Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Public warned about recording films in theaters

COPYRIGHT After two cases of people recording movies with cellphone camcorders, a foundation reminded the public that such behavior was illegal

STAFF WRITER

The Foundation for the Protection of Film and Video Works yesterday warned moviegoers not to record films in theaters using camcorder cellphones, as doing so would violate the Copyright Law (著作權法) and was grounds for prosecution.

The group made the call after two cases last week in which people using camcorder cellphones to record movies in movie theaters were reported to Taoyuan police.

Both cases were reported by theater staff to the foundation and the police, the police said.

Unaware of the law?

According to the foundation's chief executive officer Yang Tai-shun (楊泰順), many cellphones and cameras now come with photo or video functions and people using these functions in movie theaters may not be aware that they are violating the Copyright Law.

Yang said that the foundation had distributed information in movie theaters to inform the public.

According to statistics published by the foundation, six similar cases have been reported since 2003, with the sentences for perpetrators ranging from a 59-day detention for using a camera phone to three-months in prison for using a digital camcorder.

Yang said that movies recorded by camcorder cellphones probably had no commercial value, but that the foundation nevertheless would continue to bring lawsuits against any violation as a warning for the public, since the law prohibits recording and movie companies would not tolerate it either.

Rampant copying

Yang said that because memory cards for electronics goods were getting larger, a single card was sufficient to record a full-length movie.

This has resulted in rampant piracy, which may hurt the movie industry, Yang said.

According to one estimate, the US movie industry last year lost US$6.1 billion as a result of piracy.

Yang said that statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America showed pirated home video sales could generate profits as high as 1,150 percent.

This had become the primary source of income for the underworld, Yang said.

Urging theater staff and visitors to report acts of piracy, Yang added that a reward of NT$10,000 would be awarded to anyone who reported cases of illegal movie recording that were successfully prosecuted.

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