An influential House of Lords Committee has given its backing to cinema industry demands for specific legislation criminalising the recording of films in cinemas.
Following evidence give by both CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp and other key representatives from the sector, the Lords Communications Committee Report on the British Film and Television Industries, published this week, stated that:
“Irrespective of the outcome of the test case on camcording of films in cinemas, we remain concerned that the law is unclear and provides insufficient deterrent to abuse. We recommend that the Government reconsider the case for specific legislation to make it a criminal offence to record a film in a cinema by camcorder (para. 129).”
Welcoming the Lords Committee’s statement, Phil Clapp said:
“The CEA very much welcomes this strong statement by the Committee. At a time when cinema is enjoying extraordinary levels of success, we need to do all we can to protect those making, distributing and showing films in the cinema.
Film theft remains a key threat to the industry’s continued prosperity. While we have had some success in prosecuting film thieves under the Fraud Act, as the Lords Committee so clearly state, a specific offence around taking recording equipment into a cinema would send a strong signal about the importance of tackling this issue.”
In a wide-ranging report, the Lords Committee also gave its backing to ongoing cross-industry action on the industry transition to digital projection. Demonstrating support for direction of travel set by the CEA-backed UK Digital Funding Group, the Committee said that:
“We urge the Government, the UK Film Council and the organisations representing the exhibition sector to find a way of completing the digital equipping of cinemas in the UK which, as necessary, provides help to smaller independent cinemas to purchase or lease digital equipment. (para 123).”
The Government now has two months to respond to the recommendations. The CEA urges Ministers to support and implement the Committee’s recommendations.
The full report from the Lords Communications Committee on the British Film and Television Industries can be found at www.parliament.uk.