Originally created 01/16/04

Two copies of movies sent to Oscar voters offered on Internet



LOS ANGELES -- Two additional movies sent to Oscar voters have surfaced on the Internet, with a screener copy of "House of Sand and Fog" briefly up for sale on an auction site and "Cold Mountain" available for downloading, studios said.

Miramax said Wednesday it was looking into how an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screener copy of its Civil War epic "Cold Mountain" was posted on the Internet.

The actual videocassette copy of the grim drama "House of Sand and Fog" was up for sale on eBay before DreamWorks SKG contacted the site and asked that it be removed.

The Los Angeles Times reported that security features on the tape indicated that it belonged to Ivan Kruglak, an academy member and president of a wireless data communications company.

Kruglak told the newspaper he didn't know how a copy of his tape was posted for sale online, saying, "I firmly believe someone at the duplicating house made themselves a copy before the studio sent it to me."

Earlier in the week, the academy said copies of "Something's Gotta Give" and "The Last Samurai" had been posted online.

The Internet postings come after an anti-piracy campaign by the film industry, which has estimated that unauthorized movie copying costs it $3.5 billion a year. The 5,803 Academy members eligible to vote this year were required to sign forms promising to protect their screener tapes.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 27 and awards will presented Feb. 29.