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Ellen Degeneres, or someone close to Degeneres or The Ellen Degeneres Show, broke the number one rule of screener season: only let screeners be borrowed by close friends, their friends, and then maybe their friends, but whatever you do, don't let them get into the hands of strangers who will upload them to the internet.
Thanks to a weak link in the borrowing chain, a pirated copy of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty bearing an "Ellen Degeneres" watermark began showing up on file-sharing sites this week. First reported by the website Waxy on Thursday, the movie's watermark shows that the screener was created on November 26, 2013.
A rep for 20th Century Fox, the film's distributor, confirmed to Variety that the watermark appears genuine and that the studio created a copy of the film for The Ellen Degeneres Show prior to Ben Stiller's December 4 appearance. The Fox rep also told Variety that the copy is not an Oscar screener as the studio watermarks those copies differently.
While Ellen's executive producers are claiming they're unsure whether the copy was "leaked from the show or not," they are "doing everything [they] can to find out and to make sure it never happens again."