A man was caught red-handed ‘stealing’ Leon Schuster’s new film Mad Buddies off the big screen using a camcorder during its first show at Ster-Kinekor, Maponya Mall in Soweto. The suspect is believed to work for a piracy syndicate in the Johannesburg area who released fake copies of Mad Buddies onto the streets of Johannesburg earlier this week.
He will appear in the Commercial Crime Court, Johannesburg for bail on Monday.
This is the second camcording incident of this film since it was released theatrically on Friday morning 22 June. The other suspect, spotted at Bedford Centre, fled after being approached by Ster-Kinekor staff.
‘Stealing films’ from the big screen as the first source is becoming more prevalent in South Africa and can cause millions of Rands of losses to the producers and distributors of the film, and results in the direct loss of income to actors and crew in the industry.
Films are ‘stolen’ off cinema screens by use of any digital recording device, from mobile phones, small handheld camcorders to recorders on tripods. In fact, 90% of all pirated films worldwide are camcorded copies. South Africa is releasing many films in cinemas day-and-date with the rest of the world and some even ahead of the worldwide release dates. This makes such film titles vulnerable to pirates who obtain a master of the film which are used for the first upload on pirate download sites and for counterfeit production of the films on DVD format, for sale on the streets and informal markets.
Corne Guldenpfennig of SAFACT stated that tight security had been implemented countrywide at all cinemas to apprehend suspects, in an attempt to prevent the film Mad Buddies from be stolen and pirated prior to the legal release of this film on DVD. She further stated that piracy is a serious crime that generates millions of Rands in illegal income annually which, in turn, affects people in the wider community and involves people smuggling, drugs and fraud. She stated that a first time offender faces a fine and/or direct imprisonment of three years.
SAFACT encourages members of the public to say no to piracy and to report any incidents of suspicious activity in a cinema to the cinema manager or staff immediately.
Otherwise they can contact Crimeline by sms to 32211 or contact SAFACT on 011 403 1104/5 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by ScreenAfrica