The MPAA-backed Federation Against Copyright Theft is well known for its anti-piracy actions around the UK, tracking down alleged movie pirates with the help of the police and hauling them, if at all possible, through the court system.
What remains remarkable about FACT operations is how they are able to persuade the police to invest significant resources towards detaining individuals for non-violent crimes. This week witnessed yet another example of that ability.
Five undercover cars containing 10 police officers and officers from the Federation Against Copyright Theft arrived at a property in the West Midlands at 07:30 Thursday morning.
The person they were looking for no longer lived at the address but in the space of 15 minutes three cars, four detectives and two FACT officers had made it to the correct location.
Armed with an emergency search warrant issued out of hours by a judge, police and FACT officers entered the suspect’s home.
“This morning I was arrested at my home under suspicion of recording and distributing Fast and Furious 6 and a few other titles,” the arrested man told TorrentFreak.
After seizing numerous items including three servers, a desktop computer, blank hard drives and blank media, police detained the 24-year-old and transported him to a nearby police station. Despite the ‘emergency’ nature of the raid, no movie recording equipment was found.
“At the police station I was interviewed by the police together with FACT (Federation Against Copyright and Theft). During questioning they asked me about Fast and Furious 6, where I obtained a copy from and if I was the one who went and recorded it at the cinema.”
Despite police involvement, as in previous cases it appears they were only present in order to gain access to the victim’s property, sit on the sidelines taking notes, and for their powers when it comes to presenting crimes for prosecution.
“I was detained for 3 hrs 12 minutes, out of that I was questioned for approximately 40 minutes. One police officer and two FACT officers conducted the interview. The police officer sat back and let FACT do all the questioning, so FACT were running the show,” the man reports.
TorrentFreak has seen copies of the issued bail sheets. Surprisingly they do not state any law under which the man was arrested, instead referring only to “Miscellaneous Offense”, apparently due to the police being unclear on what to write down.
“The custody officer could not find the relevant charge, however I remember them saying it came under Section 17 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,” the man explains.
As can be seen from the snapshot of bail sheet shown below, conditions have been attached.
“Although I have been released on police bail until September 23rd I have been banned from entering any cinema in England and Wales, while the investigation is being carried out,” the arrested man concludes.
Earlier this year FACT revealed that the Film Distributors Association had handed out cash rewards to more than a dozen cinema workers who managed to disrupt the work of alleged movie cammers in UK cinemas. Despite the successes, not a single individual was prosecuted. They will be hoping for a better result from this week’s arrest.