back to article AFACT wants ushers to confront pirates

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has opened a new front in its war on piracy with a web site aimed at educating cinema staff on how to detect and prevent illicit recordings. AFACT’s members include the Motion Picture Association, Disney, Fox, Warner Brothers and other large studios. The organisation …


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  1. Diogenes


    Why would anybody be recording an Australian cinema release? Its already been out on the Interwebz long before it reaches our land which is girt by sea. And for the 2 or 3 films premiered here, they release same weekend OS.

    When the current season of Revenge & Once Upon a Time started I was reading about the episodes on Whirlpool before they had even been shown in "real time" on the US West Coast

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WOFTAM

      A camera disguised as a baby? Has anyone seen a baby in the cinema?

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: Babies in Cinema

        Unfortunately they are heard, rather than seen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WOFTAM

        "A camera disguised as a baby? Has anyone seen a baby in the cinema?"

        Sure beats disguising a camera as a rock.

    2. LarsG

      Bring the price of a ticket down

      And piracy would be solved.

      1. Stuart Castle

        Re: Bring the price of a ticket down

        Doesn't work like that. People will still pirate stuff even if it's free.

        For an example, look at Windows Service Packs. These are free, but Microsoft do require that you download them from a recognised source (such as Microsoft,com or various download sites such as MajorGeeks). With half an hour of release, you will find the Service packs spread across the newsgroups and hundreds of torrents will be available.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WOFTAM

      You saw Revenge & Once Upon a Time in the cinema???

  2. parityerror
    Thumb Up

    A camera disguised as a box popcorn. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Esskay

    "standing in front of the recording device"

    So they should ruin the experience for *all* moviegoers in the theatre by standing up in front of people and potentially creating a scene?!

    I would have thought looking after *paying* customers would be their first instinct, but I guess we're all just collateral damage in the fight against people-who-probably-wouldn't-have-gone-to-the-movies-anyway. I mean, if you're happy to watch a shitty cam rip, you're probably not *that* interested in the movie...

    Now that everyone knows about the site, I expect it to be good target practice for script kiddies the world over.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: "standing in front of the recording device"

      Every cam rip download is equal to tickets plus junk food for a family of 5 don'tcha know. And that is not counting the lost ad revenue!

      What's one or two minimum wage workers lost compared to winning the war on Copyright Theft?

  4. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    Near IR is the 95% solution

    Using 'The Art of War' for guidance*, play some *invisible to humans* / visible to cameras Near IR laser beams across the screen.

    * use tactics such as:

    Wait for the action climax of the film, then ruin it for the cameras

    Or, using higher brightness fiddle with the cams' autoexposure time constant

    Write anti-piracy messages on the screen

    Saturate the market with inexpensive Near IR filters that don't quite work properly

    By the way, such camcording is sometimes done *by staff*.

    Myself? I just capture the new release 4K digital files sent by satellite to the digital theatres in Ireland and elsewhere (Kidding!!!! ...maybe...).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Near IR is the 95% solution

      Some cameras are sensitive to a significantly wider range of wavelengths than human eyes, but some (with built-in filters) aren't, I think. You could end up interfering with SOME recordings while annoying SOME viewers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Near IR is the 95% solution

      Better idea !

      Hollywood stop making crap formulaic movies that people don't want to pay to see.

    3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Near IR is the 95% solution

      "use tactics such as: ... ..."

      or just forget about that nonsense and do nothing.

      Cammed movies are only there for enthusiasts and hard core fans and do not affect the theatrical or DVD takings. No one who would normally go to a cinema to watch a new film would consider a cammed download as a serious alternative. Same is for DVDs + cammed copy cannot rival in quality a pirated DVD copy anyway.

      As for the fans who are so impatient and desperate that they are prepared to watch a cammed film, well, firstly, there are only a few of them and, secondly, they will watch it, then go watch the movie in the theatre, then buy the DVD, then BD, then the director's cut, then the key grip's cut and every extra's cuts the distributors would care to release....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ain't gonna happen

    As a retired Olde Pharte, I go to the cinema during the day and average about twice a month (if there's anything worth watching) . In the last year or so I cannot remember one instance of a cinema staff member so much as putting their head through the door, so how do they expect to catch anyone.

    As mentioned in the article, I think the cinema owners would be on very dodgy legal ground if they instructed their staff to start being AFACT's bitches.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

      Re: Ain't gonna happen

      Mr (or Ms) Pharte,

      Not so fast! It is more likely to depend on the cinema's audience. Some folks seem to appreciate a more law-abiding environment:

  6. Thorne


    If piracy is such an issue why doesn't the content providers hire the guards instead of the cinemas?

    Cinemas make their money from the popcorn and such. The tickets barely cover the costs of the movie

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Security

      "If piracy is such an issue why doesn't the content providers hire the guards..."

      I used to be a movie pirate, like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Security

        "I used to be a movie pirate, like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee."

