In the MPAA’s updated “Best Practices to Prevent Film Theft” guide for movie theaters, the agency recommends that theater owners prohibit the use of any equipment that can record audio, video or take photographers, including, presumably camera phones.
“The MPAA recommends that theaters adopt a Zero Tolerance policy that prohibits the video or audio recording and the taking of photographs of any portion of a movie,” the MPAA states in the updated guide, which is available here.
Theater employees are reminded that pirates can hide small cameras in all sorts of places, including candy boxes or a beverage container. “Movie thieves are very ingenious when it comes to concealing cameras. It may be as simple as placing a coat or hat over the camera, or as innovative as a specially designed concealment device (e.g., a small camera built into eyeglass frames or a camera built into the lid of a beverage container).”
If a theater employee suspects that an audience member is pirating a movie, they should contact the police immediately.
“Theater managers should immediately alert law enforcement authorities whenever they suspect prohibited activity is taking place. Do not assume that a cell phone or digital camera is being used to take still photographs and not a full-length video recording.”
According to the MPAA’s web site, “Approximately ninety percent of newly released movies that are pirated can be traced to thieves who use a digital recording device in a movie theater to literally steal the image and/or sound off the screen. Camcorder theft is one of the biggest problems facing the film industry. All it takes is one camcorder copy to trigger the mass reproduction and distribution of millions of illegal Internet downloads and bootlegs in global street markets just hours after a film’s release and well before it becomes available for legal rental or purchase from legitimate suppliers.”
Separately, Steven Fabrizio has been named senior exec VP and global general counsel for the MPAA. Previously, Fabrizio served as the agency’s outside counsel in copyright and content protection issues. Fabrizio succeeds Henry Hoberman, who left the MPAA in September. Fabrizio will oversee all legal, content protection and rights management programs for the MPAA.