Brits are “powerless” to stop film piracy

Noted at Yahoo! Movies UK & Ireland:

Movie pirates have escaped walking the plank – after a cinema chain boss admitted they are powerless to stop them.

Most pirate movies consist of grainy hand held footage achieved through using a camcorder in a cinema -costing the industry millions of pounds. However, there is no specific law in the UK that makes using a camcorder in a cinema illegal – unlike stricter laws in the US and Canada.

Tim Richards, boss of Vue Cinemas, told Sky News, “We catch these individuals and we can’t do anything with them. It’s extremely frustrating. We can’t even legally take the film out of their camera – we can’t take their camera away from them.

“We call the police and the police aren’t interested. So we ask (them) to leave and they leave typically with their cameras and sometimes their film intact.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan police insists that allowing cinema bosses to seize equipment could lead them open to abuse and violence. She said, “We have a duty to protect the cinema staff and giving them power to seize equipment could put them at risk.”

She added that their primary concern was tackling the trafficking and sale of illegal DVDs: “Nowadays the products are more likely to be ripped off somewhere digitally – we’re seeing less pirate films made using camcorders in cinemas.

That last point is the key one: the pirate versions typically found online these days are not created off camcorded-in-a-multiplex versions of hot flicks: they’re pristine digital prints, sometimes with onscreen indications (such as timecodes) that they’ve clearly come from postproduction houses or from within the studios themselves.

The OFCS does not condone film piracy, whatever its source. But it does note that of late, piracy does seem to be an internal matter for the studios, not a matter of misbehaving audiences.

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