Veteran actor Carmine Caridi is being sued by film giants COLUMBIA and Warner BROS. after admitting to lending his screener copies of this year's OSCAR contenders to a friend who put them online.

The GODFATHER: PART III star, 70, told investigators he sent VHS copies of approximately 60 films per year to pal RUSSELL SPRAGUE who converted them onto the DVD format. Caridi insists he had no idea that Sprague would distribute the films via the internet and had sent them to him because he believed they were for the 51-year-old's personal entertainment.

However, furious bosses at Warner Bros. are asking for $150,000 (GBP88,235) each for copyright of The Last Samurai and Mystic River, meanwhile Columbia are demanding either actual damages or $150,000 (GBP88,235) infringement for movies SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE and Big Fish.

Last week (ends25JAN04), Illinois-based Sprague was arrested by police and charged with copyright infringement, Caridi has not been charged. The 20-year long member of the ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES, ARTS AND SCIENCES says he received no money for the leaked films and that Sprague returned his tapes to him after making copies.

29/01/2004 20:58