The leaking of first-run movies onto the Internet continues to be a thorn in the side of Hollywood and its distribution partners around the world.
The studios themselves refuse to make their own content widely available on the day of release, which means that people who prefer their own homes over a cinema have only one (illegal) choice if they wish to view the latest movies quickly.
This unwelcome competition is something Hollywood is desperate to stamp out and increasingly it’s turning to workers in the movie chain to help it to do so. One of those efforts includes rewarding cinema staff for remaining vigilant during screenings in order to shut down so-called ‘cammers’.
In the UK cinema staff are motivated by cash rewards handed out by the Film Distributors’ Association and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Together the groups have paid out thousands of pounds to pirate-catchers and now they’re about to up the rewards considerably.
During a ceremony at Universal Pictures yesterday, the FDA and FACT announced the launch of an “enhanced rewards period” which will see cash payments to cinema workers doubled from £500 to £1000 for each thwarted attempt at unauthorized recording.
The period will run between 23rd October and 1st January 2016 and is set to coincide with a batch of new releases hitting UK cinema screens.
“From next week through to Christmas, the exceptional run of new releases is highly attractive both to mass-market cinemagoers and, regrettably also, to the networks of copyright pirates who persist in trying to rip off the creative industries and consumers,” says Mark Batey, Chief Executive of the Film Distributors’ Association.
During yesterday’s event at Universal Pictures, more than a dozen UK cinema workers received awards for their vigilance earlier in the year. In all, 13 employees received a cash prize and a certificate after intervening against unauthorized cammings of Fast and Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 and Minions.
According to figures released by FACT, in total there were 11 incidents of which 10 were attended by police. Four of those incidents led to a formal caution and one incident led to two arrests.
“Detecting and disrupting illegal recording in cinemas is a key area of FACT’s work to protect the creative content that we all love,” says FACT Director General Kieron Sharp.
“Illegal camming is still the source of more than 90% of all pirated films and so our film protection programme is essential to protecting new releases and preventing criminal activity.”
Today’s rewards announcement coincides perfectly with the impending launch of upcoming James Bond blockbuster ‘Spectre’. The movie will enjoy its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Monday and will be immediately released nationwide. FACT has already indicated that security of the movie will be intense, with night vision goggles deployed to catch would-be cammers.
The anti-piracy group will be hoping that £1,000 will prove an exciting prospect for cinema workers around the country and enough to stop any leak of Spectre before its November 6 launch in the United States.