BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two Maryland men accused of illegally recording movies are arrested. It happened during a showing of a newly released movie, but the film industry says piracy is not new.
The suspects had no idea that while they were watching and recording the movie, an investigator was watching them.
The Fate of the Furious hit theaters nationwide on April 14. That same opening night, Anne Arundel County Police arrested 38-year-old Troy Montgomery Cornish of Baltimore and 35-year-old Floyd Lee Buchanan from Dundalk, charging them with recording the movie without the owner’s consent.
“They were wearing recording devices on a chest harness and a had hole cut in their shirt so that video could record through their shirts as they were watching the movie,” says Lieutenant Ryan Frashure with Anne Arundel County Police.
An investigator from the motion picture association of America alerted police, after following the two known piracy suspects inside the Hoyts movie theater in Linthicum.
They were caught, but that’s not always the case.
Former Senator Chris Dodd heads the Motion Picture Association of America.
He says pirates are costing the studios billions of dollars in lost ticket sales. “Piracy is a problem. There’s no question about it.”
The MPAA says it happens all the time. A new movie arrives in theaters and soon after, illegal copies of it flood the streets and hit the internet.
The film industry uses digital watermarks to protect content on DVDs, but websites offer illegal downloads.
“Piracy is just with a click of a button these days,” says entertainment attorney Cynthia Sanders.
She says subscription streaming services like Netflix are helping by offering a wide-range of content for one fee.
Still, she says, theft of copyrighted material, is here to stay.
“People, when they have an incentive to get something for free they’ll find new ways to do it.”
Each suspect is facing up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The MPAA says last year almost $1 billion pirated movies and TV shows were downloaded. Buying and streaming pirated content is also against the law.