New York cops nab Transformers’ pirate


MUMBAI: A New York area man – Kalidou Diallo – was arrested by New York City police officers prior to the 4 July holiday for illegally camcording Dreamworks/Paramount’s Transformers on its opening day in a Bronx movie theater.


The defendant is the first to be charged under an amended law passed by the City Council and signed into law 1 May by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that increases penalties for camcord thieves in New York City. The defendant faces up to six months imprisonment, fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and a civil penalty up to $5,000.


“Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council have provided New York City police officers with a critical tool to help put movie thieves out of business. The New York City economy has much to gain by tackling the monumental problem of movie piracy, and we are especially grateful to the members of the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau for pursuing these crimes with the diligence they require,” said Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) chairman and CEO Dan Glickman.


Increased security and surveillance in movie theaters throughout New York City for the summer blockbuster movie season led to the arrest of Diallo who was observed camcording the film by security personnel in the American theater. Police officers detained Diallo and seized a camcorder and other equipment that he had concealed inside his jacket. Diallo had recorded the entire film and admitted to having illegally recorded other films in the past.


“This tough new law gives us stiff penalties that fit the severity of the crime. We’re going to keep the heat on the pirates so that the artists who make up our film industry can continue to thrive,” said Mayor’s Criminal Justice coordinator John Feinblatt.


The MPAA estimates that in 2006, New York City theaters were the origin of 43 per cent of camcorder-source pirated DVDs tracked in the United States, and 20 per cent of pirated movies seized globally.


“Movie piracy is a crime that hurts the City’s economy and the thousands of individuals of who make their living in the film industry. The swift action on this recent illegal camcording activity clearly demonstrates the City’s commitment to eradicating this crime,” said Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB) commissioner Katherine Oliver.


According to a recent study commissioned by the MPAA, the New York motion picture industry suffers an estimated $1.49 billion in lost output annually resulting in 22,986 fewer jobs and $903 million in lost earnings as a consequence of global and local piracy of motion pictures. The MPAA-commissioned study found that $637 million in total annual retail sales in New York are lost due to global and local piracy, resulting in a loss of $50 million in State and City sales taxes.