Warner: Canada Source of Film Piracy

Warner Bros. announced this week it would no longer hold promotional screenings of movies in Canada, and all press screenings would take place in a private room. The move comes in response to increasing movie piracy in the country, which the studio blames on lax laws.

While China and Russia often thought as the largest sources of pirated content, Warner Bros. claims Canada is the real problem. The company says 70 percent of its films have been pirated in Canada over the last 18 months. Those illegal -- and often poor quality -- copies are then sold around the world.

"The newly enacted policy represents the studio's response to the lack of legislation in Canada to curtail the growing wave of camcorder-shot ("camcorded") films being trafficked around the world,” Warner Bros. said in a statement.

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"Despite incontrovertible evidence that film piracy has become a major economic and law enforcement issue, Canada has not adopted a federal law making camcording illegal or permitting the confiscation of equipment, and, as a result, has become the main source for most of the world's film piracy."

The studio said that within the first week of a screening, a Canadian copy usually surfaces on the Internet before spreading to other countries.

Warner Bros. upcoming film Oceans Thirteen will be affected by the rule change, as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Warner Independent Pictures films are also included in the screening ban.

"Piracy is the leading issue the international film industry struggles with everyday and content recorded in Canada is the first place to take action, as Canadian recorded content is distributed and viewed everywhere," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of Distribution for Warner Bros. International.

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