Twitter Ban Hits Hollywood

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It appears that DreamWorks Animation might be trying to mute its movie stars of the upcoming Shrek sequel, or at least make it difficult for them to say anything about the upcoming movie production. According to Mashable, actors Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers reportly signed a contract that has a clause forbidding confidentiality breaches on interactive media such as Facebook or Twitter.


At DreamWorks (not DreamWorks Animation, which is a separate studio), a standard contract asks movie production employees not to give away any information about a project before the studio has had time to send out a press release on the project. After that, they can use social media or any other means to talk about the project, said Chip Sullivan, head of publicity at DreamWorks, who I talked with today by phone.


"We just want to make sure all the contracts are signed before information is released," Sullivan said.


This comes after an extensive effort by major league sports, including the NHL, NFL and NBA, to prevent athletes and other sports officials from using Twitteror Facebook up to two hours before and after a game. Those policies were implemented mainly to keep rogue players from slacking on the sidelines and media outlets from supplementing coverage from the official league television broadcast.


An article in the Hollywood Reporter reveals that Disney has a clause forbidding confidentiality breaches via "interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog."


Hollywood execs have always been nervous about production leaks revealing an over-budget movie, the firing of a director or a key plot detail. But the move to ban social media is a bit more surprising. After all, don't movie studios want all the free publicity they can muster? I doubt actors and actresses are wanting to spoil movies for their audiences by revealing key details of a movie's plot.


Banning Twitter isn't going to prevent leaks. It will just give Hollywood execs some false peace of mind.


Here are sample social-networking policies housed in the Knowledge Network.


Follow Patrick Avery on Twitter. @ITBEKnowledge