Film Pirate Arrested For Filming Sc-Fi Movie 'Transformer'.

Among the five people jailed nationwide on charges of film piracy, using camcorders to tape the sc-fi movie 'Transformers' is a Gwinnett County Man known by the name Tyrone F. Simpson.

A sheriff's deputy working at the Discover Mills 18 theater in Lawrenceville arrested 31-year-old Tyrone F. Simpson of Grayson late Saturday after an audience member reported he was using a hand-held camera to record the movie, according to the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Authorities charged Simpson with film piracy, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000, the Gwinnett County sheriff's office said Tuesday. Investigators also charged him with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Simpson got out of jail on bond Sunday. He could not be reached for comment.

The arrest is part of a crackdown on illegal recordings by the MPAA and theater owners. The groups say illicit videos made by moviegoers are a primary source of pirated films, which they say cost the industry $18 billion a year.

While the crime is frequently committed — probably every weekend, Thompson said — it's not a top priority for law enforcement, said Rick Malone, executive director of Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia.

"Yes, it happens a lot. Pirated merchandise, whether it's designer merchandise or something else, is big businesses and it's getting bigger," he said. "However, in the big scheme of things, when the police are dealing with burglaries and robberies and murder, they fall down in priority a bit. The same is true with prosecutors."

While it's not clear what Simpson planned to do with the recording, the MPAA says such videos are a primary source of the pirated films that can show up for sale anywhere from your local MARTA station to a street-corner stall around the world in a matter of hours.

About 90 percent of pirated films start with someone taping a showing in a movie theater — and the problem is getting worse, MPAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman said.

Some people record and upload for the glory of being the first to post a new film, but many are motivated by potentially "significant" payouts from distributors, Kaltman said.

Investigators in California, Florida, Illinois and New York also charged people over the weekend with illegally recording movies. The cases are unrelated.

Even though it's a relatively rare charge for police to file, the arrest Saturday night represented the second such case at Gwinnett's Discover Mills in the past few weeks, said Capt. Greg Thompson of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department.

Thompson, who frequently works security at the theater, learned about the statute a few weeks ago after a Discover Mills employee reported a juvenile filming another movie.

"It's very easy to detect," he said.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: