The CEA has welcomed the lengthy custodal sentence given today to a man convicted of recording a film in a cinema theatre and then distributing that content online.

Following a private prosecution brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) at Wolverhampton Crown Court under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Philip Danks was convicted of the recording, uploading and distribution of the film Fast and Furious 6.

Both Danks and his co-defendant Michael Bell pleaded guilty on full facts to a joint count of distribution relating to a torrent of the film and Danks pleaded guilty to two further counts of distribution relating to physical discs supplied before and after his arrest.

Danks was convicted of going to the Showcase cinema in Walsall in May 2013 and using a camcorder to record Fast and Furious 6 on the first day it was released anywhere in the world. The film was uploaded onto the Internet and subsequently downloaded more than 700,000 times causing millions of pounds of loss to Universal Pictures and the audio-visual industry in the UK. Danks also used Facebook to offer copies of the film for sale, alongside other well-known films.

Sentencing Danks to 33 months’ imprisonment and Bell to a community service order, His Honour Judge Raynor said the case was unusual because of the presence of so many aggravating factors including that Danks actually recorded the film, it was the first release worldwide and Danks ensured that he also sold physical copies of the film through Facebook.

The CEA has welcomed today’s sentence, Chief Executive Phil Clapp commenting:

‘The lengthy custodial sentence handed down to Philip Danks today gives an important message on the increasing seriousness with which our courts rightly view film theft. I join those across the UK cinema industry in thanking FACT colleagues for all their hard work in bringing this case, and congratulate them on this excellent outcome.’

Download the full FACT press notice.