        I am actually starting to wish that people who trot out that tired old meme get shot through the knee by someone with a compound bow. Enough is enough.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Security

          "I am actually starting to wish that people who trot out that tired old meme get shot through the knee by someone with a compound bow. Enough is enough."

          A used to be a guy who complained about old memes, like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee.

  7. tkioz

    I remember working in a cinema when I was young... horrible job... they didn't pay me enough to put up with the louts then and I doubt they pay enough to enforce copyright bollocks now.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ahhh cinemas

    I remember those.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Movies are to theatres

    as petrol is to service stations. Necessary to lure customers, but not the main source of income. Frankly, I would expect theatre owners to be much more upset if you smuggled in food than if you smuggled in a camera.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Movies are to theatres

      When I used to take my kids I would bring in my own sweets - rather than pay the stupid prices in the cinema.

  10. Captain DaFt

    Sounds like a plan to me

    A. Get theater help to harass customers trying to catch them pirating movies.

    B. Offended customers shun theaters, and watch pirated films instead.

    C. AFACT notes that movie profits are down, pirating is up, squeezes studios for more cash to combat "growing menace".

    D. PROFIT! (For AFACT, not the studios.)

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    If fimlming in cinemas is such a problem ...

    ... they should sell DVDs.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: If fimlming in cinemas is such a problem ...

      The Odeon chain does now!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely if the movie industry wants cinema staff to be unpaid copyright cops they should pay them for their services? Particularly given that cinemas make virtually nothing off the first runs of the movie, since the studios want their cut early.

    So what about it 20th Century Fox - cough up or get lost.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Pay?

      You have to be kidding.

      don't forget that under RobinHood (HollyWood) accounting rules, No film ever makes a profit yet all the bosses are multi-millionaires. Strange that.

      Perhaps the new focus on Corporate taxation, the Obama Gov might like to look at the rules whereby this is allowed by the IRS (perhaps with a nod, a wink and a big fat brown envelope).

      Nah though not.

    2. dan1981

      Re: Pay?

      I feel truly sorry for anyone put in such a position as to have to be AFACT's lackey for free but it doesn't annoy me quite as much as us all PAYING for police (through taxes) to be their lackeys.

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  14. Falanx


    There's an 'infomercial' shown, certainly in Cineworld Cinemas around the country that displays in typical cringeworthy 'comedic' style this behaviour to prevent mobile telephones runing movies. YOU'RE NOT MEANT TO USE IT AS AN INSTRUCTIONAL, YOU ASSHOLES.

  15. Khaptain Silver badge

    Corporate greed

    Why is there no law against "Corporate Greed" which is probably 99% of the real problem.

    1. ShadowedOne

      Re: Corporate greed

      My guess, because so many people have bought into the supposed "duty" that businesses have to maximize profits at all costs.No large company wants to reap a fair profit anymore, they'd rather rape and pillage their staff and customers to squeeze out every last penny. In other words, too many people now believe that greed is good.

      1. dan1981

        Re: Corporate greed

        Not directed at you, good sir/madam, and quite firmly off-topic, but the reality is that publicly listed companies are run with the sole aim of increasing their share price. Thus, simply making profit is not enough, they must continually make MORE profit.

        Like many ordinary (read: not stinking rich) people I find something very unsavoury about this culture of profit before all else. Most people, through at least their superannuation and savings accounts, if not other investments, are, however, part of that culture. Right now, every working or retired Australian is investing in numerous companies whose name, let alone business practices, they are ignorant of.

        Most people avoid the thought but the fact is that some company screwing its staff or ruining the environment or laying-off local staff in favour of cheaper OS labour means that when you retire you will be able to eat well and fix the plumbing when it's shot and buy your grandchildren presents and maybe even take a trip or two like you always planned.

        Some people of course have self-managed super or belong to a scheme that is ethically guided, but the vast majority of Australians just don't consider it. And that is part of the problem.

        That is why you have businesses engaging in acts that will get them fined if found out. Somewhere, the sums have been done and one course of action has been identified as the most profitable. In such situations, fines are simply entered in as part of the equation - a business cost. Think false advertising or insurance agencies refusing, minimising or delaying pay-outs.

        But, like me, most people just try not to think about their role in the system. I use beer to help me.

  16. wowfood

    “We would not support any instruction by any cinema owner that would be a very provocative response and would put cinema workers’ lives in danger and at risk. We think it would be in breach of the Workplace Health and Safety Act.”

    Yes, because these evil cinema pirates are clearly going to draw their cutlasses and slice down the land lubbers if they ask them to leave if they're caught recording. For got sakes, telling people to leave the premises is part of the job. Harden the fuck up.

    And I would go to the cinema much more if it didn't cost as much as buying the DVD.

    "Experience the full cinema experience"

    Okay so experience kids talking, funny smells, coldness, no elbow room that retard on their mobile and the guy who has a bladder the size of a golf ball. Sure I'm willing to pay extra for that... not.

