Cash rewards of thousands of pounds have been presented to 15 staff members from cinemas across the UK who intervened successfully to prevent illegal recordings of films including Gravity, Captain Phillips, Rush, One Direction: This Is Us, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and Monsters University.
The 15 vigilant staff members were active in 12 separate incidents in UK cinemas since April 2013. All incidents were reported to local police, who attended in every case, resulting in five arrests and nine police cautions. Two suspects remain on police bail.
The rewards scheme is part of a wide-ranging theatrical protection programme, funded by UK film distributors via Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) since 2006. It also provides vital extra resources for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to support cinema exhibitors’ staff training and an on-going supply of night vision devices to help cinema staff deter recording attempts in situ.
The programme continues to be highly effective, training and assisting cinema staff doing a difficult job and preventing criminal activity. Illegal recordings from cinemas remain the single biggest source of both counterfeit DVDs and unauthorised copies online. All it takes is one digital copy which can be duplicated and distributed swiftly at minimal cost.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added, “Cinema staff are the frontline in protecting films from being pirated and I am always pleased to be able to recognise their work. FACT’s strategy funded by the film distributors seeks to prevent the initial recording that seeds piracy globally. We continue to work together with UK cinema operators to support the success of the cinema experience and to allow continued investment by FACT’s members in exciting entertainment for all audiences.”
Mark Batey, FDA Chief Executive, said: “The UK is one of the world’s leading film markets, and the more secure the environment for releasing new titles, the wider the choice audiences are likely to enjoy. FDA thanks all our colleagues at FACT and in cinema exhibition for their vigilance and vital interventions.”
The film industry contributes to ‘UK plc’ in many ways including supporting 117,000 jobs, while films depicting the UK generate approximately 10% of the revenues from overseas tourism. Overall, the film industry contributes over £4.6 billion to UK GDP and more than £1.3 billion to the Exchequer according to independent research by Oxford Economics in 2012.
One of the world’s most important markets for film, the UK accounted for 7% of global cinema box-office receipts in 2012. This enduring success is underpinned by FDA/FACT’s content protection programme, which aims to make the UK as safe and secure an environment in which to release films as possible. Ultimately the sector can only be safeguarded through the co-operation and diligence of cinema staff on the front line and today the UK is one of the best protected countries.
15 cinema employees received awards for their actions
Police attended in all cases
Nine cautions in police custody
Two suspects on police bail