Two Arrested Under Anti-Piracy Camcorder Law

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.

The Hollywood Reporter

The Alamo – 6.1 stars, and that’s on IMDB, so subtract at least 5

The Passion of the Christ – 7.4

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?