There are many ways you can protect our industry and film communities from movie theft:
Before movies are screened
- Post signs outside and inside the theatre.
Signs or posters should be prominently displayed at the point of entry, at the cinema box offices on screen and throughout the cinema, informing customers that the use of recording devices is prohibited in this cinema. Where applicable, the signage can also warn patrons that there may be random bag and jacket checks for those items.
- Contact the local police in advance of a screening to discuss the possibility of assistance.
Cinema management should make themselves aware of what laws apply to illegal recordings and communicate with local police to determine how they will respond to incidents.
- Be extra vigilant during opening day/ opening show.
The earlier in the movie release period, the more valuable it is to movie thieves. Always be alert, but pay particular attention during new release periods.
- Be extra vigilant first showing, last showing.
Thieves favour cinemas with small audiences. The early morning and late night shows are ideal times for them to attempt to illegally record a film.
- Observe customers entering the auditorium.
Look for unusual behavior like coats in hot weather, strangely arranged clothing, odd shapes outlined in pockets or patrons carrying shopping bags If any of these are observed take a closer look.
- Begin monitoring the auditorium as customers arrive.
Thieves frequently set up long before the movie begins. Unless spotted during set up, thieves can be difficult to detect. Monitoring the auditorium well in advance of start time increases the likelihood of detecting or deterring a camcord thief.
- Consider all possible camera locations.
Thieves sometimes use clamps or other devices attached to seats in front of them or beside them to improve the camera’s line of sight to the screen and to steady the recording. Devices are sometimes placed in cup holders for the same purpose.
- Be alert for possible camera concealment.
Thieves are very ingenious when it comes to concealing cameras. It may be as simple as a coat or hat placed over the camera, or as innovative as a specially designed concealment device.
Pay special attention to clothing, packages, or other possible concealment aids that are placed in line of sight with the screen.
- Don’t assume that the camcord thief will be alone.
Thieves do not always act alone. They may be accompanied by colleagues who aid in set up or act as lookouts. The thieves can appear as a couple or even a family. It is sad to say, but some thieves have even brought small children or babies with them to use as cover.
- Look out for glowing lights.
Often thieves cannot fully conceal the small glowing light on the camera. If someone is seemingly “on their mobile phone” through the whole first hour of the film or if cinema staff notices a small green or red glow in the dark of the auditorium, take a closer look. The “professional” thief will often employ the use of a remote viewing device to ensure that the full screen is in the frame.
- Pay attention to seating arrangements.
Thieves often try to place themselves in the absolute centre of the cinema or try to shield themselves by having an accomplice sit on either side of them.
- Pay attention to the use of recording devices such as mp3 players and Assisted Listening Devices.
Pay attention to the use of recording devices such as mp3 players and Assisted Listening Devices (ALD). The “professional” movie thief may have or borrow an ALD which can then be plugged into the recording device.