Hollywood's Other Embattled Pirates

The movie industry wages high-tech war on DVD pirates in Asia


| May 31, 2007


A uniformed man steps into a dark theater, pulls night-vision goggles over his eyes, and scans the audience for perps. He's not part of some elite counter-terrorism unit. And this isn't a scene out of a movie. It's a scene out of a movie theater, in Malaysia, where, according to a Reuters report, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has begun equipping ushers with 'military-style night-vision goggles' to help spot industrious moviegoers making illegal recordings with camcorders or mobile phones. The MPA, which represents the major Hollywood studios globally, claims that 17 modern-day pirates have been nabbed by the goggled ushers in the past two months.

The MPA's efforts in Malaysia are only one facet of 'Operation Tripod,' a 13-country anti-piracy offensive launched by the industry group at the beginning of May in Asia as part of its ongoing campaign to tamp down on the millions of pirated DVDs executives claim -- some say hyperbolically -- are emptying theaters and draining profits. Besides focusing on in-theater recording, Operation Tripod has allied with Asian authorities to quell illegal DVD production. In one six-week period this spring, the MPA and the Royal Thai Police pulled in 308 DVD recorders, MPA senior vice president Mike Ellis tells the Indian website Business of Cinema.com. Another tack, reports the Toronto Star, has been to show a trailer in Singapore that tracks 'a thief swinging in from a helicopter and dodging lasers, trying to steal a DVD.' The culprit is, of course, swiftly caught.

Go there >> Cinemas Use Night Goggles to Nab Pirates

Go there, too >> Thai Police Seizes Movie Piracy Material



Go there, too >> Anti-Piracy Campaign Starts in Singapore

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