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6 months in jail for illegal camcording in cinema; staff rewarded

Camcording films in cinema theaters is the primary source of counterfeit DVDs and film titles made available illegally on the Internet. Help from filmgoers and cinema staff is increasingly called upon to catch the marauders – with rewards.

In a landmark case in the UK, Emmanuel Nimley, a 22-year old graduate in Performing Arts from Thames Valley University was found guilty of recording films in a cinema and then uploading them to the internet has been sentenced to six months imprisonment.

A spate of three recordings (The Crazies, Alice in Wonderland and Green Zone) had been identified as coming from the Vue cinema in Harrow, North West London in February and March 2010. All recordings had been uploaded to the internet within 24 hours of the first UK theatrical showing.

In March, Nimley was spotted attempting to record the film The Bounty Hunter on an iPhone. Police were called in and arrested. He pleaded guilty to four charges of possession of a mobile phone for use in fraud, three charges of copying a film for use in fraud and three charges of breaching copyright by distributing a film. The court sentenced him to six months in prison.

This is the third conviction under the Fraud Act in the UK for illegally recording in a cinema and the first to receive a prison sentence.

A few days later, 12 employees of UK cinemas were presented with rewards totaling £4,000 at a ceremony at Paramount Pictures in Central London.

The rewards were given out to employees who successfully prevent an illegal recording of a film being made, following the guidelines put out by Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Film Distributors’ Association, with major cinema operators also matching each reward payout. In addition three £500 prizes for the quarterly prize draw on were handed out.

”A recording captured in a cinema is the primary source for illicit online files and pirate DVDs and cinema staff are on the front line of the fight; continuing to prevent such recordings in the UK,” said Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General.

In the US, three people involved in a camcordering operation have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from five months up to four years for their role in the ‘Burn Central’ DVD business.

Brad Newell plead guilty to copyright infringement and other charges related to the case earlier in 2010, and was sentenced to four years in prison. One of Newell’s business partners received a six-month sentence for his involvement, while another ‘Burn Central’ employee received a five-month jail sentence.

During a multi-agency investigation, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovered at least 300 copies of Clash of the Titans, along with the video camera that reportedly illegally recorded the movies.

Story filed 23.10.10

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