Film Pirate Sentenced | Convicted of Recording and Uploading

Matthew Lisett aged 32 years from Fovant, Salisbury was given a two year conditional discharge at Salisbury Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday 16th November 2011) for film piracy.

Following a joint operation between the Wiltshire Police Fraud Team which is based at Melksham, and FACT( Federation Against Copyright Theft), Lisett pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, in Relation to Film Piracy Offences committed by him in 2010.

Lisett pleaded guilty to using camera equipment concealed under his clothing at the Salisbury Odeon Cinema, to make illegal recordings of four films during their preview screenings. He then sold some of these illegal copies to another individual online, for a total of £1,798.00.

The four films he recorded in the cinema and sold included: ‘Resident Evil 3D’, ‘Devil’, and ‘Going the Distance’. Lisett also pleaded guilty to obtaining illegal copies of another three films, and uploading them to the Internet, prior to their UK release dates. He also pleaded guilty to possessing modified camera equipment, which allowed him to film secretly in the cinema.

At the time of his arrest officers seized a large amount of computer and camera equipment from his address and an order has been made for the destruction of the equipment used.

Criminal Justice Investigator, Simon Thomas, from the Wiltshire Police Fraud Investigation Team said:

“Film Piracy has a significant financial loss to the film and cinema industry, which many people rely on for employment.

Members of the public pay for themselves and their families to go to the Cinema, this operation was aimed at those who sit next to them, and illegally record and sell the footage for their own personal gain.

Wiltshire Police will continue to work with FACT and take all complaints of fraud seriously.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said:

“This conviction was the result of a painstaking investigation by FACT and Wiltshire Police along with Odeon that identified the source of a pirated copies of films that had been recorded by Lisett and uploaded to the internet for downloading, sharing and streaming by millions of people globally.

The fact that he was also receiving payment for those recordings is further proof that piracy at this level is an organised criminal activity, with profit as a motive.

I would like to commend Wiltshire Police and Odeon for their work in bringing this case to court. This is the fifth conviction in the UK for this type of criminal activity and I am sure it will serve as a warning to others thinking of attempting to record films in UK cinemas.

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