HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The Motion Picture Association of America says it will not lift its ban on distributing videocassette and DVD copies of movies for the film awards season.
A spokesman for MPAA President Jack Valenti issued a statement in response to widespread criticism of the decision: "Jack Valenti has had conversations with individuals and several groups on the subject of the new screener policy. He welcomes the exchange of thoughts and ideas on the critical issue of combating piracy. That said, the screener policy remains as it was originally announced."
An open letter signed by more than 140 directors was published Friday in Variety. The letter, signed by such high-profile industry names as Jonathan Demme, Nora Ephron, Jodie Foster and Martin Scorsese, argues the "MPAA decision to ban screeners irreparably damages the chances" of smaller, creative risk-taking films.
The Los Angeles Times said the letter also hints at possible defiance of the ban, which is voluntary: "It has been said that we in the film industry are honor-bound to go along with this ban. We believe that as filmmakers, we are honor-bound to oppose it. We ask that the MPAA repeal its decision immediately."