Police Arrest 9 Suspected Illegal Camcorders Since Start of Summer Movie Season

The June 12 Philippines premiere of ‘Man of Steel’, the much-anticipated redux of DC Comics’ classic superhero, Superman, has not gone by without illegal camcorders attempting to steal the movie. However, vigilant theater security personnel prevented the suspects from completing the illegal camcords, confiscated the recorded footage and alerted the police.

Between June 12-15, authorities made five arrests in four different cinema locations at popular movie theaters in Manila, Mandaluyong and Pasay. This brings the total to nine arrests since the start of the summer movie season.

Those arrested were found in possession of several still-shots of movie scenes and movie footage ranging between seven to 23 minutes of film run-time. The suspects used devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras to acquire the stills and footage. The devices and memory storage were seized by the authorities, and the offenders brought to their respective city precincts for police blotter.

”We are sending a message loud and clear that theater operators across the country will not tolerate this crime in our facilities. We have employed strict measures to prevent camcording of films both local and international,” said Atty. Rolly Duenas of the National Cinema Association of the Philippines.

The resolve of the entire screen community in the Philippines – from filmmakers of the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council (MPAFPC), producers, local and international studios, distributors and exhibitors of the National Cinema Association of the Philippines (NCAP) – in full cooperation with the authorities such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Optical Media Board (OMB), has resulted in a more effective and stringent implementation of the Anti-Camcording Law, and has given the legislation more teeth in criminally prosecuting offenders.

“Seeing a movie at the cinema is a magical experience and has entertained generations for decades. It’s a shame that some people try to spoil that experience for everyone and disrespect filmmakers and audiences alike when they try to illegally camcord a movie in the theatre. It’s up to all of us to look after our movie-going experience and keep the cinemas free from those who want to steal our films. See you at the movies.” Joji Alonso, producer of the award-winning film Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (Woman in the Septic Tank).

The Philippines is one of the first countries in the world to screen worldwide blockbuster releases. The Philippines was the second location to host a Man of Steel premiere, following the New York premiere on June 10 and a day ahead of other US states.

“We encourage Filipino movie lovers to play their part in upholding and protecting intellectual property rights and building a stable and healthy film industry,” said Ronnie Ricketts, Chairman of the Optical Media Board. “We hope they choose to see movies as the filmmaker would like them to be seen – on the big screen with family and friends. We also hope that they will alert security personnel if they believe that any illegal camcording activity is being undertaken during a movie screening.”

During World IP Day, OMB, headed by Chairman Ronnie Ricketts, conducted several surprise inspections in cinemas across Manila. Apart from the PNP ‘s Crime Investigation and Detection Group, OMB also works closely with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation to enforce the Anti-Piracy Campaign.

Under the Anti-Camcording Law (RA 10088 of July 2010), any person who is caught using or attempting to use an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of any part of a performance in an exhibition facility of any cinematographic film or other audiovisual work will be charged with a fine of PhP 50,000 to PhP 750, 000 (US$1,000-US$17,000) and will face imprisonment of a minimum of six months and one day to six years and one day.

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