A new contract could cost newspapers and other media operations £100,000 - if they do not meet an astonishing string of DVD review security demands.
The document from Warner Bros Entertainment UK was today described as "disgusting" and "outrageous by a Birmingham-based legal expert.
It includes sections which would allow Warner to insist on boosted security measures, including additional staff, as well allowing it to carry out a site survey to check the arrangements.
And if security obligations were breached, Warner says it would suffer damages but the value would be hard to measure -it puts the figure "as a reasonable estimate" at £100,000.
Running to over 1,000 words with eight hefty clauses, the agreement was draughted in a bid to tackle the growing threat from DVD piracy.
It could have an impact on newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and internet sites.
Paul Haswell, media lawyer at Wragges in Birmingham, said copying downloading was a growing problem major home entertainments companies faced.
But he said of the document: "It's outrageous and to be honest I think it is disgusting.
"By the letter of this, if you signed it, an organisation would liable to pay £100,000 if the DVD was not kept in a recommended secure area.
"So you could leave it in a drawer, perhaps perfectly safely, and you could be liable."
He said if it came to legal action it may be possible to claim certain clauses were "ridiculous" but the courts were likely to say "you signed it, it's binding, so pay up."
Mr Haswell said: "Frankly, I don't think any pirate would give a damn about this. It will hardly address the problem and in effect, they are getting heavy-handed with the people who actually help them sell the DVDs."
A copy of the security agreement which came to The Birmingham Post stated the reviewing company or "media partner" must ensure the copy is "stored/vaulted in Motion Picture Association ((MPA)) and/or Warner approved secure environments when not in use."
The partner is asked to agree to establishing and employing security procedures sufficient to prevent any theft or unauthorized access, copy-ing, exhibition, transmission or removal.
And the partner agrees, in consultation with Warner, to implement "such additional security measures and policies (including utilizing additional staff) as Warner may require to protect Warner Content from time to time"
The partner also agrees that Warner and the MAP have the right, during business hours, "to conduct a security site survey or otherwise inspect Media Partner's facilities to confirm compliance with such security requirements."
The contract goes on to say that Warner would suffer damages if any of the security obligations were breached. ..SUPL: