The FBI in Northern California takes the issue of illegally recording movies with a camcorder in a movie theater very seriously. To date, 38 people have been arrested and Arshad Madhani, 21, of Duluth, Georgia, when he admitted to his part in the operation, was the 36th person in the case to be convicted for violation a statute, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which now specifically prohibits the unauthorized copying of a movie in a movie theater using camcorder equipment.
The ongoing investigation is code named Operation Copycat.
At his hearing, Madhani admitted to obtaining and then releasing movies that had been recorded in this manner, as well as software, as well as ordering others to do the same. The movies that they have been accused of copying are “Elizabethtown,” “Firewall,” “Benchwarmers,” “The Sentinel,” “Akeelah and the Bee,” “Over The Hedge,” “XMen,” “Just My Luck,” “The Breakup,” “Saving Shiloh,” “See No Evil,” “Cars,” “Click,” “You Me and Dupree,” “Lady in the Water,” “Monster House.”
They then proceeded to make the movies available on a warez computer network. A warez network is one that is used for the purpose of distributing movies that have been made in violation of the copyright laws. By putting them on this type of network they made them accessible to others via the Internet. Madhani was paid for supplying prerelease movies to others on the warez site, usually through an online account.
He admitted to these specific actions. First he admitted to actually being a cammer by using a cam corder himself and directing others to use a cam corder to copy the movies. He also admitted to being an encoder, which means he removed and or altered the copyright information from the copies of the movies and he also admitted to being a racer by trying to be the first to record and distribute the movies and get them on the internet before anyone else.
He also admitted to removing anything that could identify the movie, including the title, the name of the author and the ID numbers and any other symbols that could be used to identify the movie.
While defendant Madhani is the 36th person convicted overall and the third person in the case to be convicted specifically for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, he is the first known person to be prosecuted for violating the DMCA provision for removing copyright management information
The previous convictions that arose out of Operation Copycat include the conviction of David M. Fish, 24, of Watertown, Connecticut in Feb of 2006 and Kevin Smith, of Columbia, Missouri in May of 2006.
When he is sentenced Madhani could face the following penalties. For violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 5 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and three years supervised release. For the Unauthorized Recording of Motion Pictures in a Motion Picture Exhibition Facility, and Aiding and Abetting, 3 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years supervised release. There is also mandatory assessment ot $100 for each conviction
Source The FBI http://sanfrancisco.fbi.gov/