Press release from the MPAA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 9, 2007
FIVE MOVIE THIEVES ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING
TO STEAL TRANSFORMERS IN NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA,
GEORGIA AND ILLINOIS
Los Angeles â€“ The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National
Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced today that five movie thieves were
arrested over the extended July Fourth holiday for illegally camcording
Dreamworks/Paramountâ€™s Transformers in movie theaters across the country. Increased
security and surveillance for the summer blockbuster season in movie theaters nationwide
and diligent theater employees and alert movie patrons led to the arrests of five suspects
who used camcorders and cell phone cameras to steal the film, or portions of it, in
California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and New York.
â€œThese arrests serve as a reminder to potential movie thieves that whether you use a
camcorder or a cell phone, stealing movies off the silver screen is a crime and you will be
arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,â€ said Dan Glickman, Chairman and
CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
â€œOnce again, theatre employees and theatre patrons have worked together to protect
the art form they love, by intercepting movie thieves in the act of their crime. Thieves
beware – if you attempt to steal movies off the screen, we will find you and we will have you
arrested.â€ said John Fithian, President and CEO of The National Association of Theatre
The first arrest was made in the Bronx, New York, by the New York Police
Department just prior to the July Fourth holiday. The suspect was observed by security
personnel in the American Theater for illegally camcording Transformers on its opening day.
The defendant is the first to be charged under an amended law passed by the City Council
and signed into law May 1 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.
On the 4th of July, in El Centro, California, the projection manager at the Ultra Star
Cinema observed a suspect recording an evening showing of Transformers using a Nokia
camera/video phone. The El Centro Police Department was alerted and officers arrested the
suspect who faces up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Also on July 4, a movie patron reported to theater management that an individual
was using her cell phone to record Transformers at Marcus Cinemas in Addison, Illinois, just
outside of Chicago. Theater security and Addison Police were called and Addison Police
arrested a twenty-seven year old female for violation of Illinoisâ€™ Camcord Statute â€“ a
misdemeanor, and for Trespassing. The suspect faces up to one year in jail and fines up to
$1,000 and a probationary period of up to two years. The Trespass violation carries a penalty
of up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines, followed by a probationary period of up
to one year.
Late last week an employee at the AMC Universal Theater in Orlando, Florida
observed a suspect recording an afternoon screening of Transformers and alerted theater
management who then summoned the Orlando Police Department. Officers confiscated the
suspectâ€™s recording device and found that over 30 minutes of the film had already been
recorded. The suspect was taken into custody and faces up to one year in jail and fines up to
Over the weekend, a movie patron at the AMC Discovery Mills 18 Theatre in
Lawrenceville, Georgia, notified theater management that an individual was using a small
camera to record Transformers. An off-duty Gwinnett County Sheriffâ€™s Deputy employed by
the theater observed the suspect and made the arrest. The Sheriffâ€™s Deputy seized a small
Sony camera along with almost an ounce of marijuana found in the suspectâ€™s pocket.
Violation of Georgiaâ€™s anti-camcord statute can result in up to one year in jail and/or fines
up to $1000.
Camcorders are at the top of the piracy pyramid, supplying more than 90% of newly
released movies that illegally end up on the Internet and in street markets around the world.
These recordings often appear online within days of a filmâ€™s theatrical release, triggering an
avalanche of illegal downloads that can significantly impact a filmâ€™s performance at the box
The MPAA and NATO work closely with theater employees to ensure that movies
are protected from camcorders. In May 2004, the MPAA and NATO introduced the Take
Action Reward Program, which rewards theatre employees up to $500 when they identify,
intercept, and report camcorder theft to law enforcement officers. Since the launch of the
program $38,500 has been awarded to 84 recipients. In 2006, the MPAA, NATO, the
Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA), and the Motion Picture
Theatre Association of Canada (MPTAC) launched FightFilmTheft.org, an online theatre
employee training program in the U.S. and Canada that has since expanded to include Latin
America. Theatre employees who participate in the online tutorial are eligible to receive
$300 (awarded every three months) for completing the training and taking a brief quiz at the
The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers,
distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lose more than $18 billion
annually as a result of movie theft. More than $7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal
Internet distributions, while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging.
About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American
motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Its members include: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution; Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures Entertainment
Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios, LLP; and Warner Bros.
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the
world, representing more than 29,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in more than 40
For more information, contact:
MPAA Los Angeles