MUMBAI: On 3 September, a man was arrested by officers from the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (HKC&ED) for using a mobile phone to illegally camcord the movie Orphan inside AMC Cinema in Festival Walk.
The illegal camcording was first noticed by cinema staff who reported to HKC&ED. The case is currently under investigation and the person arrested faces criminal charges for having in his possession video recording equipment in a place of public entertainment and making for sale or hire an infringing copy of a copyright work. The staff member will be receiving HK$2,000 as a reward for preventing the offence and assisting in the arrest of the camcorders.
"This is the first case where alert cinema staff has brought illegal camcording to the attention of the authorities. All our members are committed to helping stamp out any and all criminal activity which damages our industry and appeal to the public to help us in that endeavor," said Hong Kong Theater Association (HKTA) Chairman Vicky Wong.
"Illegal camcorded movies are the source of most illegal downloads and pirated optical discs. Preventing the theft of movies from cinema screens is one of our top strategic priorities. I thank and commend the alertness of the cinema staff and the swift response from Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department which led to the arrest of the man,” said IFACT-GC (which represents the Motion Picture Association) executive director and general manager Sam Ho.
"It takes tough laws and stringent measures to deter illegal camcording. The fact that Hong Kong has not been the source of camcords since the beginning of this year is a reflection of the effectiveness of these factors. Clearly a model we would like to see governments and exhibitors across the Asia Pacific adopt," said MPA Asia-Pacific president and managing director Mike Ellis.
A comprehensive strategy is in place in Hong Kong to prevent illegal camcording. Measures include the Anti-Camcording Reward Scheme, awareness training for cinema staff, and the deployment of security personnel and Customs officers to patrol in cinemas.
Under Hong Kong’s Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance (Cap 544) a person commits an offence if they have in their possession (without lawful authority or reasonable excuse) any video recording equipment in a place of public entertainment. Anyone committing that offence may be imprisoned for up to three months and fined up to $6,410 (HK$50,000).
Under the Copyright Ordinance (Cap 528) a person commits an offence if, without the license of the copyright owner of a copyright work, makes for sale or hire an infringing copy of the work. Anyone committing that offence may be imprisoned for up to four years and fined up to $6,410 (HK$50,000).