The Coalition of IndependentFilmmakers, IFP/Los Angeles and IFP/New York have dropped their antitrustlawsuit against the MPAA following the Hollywood lobby group's de factorevocation of the screener ban.

All parties have agreed todismiss the pending Antidote Int'l Films Inc et al v MPAA litigation in aconfidential settlement.

The case was originallyfiled last November in response to September's ban, which the plaintiffsalleged was a violation of antitrust laws that put independents at adisadvantage during the awards season and would have a damaging long-termimpact on future revenue streams.

Following a New YorkDistrict judge's preliminary injunction against the ban last December, it wasrevealed in (March 15) that, going forward, the MPAA would allow thestudios to decide individually whether they wanted to ban screeners,effectively ending the controversial policy.

"By obtaining a court orderto force the MPAA to lift the screener ban, the Coalition enabled individualdistributors to determine when and in what manner to distribute promotionalscreeners," the Coalition's Jeff Levy-Hinte, IFP/Los Angeles executive directorDawn Hudson and IFP/New York executive director Michelle Byrd said in a jointstatement.

"This season's awardsdemonstrate the importance of independent films and independent film-makershaving the opportunity for their work to be seen.

"We will continue to standready to act again, if necessary, to preserve a free and fair marketplace. Weurge the MPAA to engage in an ongoing process in which all constituencies ofthe industry are guaranteed a voice in the development of effective, fair, andlegal anti-piracy policies."

Among key plaintiffs andplayers fighting the independents' cause were Antidote International Films,GreeneStreet Films, Killer Films, This Is That Corporation, IFP/Los Angeles,This Is That's Ted Hope and Jeff Levy-Hinte of Antidote Films.

The lawsuit was handled andthe settlement was negotiated by Greg Curtner, Miller Canfield Paddock andStone on behalf of the Coalition of Independent Filmmakers, IFP/Los Angeles andIFP/New York.

The MPAA is staging ameeting with awards bodies, guilds and the press on Apr 12 to discuss theconsequences of the ban and thrash out anti-piracy issues.