Hollywood's War on Video Pirates

Real-life swashbucklers are trying to rip off this summer's hits

For weeks Hollywood had been bracing for the attack. In May, Variety reported that video pirates were preparing an all-out assault on the summer's hottest film, Return of the Jedi. Lucasfilm Ltd., the producer, stepped up security by policing film labs, fastening film canisters with special metal seals, and using messengers to deliver prints around the U.S. The distributor, 20th Century-Fox, sent telegrams to 836 theater managers urging them to take "every possible security" measure against piracy.

Despite the extraordinary efforts, a print...

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