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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Cinema detective to tackle piracy
Scene from the film X-Men: The Last Stand
Fact says copies of the latest X-Men film came from the UK
The UK is to get a cinema investigator to tackle the crime of recording films in cinemas to be sold as pirate DVDs.

The investigator, a former police officer, will train cinema staff and examine incidents where recording equipment has been used in cinemas.

Film piracy has grown in the UK as more major movies gain a simultaneous worldwide release, said the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).

The new role was funded by UK film distribution companies.

"Films have never been more vulnerable to rip-off copying," said the Chief Executive of the UK Film Distributors' Association (FDA), Mark Batey.

"We believe the appointment is very timely."


Pirates of the Caribbean will be available to the public by Thursday
Raymond Leinster, Director General, Fact
According to Fact, UK cinemas have been the source for pirate DVDs of blockbuster films like X-Men: The Last Stand, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

"In recent months it became apparent that the worldwide release strategy made films vulnerable to camcording in the UK," said the organisation's director general, Raymond Leinster.

Mr Leinster says the pirates are sophisticated, and use the internet to distribute films globally.

"Pirates of the Caribbean, which has its premiere tonight in London, will be available to the public by Thursday."

"The first copy is traditionally posted online," he continued. "Digital infrastructure will, within many hours, disseminate that on a global basis."

Fact says the new investigator will educate cinema staff on how to detect people using digital camcorders, and advise them on how to disrupt the recording.

His appointment comes days after the FBI arrested 13 suspected film pirates in New York.

The FBI said those arrested had been operating since 1999, while industry officials alleged they were responsible for nearly half of all illicit recordings made in America.

In 2005, Fact seized more than 2 million illegal DVDs in the UK. It says film piracy generates around 270m per year for criminals.

It claims the film industry loses more than 810m per year in lost sales and cinema admissions from piracy and illegal downloads.

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