ben stillerAs any guild member receiving screeners via courier the past few weeks know, the studios and networks are vehement about their DVDs not ending up in the wrong hands or wrong places. Well, seems someone on Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show isn’t quite with the War On Piracy program. A copy of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty that began popping up online a few days ago has been traced back to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Producers on the syndicated talker are working with Mitty distributor Fox to investigate the matter but they are not sure if they are the source of the leak.  “Our show is sent advanced screeners of movies, mittysitcoms, reality shows, cds, etc. before guests appear on our show.  We do everything we can to protect the content and in 11 seasons nothing has ever leaked online from our show,” they said in a statement I was sent. “We’re not sure if this leaked from our show or not, but we are doing everything we can to find out and to make sure it never happens again.”

Kickstarter’s former CTO Andy Baio first noted the Ellen-screener leak connection on his blog yesterday. Fox confirms that the “Ellen DeGeneres 11/26/13″ watermark on the pic online seems genuine. The DVD was made for DeGeneres and her staff as background for her interview with the film’s star and director Ben Stiller that aired in early December. The pic itself came out on Christmas Day. Sources tell me the DVD was delivered to the show on November 27 and picked up a couple of days later. Somewhere in those couple of days someone uploaded it to the web or put in online storage to upload at a later date.

This is reminiscent of a couple of years ago when a copy of Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 showed up online watermark with the words “H. Stern.” As in the Mitty case, a screener was sent to The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM and somehow found its way online. In this case, I hope Ellen can find a joke in all this somewhere during this year’s Academy Awards. Hope it’s funny.

Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.