California’s camcorder law, which came into effect on 1st January 2004, has netted its first brace of criminals.
One Mr Ruben Centero Moreno was caught taping “The Alamo” by a projectionist wearing night vision goggles (there – now you know who buys them), whilst Min Jae Joun was collared in a slightly more straight forward way: the record light on his camcorder attracted attention whilst attempting to pirate “The Passion of the Christ”.
We can only imagine that the later offender will be forgiven.
However, Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA told the Hollywood Reporter: that it would “send a clear signal such crimes will not be tolerated. In both cases, the LAPD’s fine work would not have occurred without the swift actions of the employees of Pacific Theatres.” Indeed, the MPAA has set up a telephone hotline so that cinema staff can report violations of the law.
We applaud the new law, but feel it will have a limited impact on preventing film piracy. Although it tackles the source technique of piracy, it will continue to be rife for one very tricky reason: Whilst it’s true that most pirated DVDs bought in pubs and street markets are from source material captured in a cinema using a camcorder, most of the capture work is not done in LA where this new law is in force. No, most of the capture work is done in the Far East, where there is no such law, and often the camera work is done with the knowledge of, and a kickback too, the cinema owner, who obviously isn’t going to turn his buddies in to the local law enforcement group.
Digital Lifestyles has noticed that police in the UK are taking a more informed and tougher stance on pirates selling illegal DVDs on the streets, and this will be more effective in removing the market, though not catching the criminals at the source.