MPAA Offers $500 Antipiracy Reward22 Jun, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel
The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners have launched an initiative that encourages theater employees to report movie piracy.
The Anti-Camcording Rewards Program will pay theater employees who catch individuals recording films with personal devices cash amounts up to $500.
According to industry estimates, many first-run films are camcorded during their initial theatrical screenings and then replicated for illegal DVD distribution as well as digitally on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
“Within hours after a film is illegally camcorded from a theater screen, a digital copy of the pirated film is already percolating around the Internet,” said John Malcolm, SVP and director of the MPAA's global antipiracy program. “In a matter of days, organized crime syndicates in Russia, Malaysia and elsewhere have turned those films into optical discs that are being sold illegally on street corners around the world. This program will help us stem that process at its very start.”
In April, Los Angeles police, working with the MPAA, arrested four men for possession of more than 5,000 allegedly pirated DVD movies and approximately $5,000 in reproduction equipment.
The four men were arrested in three separate searches after authorities received tips about pirated movies being sold on a street corner in the west valley area of L.A.
Among the reported pirated movies confiscated were Hellboy, The Punisher, The Passion of the Christ, and Man on Fire.
The arrests follow similar charges filed against two men arrested in early April on separate occasions illegally recording showings of The Passion of the Christ and The Alamo in Los Angeles theaters.
The MPAA said it confiscated 52 million pirated discs in 2003 and estimated that optical-disc piracy cost the entertainment industry $3.5 billion in lost revenue that year.