    If they dropped the price to about half then they might actually start getting larger crowds at the cinema again, just look at orange wednesdays.

  17. Fuzz

    Why do they care?

    Surely they realise that people who are prepared to watch copies of films recorded on cameras from inside the cinema, together with the issues that produces, terrible image, awful sound, people obscuring the view.

    Are never going to pay to watch the film in the cinema, they aren't going to pay to rent the film from a DVD or streaming service and they aren't going to pay to buy the DVD.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do they care?

      ...but those same people still feel an entitlement to watch the 'crap, formulaic movie they wouldn't have ever paid for' anyway.

      Not particularly defending the movie industry, but that type of consumer are also selfish bastards who don't give a toss about anyone else. Why should they be allowed to get away with it?

      1. Drakkenson

        Re: Why do they care?

        "Why should they be allowed to get away with it?"

        Because it is more trouble than it is worth? Because it inconveniences those who would pay to watch?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why do they care?

          ""Why should they be allowed to get away with it?""

          To inflict pain on anybody daft enough to watch shitty cammed footage? Although I would guess that most pirates at least have the decency not to inflict noisy, aggressive "anti-piracy" propaganda that the retards of Hollywood persistently inflict on legitimate cinema goers and DVD buyers.

  18. Richard Wharram


    I vaguely remember those as a kid but noone ever enters to tell the teenagers to shut up now. I doubt any staff would ever notice filming happening.

  19. g e

    Screeners? Really?

    People still actually watch those?

  20. Crisp Silver badge

    Why are they trying to make this the Ushers problem

    It's not like the ushers have a multi-billion dollar interest in this. Why should they have to police movie goers and potentially put themselves in harms way to protect rich actors, producers and directors?

    1. bobbles31

      Re: Why are they trying to make this the Ushers problem

      Totally agree, ushers are there to...well...usher people to their seats for the performance.

      Why do the only people making real money out of movies expect everyone else to police their terms and conditions.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my own recommendation:

    snatch the babies off them nasty terropeadopirate and run towards the door. The pirate should (will they?!) follow and, if you're lucky, you can bag their recording equipment, as it gets lost in the general confusion / merriment, while the rest of the law-abiding movie-watchers cheer (and place bets).

  22. NomNomNom

    disrupting the recording

    couldn't the ushers just stab the baby in the face?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Effective solution

    Do as Japan does and mandate a 2 year prison sentence with a big fine, for piracy. The crims won't be filming any more movies from prison.

    1. ShadowedOne

      Re: Effective solution

      Great idea, maybe next we can mandate a 2 year prison term (and the obligatory huge fine) for people who are late returning library books, or maybe a retroactively applied prison term and large fine for all those people who made mix tapes for their friends in the 80s/90s...

    2. The Aussie Paradox

      Re: Effective solution

      I had better turn myself in. I went to a movie and illegally recorded it using neurons organised within my biological storage device.

      I am still working on perfecting the system... Audio and visual recordings are easy (While I am awake), however, the system is a bit selective in what it records (especially as old age creeps in) and playback is a bit difficult.

      While I am being sarcastic, if they do invent a device that allows us to view memories, will it become a crimal offence to view memories of a movie that someone saw?

      1. dan1981
        Big Brother

        Re: Effective solution

        Profit is the mother of all invention so logically, such biomechanical enhancements are likely to be the result of commercial interests and would almost certainly have wireless network access for content distribution.

        In concert with such devices, movies would likely be a drive-in cinema-style, where you can see it if you're there but can't hear anything unless you pay for the audio connection.

        Or, perhaps the movies themselves would require encryption codes to view or hear anything. these would possibly be biometrically linked but certainly uploaded directly to whatever magic device is enabling all this.

        Such devices would of course be cracked sooner or later or perhaps illegal upgrades would be available ("get yourself 'chipped'") to enable recording and dissemination of 'recorded' content. Such modification would of course void any warranties but there would still be people willing to do that.

        And if you thought companies scraping your contacts from your iPhone was bad . . .

        Or maybe I am too optomistic - perhaps by that point 'big content' will have even more of the government (in the US especially) bought and paid for and such a device would be made illegal as we all know that the profitability of Warner Brothers is more important that human advancement. (Though your opinion on what constitutes an advancement may differ : )

  24. h3

    The worst problem they have is people recording LiNE audio (That means the projection staff).

    LiNE audio + a Russian R5 DVD or Blu Ray is pretty decent quality for a mediocre film.

    (Cloud Atlas already has a Blu Ray rip but no none CAM Audio).

    Hunger Games is the only thing I have seen this year that I liked. I will probably see the next one at the cinema.

    (Rest has been TV e.g Game of Thrones).

    (The Hobbit should be one film not three for gods sake).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was shocked at how good The Hunger Games was. By way of explanation, I made: - which does a reasonable job of summing it up.

  25. Kapt Roger

    What Ever Happened To....

    What ever happened to the clip played before the film that claimed that piracy funded drug running and terrorism? Has this been proven wrong?

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