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.
The Federation Against Copyright Theft (‘FACT’) operates a training, prevention and reward scheme for UK cinemas funded and supported by Film Distributors’ Association (‘FDA’).
FACT works closely with cinema operators to ensure that staff are trained to detect and prevent recordings, as well as assisting in raising awareness with police on this issue so they are able to assist when called to an incident. Night vision devices supplied by FDA form part of the best practice deterrence, as digital recording equipment is not easy to spot.
The FACT/FDA programme has engaged the support and co-operation 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 most secure environments for releasing movies.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said that the actions of those present today had prevented the recording of films and that those recordings would then have been uploaded to the internet and made available to millions of people globally, harming the livelihoods of industry employees as well as the prospects of the films affected.
Mark Batey, FDA Chief Executive, said: “FDA congratulates the cinema staff receiving their due rewards today, and thanks them for their vigilance at the sharp end of the business. The better protected a release territory is, the more likely it is to attract innovation and further new content – so the work of our partners at FACT and colleagues across exhibition is important and appreciated.”
14 cinema employees received awards for their actions.
All 12 incidents were reported to the police.
Four incidents led to arrests
Three led to formal cautions in police custody
One led to an instant fine by the police
Three awards were presented to winners of a quiz on www.fightfilmtheft.org.uk
At a specially-convened ceremony at Warner Bros, London, each received a cheque for their part in deterring attempted recordings at their cinema.
Awards were presented to:
Empire Slough - Salimah Azim Adatia
Empire Slough - Muhammad Imran Wattoo
Cineworld Aberdeen Queen’s Link - Spencer Owen
Vue North Finchley - Rachel Hewer
Odeon Bournemouth - Destiny Okoh
Empire Newcastle - Victoria Landale
Cineworld Leigh - Stephanie Mortimore
Cineworld Leigh - Kevin King
Cineworld Wandsworth - Parthiban Subburaj
Cineworld Wandsworth - Siddharthayappan Rajkumar
Vue Wood Green - Grishma Bam
Empire Newcastle - Danielle Carver
Odeon Manchester - Richard Brammer
Odeon Manchester - Paul Bannister
Cineworld Weymouth - Gemma Humphreys
Cineworld Boldon - Paul Whale
Odeon Blackpool - Rebecca Cartwright
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 UK cinema staff involved in the successful apprehension of film thieves.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said: "The FACT/FDA reward scheme is now in its fifth year and has paid out many thousands of pounds to cinema staff who have worked diligently to prevent illegal recordings.
"Those present today have come from across the UK, showing that the threat is widespread but that proactive engagement from those working in cinemas is having a major impact. I am delighted to be able to acknowledge and reward their achievements."
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