FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2007
MOVIE THIEVES TANGLED IN SPIDER-MANâ€™S WEB
Theater employees, moviegoers prevent 31 real-life villains
from stealing Spider-Man 3 from theaters worldwide
Los Angeles â€“ Heightened security, vigilant theater employees and loyal film fans have
prevented 31 would-be movie thieves from illegally recording Sony Pictures Entertainmentâ€™s
Spider-Man 3 in theaters around the world, said the Motion Picture Association of America,
Inc. (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). Additional security
and other preventive measures at worldwide premieres and screenings kept the film out of
the hands of movie pirates prior to its release, which helped it shatter national and
international box office records during its opening weekend.
â€œSometimes even superheroes need a little help fighting the bad guys,â€ said Dan
Glickman, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. â€œWe are taking all necessary steps to catch
film thieves in the act and we are grateful to the theater managers, security guards,
projectionists and even movie patrons themselves, who alerted law enforcement. Their
willingness to speak up helped give Spider-Man 3 a fair shot at its record-setting opening.
These cases demonstrate the determination of film thieves to get their hands on major films,
and serve as a reminder as audiences gear-up for some of the most anticipated movies of the
year, that every screen is a point of vulnerability. We will continue to work closely with the
studios, theater owners and distributors on appropriate security measures, and appreciate the
continued vigilance of moviegoers in helping to protect these films.â€
â€œWith strategic leadership and assistance from the MPAA and Sony, movie theatre
employees and patrons around the world fought back successfully against illegal camcording
of Spider-Man 3,â€ said John Fithian, President and CEO of NATO. â€œFuture thieves beware:
we will find you; we will stop you; and we will have you arrested.â€
Specifically, since the world premiere of Spider-Man 3 on April 16 in Tokyo, movie
thieves were prevented from stealing the film from 22 theaters in Argentina, Germany,
Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Since the U.S. premiere on
May 4, camcorders were caught-in-the-act in nine U.S. movie theaters in California, Florida,
Indiana, New York and Texas.
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THEATRE OWNERS
Camcorders are at the top of the piracy pyramid, supplying more than 90% of newly
released movies that illegally end up on the Internet and in street markets around the world.
These recordings often appear online within days of a filmâ€™s theatrical release, triggering an
avalanche of illegal downloads that can significantly impact a filmâ€™s performance at the box
In anticipation of the release of Spider-Man 3, Sony conducted extensive outreach to
exhibitors and augmented their internal security by also contracting additional security
personnel for more than 160 pre-release screenings, as well as for the filmâ€™s eight premieres
around the world.
The MPAA and NATO work closely with theater employees to ensure that movies
are protected from camcorders. In May 2004, the MPAA and NATO introduced the Take
Action Reward Program, which rewards theatre employees up to $500 when they identify,
intercept, and report camcorder theft to law enforcement officers. Since the launch of the
program $38,500 has been awarded to 84 recipients. In 2006, the MPAA, NATO, the
Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA), and the Motion Picture
Theatre Association of Canada (MPTAC) launched FightFilmTheft.org, an online theatre
employee training program in the U.S. and Canada that has since expanded to include Latin
America. Theatre employees who participate in the online tutorial are eligible to receive
$300 (awarded every three months) for completing the training and taking a brief quiz at the
In 2005, President Bush signed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which
makes camcording in a theater a federal felony and establishes stiff penalties for illegally
obtaining, distributing and/or selling copies of films that have not yet been released
commercially. First-time violators can be sentenced to three and five years, respectively, for
these crimes and fined up to $250,000. The Motion Picture Association is campaigning for
similarly strict laws and enforcement in countries around the world.
Anti-camcord legislation has been adopted by some countries such as Italy and is
under consideration in other countries such as Japan and Mexico, and is a component of the
free-trade agreement that was recently negotiated with Korea. Given the extent of this
problem, it is important that more countries enact effective anti-camcord legislation as
studios release films day and date (almost simultaneously) around the world.
The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers,
distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lose more than $18 billion
annually as a result of movie theft. More than $7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal
Internet distributions, while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging.
About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American
motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Its members include: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution; Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures Entertainment
Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios, LLP; and Warner Bros.
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is the largest exhibition trade organization in the
world, representing more than 29,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in more than 40 countries worldwide.
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For more information, contact:
MPAA Los Angeles
NATO Los Angeles