The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) have announced that the level of reward available to cinema staff who disrupt and report the illegal recording of a film will be doubled from £500 to £1000 until the end of the year.

Given the significant number of UK-first releases in the fourth quarter of 2008 – not least the upcoming Quantum of Solace – the decision has been made to bolster the reward scheme. A number of cinema operators have already announced their intention to match this sum.

The reward scheme forms a key strand of the industry’s approach in tackling the problem of film theft, which cost cinema alone some £88m in lost box office last year – the equivalent of one month’s income.

Other elements include the provision of training and guidance to staff on what to look for and what to do if they come across illegal recording activity and the production and distribution of Best Practice Guides to every cinema in the UK. In addition, FACT has a dedicated person in place to work directly with the exhibition industry to train staff and assist in security issues.

FACT also stands alongside the CEA and FDA in lobbying Government to make the illicit recording of a film in a cinema theatre a specific criminal offence.

Further details on the reward scheme, and on the broader fight against film theft can be found at the FACT film theft website.