Thefate of a second Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences member could hangin the balance as investigations continued yesterday into the appearance of anonline pirate copy of The Last Samurai.

WarnerBros alerted the Academy on Tuesday (13) and warned of harsh recrimination,however the provenance of the pirate version and the owner of the screener tapethat may have spawned it remained unclear.

Thisis the second time in days that a pirate copy of a major studio awardscontender has turned up online after a downloadable version of Sony's Something'sGotta Give appeared on the internet last week.

"Thisis a very serious matter and we intend to enforce our copyrights to the fullestextent of the law," Warner Bros spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti said in astatement.

Astatement issued by Academy president Frank Pierson read: "We areextremely disappointed that members of the Academy have been identified aspossible sources of pirated motion pictures.

"Wehad expected that our members who signed pledges to safeguard their screenercopies would be as good as their word.

"Ifit turns out that we have a few members who are willing to jeopardise not onlytheir membership, but the future ability of other members to receive screeners,obviously we are prepared to follow through on our promise to remove them fromthe Academy roster.

"However,we will not apply sanctions without due process. We will give these members anopportunity to explain how their screeners got into the hands of pirates, andeach investigation may take a certain amount of time.

Electronicwatermarking on Sony's screener copy of Something's Gotta Give led tothe door of Academy member Carmine Caridi. The 69-year-old has hired a lawyerand has not issued an official statement.

Thisis the first time in more than a month that the issue of piracy has reared itsugly head following a New York judge's decision on Dec 5 to overturn the MotionPicture Association of America's notorious screener ban.