Pirated Copy of ‘Walter Mitty’ Surfaces Online with ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Watermark

Water Mitty world premiere New York

Executive producers of DeGeneres' talkshow say they are investigating how screener leaked online

A copy of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” that includes a watermark with “Ellen DeGeneres” showed up on file-sharing pirate networks this week.

A rep for 20th Century Fox, the film’s distributor, said the watermark appeared genuine, saying the studio created a copy for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last fall prior to star and director Ben Stiller’s appearance on her show.

The existence of the pirated copy of “Walter Mitty” with DeGeneres’ name was reported Thursday by Andy Baio, former CTO of Kickstarter, on his blog site Waxy. According to Baio, screeners of three other pics with Oscar ambitions — “Frozen,” “Her” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” — appeared Wednesday on piracy sites.

DeGeneres is hosting the 86th annual Academy Awards, which will take place March 2 and will be telecast by ABC. The Fox rep said the copy was definitely not an Oscar screener, as the studio forensically watermarks those copies differently.

Asked for comment, the executive producers of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” said they were not certain whether the copy in question was “leaked from the show or not,” but said that “we are doing everything we can to find out and to make sure it never happens again.”

“Our show is sent advanced screeners of movies, sitcoms, reality shows, CDs, etc. before guests appear on our show,” the show’s producers said. “We do everything we can to protect the content and in 11 seasons nothing has ever leaked online from our show.”

Copies of screeners have appeared online in the past, but it is unusual for pirated copies to include a watermark that identifies specific individuals.

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  1. sew longuenothanks says:

    y the ________is this connected 2 the great visual artistic presentation of ben and sean…life? she is not funny nor morally competent for presenting !

  2. Jwalsh says:

    That makes atleast one person that saw that $hitty movie

  3. I don’t think Ellen did this personaly. She probably loaned out her screener copy to someone who uploaded it to the net. And the water marks are only on a frame or two of the actual video, so unless your REALLY looking frame by frame, you won’t find the water mark. They can ID each and every copy with a water mark specific to the client, so don’t think your getting away with anything. Is your lively hood really worth a $10.00 movie ticket? Do you really NEED to see this movie NOW, rather than wait for it?

    • Mike D says:

      ‘And the water marks are only on a frame or two of the actual video, so unless your REALLY looking frame by frame, you won’t find the water mark’
      Yeah you will. They’ve been blurred out whenever they appear throughout the film but in the beginning and final scene it says ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ with the date for about 10 seconds each time.
      I also don’t know what watermarking has anything to do with the viewer though

      • Wunbderbarb says:

        Watermarks used for screeners exist in different forms. There are visible watermarks, the kind you are discussing and that can be easily blurred or even erased (inpaiting). There are also invisible watermarks that are added on every frame of the movie. They are not perceptible to human eyes but can be extracted, even in a camcorded copy. It is common practice for high value content such as academy screeners to individually and invisibly watermark each copy. Similarly, digital cinema uses invisible watermark to identify the projection room as well as the time.

    • asdfs says:

      But loaning is piracy according to MPAA.

  4. Soldier44 says:

    Ive had Lone Survivor in perfect dvd quality for over a week why is this news…

  5. Glenn C. says:

    Of course nothing will happen to Ellen over this, but if it was someone without as much clout/power then you can bet they would be in trouble. Bias.

    • Truth says:

      Not necessarily bias. It’s not like the video in question was sent to her home; in that case things would be different. It was sent to her show (business/company); so the show if responble.
      I still think heads ‘will roll’ (though no one may be fired unless they nail a specific individual). But I feel Ellen (& her people) takes this seriously. They will put some protocols in place to stop this from happening again or at least capture the culprit with PROOF.

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