This article was updated at 7:20 p.m.
The LAPD has made the first arrests in California under a new state law that makes camcorder recording of movies a criminal act.
According to the MPAA, which lobbied heavily for the bill before it passed in September, Min Jae Joun was arrested Saturday at the Grove while recording “The Passion of the Christ” and Ruben Centeno was caught Monday taping “The Alamo” at the Pacific Winnetka Theater.
Both men have yet to be arraigned.
New law, which went into effect Jan. 1, makes using a camcorder to record a film a misdemeanor offense. If found guilty, the alleged pirates could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
“I want to thank Chief Bratton and others in Los Angeles law enforcement for helping to stem the tide of thievery of one of America’s greatest assets — motion pictures,” said MPAA topper Jack Valenti. “It is my hope that this arrest will send a clear signal to others that such crimes will not be tolerated.”
The Motion Picture Assn. of America estimates that more than 50 pics were illegally recorded by camcorders between May 2002 and May 2003.
Piracy problem is much broader, however, as shown by the recent guilty plea by Russell Sprague, who pirated Academy screeners from actor Carmine Caridi, and the arrest of employees at post house Lighting Media who were allegedly engaged in a piracy ring.
According to AT&T Labs, 77% of popular movies being illegally traded online were leaked by Hollywood insiders.
A new study by consultancy Deloitte & Touche found that combined piracy of film, music and vidgame is costing the entertainment industry $13.6 billion-$15.1 billion per year.
Company found online movie piracy represents lost revenue of $3 billion-$4 billion, while illegal DVDs and other hard-copy piracy cost the industry $3 billion-$3.5 billion.