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The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) is addressing the increasing threat from camcording in UK cinemas by creating a new role of Theatrical Investigator. Reporting to Jim Angell, Director of Operations, the investigator will be tasked specifically with liaising with the UK cinema industry to help educate, prevent and protect against copyright theft from camcording and other forms of digital recording.
The post is being funded by the Film Distributors’ Association (‘FDA’), representing the UK film distribution companies, in recognition of a need to assist the legitimate management and fair protection of film copyright in the theatrical arena, where it is first exposed to audiences and where its black market value is at its greatest.
As increasing number of major movies are released simultaneously worldwide, the greater the threat from criminals seeking to profit from illegally recording in UK cinemas. The highest risk is in the first few days after a film’s release.
The investigator is a former police officer with ten years service and then a further 5 years experience working within a major media company in an investigative capacity. His UK-wide role encompasses awareness training for cinema staff, investigation of incidents and liaison with police.
Raymond Leinster, Director General of FACT said: “We are grateful for the support of the FDA in the creation of the post of Cinema Investigator. The investigator will provide the cinema exhibition sector with a valuable resource to enable them to be well informed and better able to prevent abuses of copyright. With evidence illustrating an increased vulnerability to camcording in UK cinemas we are aware of the need to be proactive and to ensure that we are assisting the industry to take preventative measures. Equally this new appointment will provide a dedicated investigative resource to tackle the emerging threat posed by camcording.”
Mark Batey, FDA Chief Executive added: “The UK cinema market is the third most valuable in the world with more than three million customers every week. It’s a great success story and we want audiences to continue enjoying films at their best. Film copyright has long been looted by opportunists and criminal networks as a source of cash. But today’s digital advances have a flip side that means films have never been more vulnerable to rip-off copying – especially the English language versions released in the UK. FDA is delighted to be sponsoring a dedicated investigator for the cinema industry. We believe the appointment is very timely and look forward to working with the investigator over the years ahead.”
John Wilkinson, Chief Executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association commented: “The excellent picture quality with sound to match makes the first showing of a film in UK cinemas a target for film thieves. The appointment of a dedicated cinema investigator will help cinema employees identify those few who wish to spoil the enjoyment of the vast majority visiting a cinema. Watching a film with other people in the environment in which it was intended to be viewed by the film maker is the best way to enjoy and appreciate it and nothing should be allowed to interrupt this.”