved "on fair and reasonable terms as soon as possible".