Cinema staff from across the UK were recognised and rewarded yesterday (5th July) for their work in disrupting and preventing film piracy.
The 17 vigilant staff members were rewarded at a special ceremony held at Twentieth Century Fox in London as part of a dedicated and extensive ‘Fight Film Theft’ programme operated nationwide by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and funded by the Film Distributors’ Association (FDA).
The staff were all awarded with a cash prize along with a certificate for spotting and tackling individuals who illegally record films in cinemas. Their efforts helped protect blockbusters including Deadpool, The Jungle Book and Angry Birds as well as several popular Bollywood films.
With 90% of pirated films sourced directly from cinemas around the world, the Fight Film Theft programme is a vital element in protecting the UK film industry. As part of the programme, cinema staff from across the country receive training from FACT to provide them with the skills and expertise to spot and disrupt illegal recording. When they identify and report a piracy incident they are eligible to receive an award of up to £500.
Cinema staff with FACT Director General Kieron Sharp
The employees rewarded represented cinemas circuits Cineworld, Empire, Showcase and Vue and collectively they represented 17 incidents, all of which were reported to the police.
Mark Batey, Chief Executive, Film Distributors’ Association, said: “With a bumper summer line-up full of exciting new releases to experience at the cinema, raising awareness of digital film theft, and empowering cinema staff, is a key priority to ensure the UK remains the most safe and secure environment in which to release movies.
“On behalf of UK distributors we would like to thank all of the awardees for their continued vigilance and commitment which has helped to safeguard so many great films.”
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added: “Illegal recording is still the source of more than 90% of all pirated films and so our Fight Film Theft programme with the FDA, is essential to protecting new releases and preventing criminal activity.”
“Our creative industries now account for more than 1.8 million jobs and by supporting cinema staff to identify and take action on those stealing creative content, we not only are protecting the picture on the big screen, but the hundreds of people working behind it to put it there.”
Alongside the reward programme, FDA also provides vital extra resources for FACT to support cinema staff training and online scanning, as well as an on-going supply of night vision devices to help staff deter recording attempts in situ. Film theft from cinemas worldwide remains the single biggest source of both illegal copies online and counterfeit DVDs, and the programme continues to be highly effective, training and assisting UK cinema staff in preventing infringement and loss.