First The Dark Knight gets all but ignored at the Golden Globes, and now this! Members of critics' groups and other organizations have been getting copies of the new Dark Knight DVD as Warner Bros. hopes to boost its Oscar and end-of-the-year top-10-list chances. But members of the Writers Guild of America have noted that their copies have been altered: The words "A Christopher Nolan Film" on the front and back of the case have been blacked out with a marker.

Defamer has the scoop on it, having noticed it on their own copy and then hearing it mentioned by someone else, too. Kyle Buchanan writes: "We called Warner Bros. to find out [what was going on], and a helpful publicist sighed. 'You must be WGA,' she said. 'It's because the guild won't accept a possessory credit for a director.'"

See, the WGA doesn't like it when movies say "A film by Christopher Nolan" or "A Christopher Nolan film." The WGA figures those credits make it sound like the director made the film all by himself, thus detracting from the invaluable work done by others -- like, say, for example, the writers. The WGA prefers a simple "Directed by Christopher Nolan." So apparently, when a DVD is being sent to WGA members, someone at Warner Bros. has to black out the offensive credit, lest the recipients be offended and ... what? Refuse to consider the film out of spite?

It's not clear from Defamer's report whether the WGA asked Warner Bros. to do this or whether Warner Bros. did it preemptively to avoid complaints. Either way, it seems to me that no matter what your position is on the "possessory credit" issue (and I tend to sympathize with the writers), this was a silly thing to do. I know the battle between writers and directors has been raging for decades, though; here's an interesting old Hollywood Reporter article about it, for further reading.