A Taiwanese man faces up to three years in prison after cinema workers caught him recording Mission Impossible III with a digital camcorder on its opening day.
The 35-year-old man, who was not named, was caught filming the movie at the Venice Theater in Taoyuan. Police charged him with violating Taiwan’s Copyright Act. Under that law, the man faces a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of $750,000 new Taiwan dollars (US$23,901).
However, the man could get off with a lighter sentence. Taiwanese authorities have charged three people with illegally recording movies since 2003. All three received jail sentences ranging from 20 days to three months.
The Taiwan arrest was one of four made in relation to attempts to record the new Tom Cruise blockbuster, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) said, with the other three in the United States.
Pirated movies are widely available on DVD in many Asian countries, especially China. Many pirated releases of new movies are made from digital recordings made inside movie theaters that can also be distributed over the Internet.
In an attempt to stop pirates, the MPA has offered a reward of NT$10,000 for Taiwanese cinema workers who catch them in their theaters and alert police. In this case, the MPA reward handed out to three Venice Theater employees will be matched by Universal International Pictures, Mission Impossible III’s distributor.
Mission Impossible III earned US$47.7 million in worldwide box-office receipts during its first weekend, according to Variety Magazine, which tracks these figures.
-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
For related news coverage, read MPAA Trains Dogs to Sniff Out Pirate DVDs in the U.K.
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