City man second in Canada charged with illegal recording of film under new legislation
"Since this man has been arrested we have not found camcorder pirated movies from Calgary. We were seeing a lot of movies coming out of Calgary before."
An anti-piracy watchdog isn’t surprised to hear of yesterday’s charges laid in Calgary, calling the city a ‘hot spot’ for piracy and distribution.
Police arrested a man they believe was illegally filming the movie Sweeney Todd on Dec. 21 at Empire Studio 16 Country Hills movie theatre, after a security member working for the Canadian Motion Picture Distribution Association (CMPDA) notified police.
The suspect had been under investigation for six months.
Canada’s anti-piracy law came into effect in June 2007 and there has only been one Canadian charged since.
Mike Robinson, vice-president and director of anti-piracy for the CMPDA, told Metro Calgary along with Montreal are the biggest sources of movie pirating in the country.
“Calgary and Montreal are the biggest sources of pirated movies in Canada. And Canada makes up 20-25 per cent of pirated movies,” Robinson said, adding movies recorded from the city are found all over the world.
Robinson said the studios watermark their movies and that is how movies pirated can be traced back to the city and theatre they were recorded in.
“Since this man has been arrested we have not found camcorder pirated movies from Calgary. We were seeing a lot of movies coming out of Calgary before,” he said.
District 7 Acting Det. Asif Rashid told reporters this is the first charge of its kind against someone in Alberta and only the second time in Canada, with the first being in Quebec.
“He was using a hand-held camcorder without a tripod, which was concealed in his clothes. Police were called to Empire Theatres and arrested him right away,” Rashid said of the December incident.
He said city cops had been working with the CMPDA for about six months, watching the individual, who later had his home searched and evidence seized.
“I would suggest it was a very candid movie recording. He was sitting in the auditorium much like anyone else in the theatre. This is a very different type of criminal investigation for us,” Rashid added.
Police have charged 20-year-old Richard Craig Lissaman with one count of unauthorized recording of a movie. He is due in court to face charges on Feb. 1.
According to Robinson, movie piracy causes $18 billion in lost revenues each year. For more information on movie pirating, please visit www.mtaa.org.