UK Cinema Staff Rewarded For Preventing Piracy

11 employees from cinemas across the UK have been presented with awards totalling £7,000 for their efforts in preventing illegal recordings (so called ‘camcordings’) taking place.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) and the Film Distributors’ Association (‘FDA’) operate a training, prevention and reward scheme for all UK cinemas. Illegal recordings of films are the primary source for pirate copies worldwide – recordings are uploaded to the internet and made available within hours to millions of people. Film piracy in the UK alone costs legitimate businesses over half a billion pounds a year and directly threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of people who work across the film sector.

FACT works closely with cinema operators to ensure that staff are trained to detect and prevent such recordings, as well as assisting in raising awareness with police on this issue so they are able to assist when called to an incident.
FACT/FDA programme has engaged the support of exhibitors UK-wide. It has achieved great success in reducing the number of recordings taken from UK cinemas, making the UK one of the best protected countries.

Awards summary
• 11 cinema employees are due to receive awards for their actions
• All the incidents were reported to the police
• 5 incidents led to arrests (6 people arrested)
• 3 led to formal cautions in police custody
• 1 led to a landmark first ‘camcording’ conviction in Scotland in July 2011
• 1 is still on bail and pending further action by police
• A first-ever reward is being made to an employee (chief projectionist) from an Independent Cinema – The Regent at Leven, Fife.

At a specially-convened ceremony at Paramount Pictures, London, each received a cheque for several hundred pounds for their part in thwarting attempts to record films at their cinema.

All present received a warm welcome and congratulations from FDA Chief Executive Mark Batey who thanked all the award recipients for their vigilance and use of night vision devices, especially when digital recording devices are not easy to spot.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said that no-one should be in any doubt about the increasing sophistication of those trying to record films, and the increasing difficulty that detecting them presented to cinema staff. The success of those present was therefore particularly worth celebrating, he said, adding:
“These rewards prove the ongoing commitment from everyone working in the film sector to combat piracy. A recording captured in a cinema is the primary source for illicit online files and pirate DVDs and cinema staff are on the front line of the fight; continuing to prevent such recordings in the UK. I am delighted to be able to acknowledge and reward their achievements.”

Awards were presented to:
Richard Rhodes, Odeon Preston
Rebecca Ashton, Odeon Rochdale
Daniel McGrath, Empire Bishops Stortford
Solitaire Bascombe-Short, Cineworld Bexleyheath
Charles Ellis, Regent Leven Fife
Fayez Shuray, Odeon Rochdale
Theo Griffiths, Odeon Birmingham
Farooq Alamgir, Cineworld Ilford
Richard Ricketts, Cineworld Wood Green
Vickie Garner, Junction Goole
Mike Wiles, Cineworld Renfrew St

Each individual receiving a reward – in many cases matched by a similar amount from their employing company – did so as a result of the FDA-funded scheme available to any member of cinema staff involved in the successful apprehension of film thieves.

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