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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Arrest over Spider-Man piracy bid
Spider-Man 2
Cinema staff who spot would-be pirates are eligible for a cash reward
A teenager has been arrested after he was spotted allegedly using a camcorder to make an illegal copy of Spider-Man 2 on its opening night in the US.

The 16-year-old was picked out in a Los Angeles cinema by a projectionist using night-vision goggles to scan the crowd.

The film industry's trade group said a new $500 (275) reward scheme had encouraged staff to look for 'pirates'.

The film took 2.8 million at a series of midnight screenings in the US on Wednesday, according to figures.

The comic book sequel opened in more than 4,100 cinemas across the US from midnight on 1 July .


Early estimates put it on course for a record-breaking opening at the US box office. It opens in the UK on 15 July.

Meanwhile, the arrested teenager could be charged under a new law which makes it illegal to take a recording device into a cinema.

There are now thousands of eyes looking for camcording-pirates
James W Spertus
Motion Picture Association of America
A spokesman for Los Angeles Police Department said the teenager, who is too young to be named, had been released to his parents.

The city's district attorney's office will now decide whether to charge him with illegally taking a camcorder into a cinema.

If found guilty, he could face up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500 (1,377).

'Plain wrong'

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which introduced the rewards programme earlier this month, said the projectionist who spotted the youth could be eligible.

The teenager and two friends were removed from the cinema a few minutes into the film and handed over to the police, the MPAA said.

James W Spertus, MPAA's director of anti-piracy operations, said: "There are now thousands of eyes looking for camcording-pirates and this incident proves that pirates who use these devices in theatres will be caught."

Camcorder piracy is thought to account for 92% of all illegal copies of films sold on the internet and street corners worldwide.

Jeff Blake, of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said: "Hundreds of people have put tens of thousands of hours into making a truly great picture and the notion of having it stolen and sent out for free around the world is just plain wrong."

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