A man from North-West London has been jailed for six months, after admitting to fraudulently filming Hollywood movies at a Vue cinema and then distributing the wares illegally online.
Emmanuel Nimley, 22, of Lincoln Road in Harrow, used his iPhone to take fuzzy recordings of The Crazies, Alice In Wonderland and The Green Zone before he was caught and arrested by police for filming The Bounty Hunter in March this year.
In August Nimley pleaded guilty to 10 charges under sections six and seven of the 2006 Fraud Act, and section 107/1(e) of the 1998 Copyright Designs and Patents Act.
It’s not the first case of its kind, as there have been recent successful court actions against the recording of films in UK cinemas, after prosecutors cited the Fraud Act. However, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) claimed it was the first time someone had been handed jail time for such an offence in Blighty.
“It may be suggested in some quarters especially among young people that this is harmless fun and film in the cinema is fair game,” said Judge John Anderson of Harrow Crown Court, who sentenced Nimley on 17 September.
“It is not. Your action was a deliberate cheat on the film companies and the film industry. Fraudulently making and distribution of copies for whatever purpose and whatever quality has the effect of depriving the film industry of revenue.
“In current society it's difficult to imagine an audience wider than the internet having access to such illegal material. Your dishonesty strikes at the heart of that industry.
"This was deliberately planned and carefully executed offending which I have no doubt would have continued if you had not been caught.”
Nimley, who uploaded his poorly-recorded bounty of films onto a website called quicksilverscreen.com, did not actually make any money out of his fraudulent venture, the judge noted.
The UK’s Cinema Exhibitors’ Association’s boss Phil Clapp applauded the sentencing.
“For a long time now, the industry has been lobbying Government for a specific camcording offence. At the same time however, we have been working with colleagues in FACT and various Government Departments, to bring film thieves to book under the existing Fraud Act legislation,” he said.
“The sentence handed down to Emmanuel Nimley, and the judge's unequivocal condemnation of the impact of film theft, is hugely welcome. I congratulate colleagues at FACT and at Vue Entertainment who worked so had to achieve this result.”
As we previously reported, the CEA and other flick industry bodies have complained that the UK government lags behind Europe and the US because there’s no specific legislation that can be used in a charge such as the one against Nimley. ®