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Piracy: More Oscar-contending films end up online

Programmer tracks movies nominated for an Academy Award and how many land on the Web. This year saw the highest percentage ever.

Hollywood has gotten better at delaying pirates from posting illegal copies of Oscar-nominated films on the Internet. The bad news is that eventually a higher percentage of nominated films end up on the Web.

Andy Baio, an independent journalist and programmer, says he has tracked how quickly pirated copies of Oscar-nominated films appear on the Web for the past six years. He logs whether the copies were recorded with handheld cameras or copied from DVDs.

A spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the trade representing the largest film studios declined to comment directly on Baio's research. She did say that typically 90 percent of pirated movies that appear online come from camcorders.

She suggested that camcorded copies are often of inferior viewing quality than those copied from DVDs.

That may be true, but of this year's 26 Oscar contenders, which were announced on Thursday, 24 are available online in DVD quality, Baio wrote on his site, Waxy.org. According to Baio, this was the highest percentage of Oscar contenders to appear online since he began tracking them.

Baio also determined through his research that members of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who vote on the Academy Awards, received viewing copies of 20 of the 26 nominated films. These copies are called screeners.

He says it took longer on average than in years past for pirated copies to be made from the screeners and then make their way online: six days.