Screener Abuse

What Are Screening Copies?

A "screener" is a promotional preview videocassette or DVD of a film provided by a film company or its distributor without charge to video retailers prior to its street date. 

But is made available under strict conditions. It remains the property of the film company and must be returned on demand. It may not be sold, rented, loaned to consumers, or otherwise transferred or disposed of. Video retailers are well aware of these conditions which are reproduced on the face and/or spine labels of videocassettes and DVD disc labels together with a warning on the program material. This warning encourages consumers to contact the Piracy Hotline when a consumer rents, purchases or is provided with a screener copy.

Types Of Screener Abuse

1.  Retailers renting screeners before or after street date release (the strict conditions under which screeners are provided remain in effect after the home video release and thereafter); 

2.  Selling of screeners by retailers, flea market vendors or second-hand dealers, etc.;

3.  Retailers "loaning" screeners to consumers;

4.  Retailers providing "special offers" to consumers such as "rent 2 regular titles and get 1 screener on loan without charge"; 

5.  Retailers not properly monitoring screeners such as making them available to staff members "without question".

Who Suffers As A Result Of Screener Abuse?

1.  Honest retailers/competitors who do not abuse their screener privileges (regular customers have been known to switch to a retailer who provides screeners particularly in advance of official street dates);

2.  Consumers who rightfully believe that they are being ripped off by being charged for something that was not only free to the retailer but prohibited from rental or sale;

3.  The film company and/or copyright owner which is deprived of sales and other revenues;

4.  Tape and DVD duplicators, wholesalers and distributors whose businesses are directly affected.

Industry Sanctions

The abuse of screener privileges is of serious concern to the film studios, video and DVD wholesalers and retailers alike.

The film companies and their representatives vigorously enforce the conditions under which screeners are provided to video retailers. Any abuse of screener privileges will result in their immediate loss of privileges from all studios and distributors, as all film companies, distributors and sales reps are immediately notified. In addition, video retailers who abuse screener privileges will find that their violations have been widely publicized within the industry and the retail trade.


FrancaisAnti-PiracyNews ArticlesContact UsBrochuresLinksReport Piracy

© Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA), 2006. All rights reserved.