- U.S. District Judge Michael B. Mukasey sided with the independent producers, granting a temporary restraining order against the ban, which is enforced by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Mukasey said he was swayed by testimony that showed awards are critical to the success of smaller films, which do not have the hefty advertising budget of larger studios.
“Plaintiffs have shown they are at risk of loss of revenue as a result of the screener ban,” the judge said.
Ted Hope, an independent producer, said the ruling was a victory for movie fans because it would allow smaller-budget pictures to get the acclaim they deserve, and therefore wider release.
….The ban was modified Oct. 23 to allow the 5,600 voters for the Academy Awards, the industry’s most important, to receive advance copies of movies up for awards in videotape form, which is more difficult to copy.
But independent producers said they were still harmed because the smaller awards, handed out in the fall and winter, are widely considered to affect which movies Oscar voters consider.
The 14 independent studios argued that the recent films, “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Gosford Park,” “In the Bedroom” and “The Pianist,” all lauded at the Oscars, were helped tremendously by receiving earlier, smaller awards. [AP]