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10.27.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Most movie piracy comes from within motion picture industry

A study by AT&T Labs has found that 77 percent of all popular movies being illegally traded over the Internet initially came from people who work within the movie industry.

The report found numerous weak links where security is lax throughout the motion picture production-distribution pipeline. In particular, it cited such weak spots as audio and visual editing rooms, outside effects houses and outsourced postproduction.

Researchers said that once films are finished, marketing and distribution offer other opportunities for insiders to leak films. “The sheer number of people involved at this stage considerably complicated content security,” the report said. “Many studio employees have access to the final version.”

The study arrives as the film industry is embroiled in a controversy over a ban on video “screeners” used for awards competition. “The data does show that the screener copies are contributing to Internet piracy,” Patrick McDaniel, a researcher at AT&T Labs, told the Hollywood Reporter. “But it’s important to know that the ban is not going to solve the whole problem, and we have no way of knowing how much it will help.”

For more information visit www.research.att.com.

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