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.
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.
Pirated Copy of 'Walter Mitty' Surfaces Online with 'Ellen DeGeneres' Watermark
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