Screeners of movies, including North Country, up for Oscar consideration have already been pirated and are showing up online, according to an internet analyst.
American firm BayTSP claims a number of screener DVDs are being illegally distributed, including the Charlize Theron movie, despite being digitally watermarked to trace any rogue discs back to their owner.
BayTSP's MARK ISHIKAWA says, "It's common knowledge in the pirate community that screeners are watermarked."
Each year, advance DVD copies of likely Academy Award nominees are sent out to Oscar voters for their consideration.
The technology to limit screener piracy caught out The Godfather: PART II actor Carmine Caridi, who was fined $300,000 (GBP167,000) in November 2004 for sending screener tapes to a fan, who then made them available on the internet.