Each year the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) provides its 5,000 members with screener DVDs of the movies up for nomination. Thanks to region coding
, an early attempt to keep DVDs free from unauthorized distribution, Steven Spielberg's Munich won't be in the competition
-- all the screeners were accidentally coded for North American players, which won't work on European machines. Region coding doesn't keep DVDs from being copied, but was meant to control the availability of films in the world market (and keep cheaper import DVDs
from killing the sales of new releases). Too bad BAFTA or Dreamworks didn't know about this program
that strips off all copy-protection from DVDs, including region coding-- they could have made a few thousand copies and Spielberg might have won.