A Sunderland man has been convicted after illegally recording newly-released films at two local cinemas and posting them on the internet.
Jordan Quartermain, 21, of Shelbourne Road, Sunderland, was yesterday (Thursday, May 31) sentenced to a two-year community order with 200 hours of unpaid work when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court as a result of his crimes which spanned 11 months.
In total, Quartermain pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud and copyright infringement. They were two counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, two counts of distributing articles which infringe copyright, and one count of conspiracy to distribute articles which infringed copyright.
The prosecution followed an investigation by the Film Content Protection Agency (FCPA) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) when information was received that a film, Ant Man, had been illegally recorded at the Empire Cinema in Sunderland in July 2015.
Several months later further pirated versions of two films, Deadpool and London Has Fallen, were found and shown to have been recorded at the same cinema.
A suspect was identified and the matter was referred to Northumbria Police. Quartermain was arrested at the cinema after committing a further offence on March 10, 2016.
Various items, including a laptop computer and smart phone belonging to the offender, were seized and subsequently forensically examined.
The computer showed Quartermain had illegally distributed 17 films online between April 2015 and March 2016.
Chief Inspector Michelle Robson, of Northumbria Police, said: “This kind of crime is not victimless – thousands of jobs rely on the cinema trade and protecting our creative industries is of great importance.
“This is another great example of police working efficiently with our partners to bring an offender to justice.
“Hopefully this case acts as a reminder that such activity is not acceptable and we will continue to pursue people believed to be committing or deliberately facilitating such offences.”
Simon Brown, Director of the Film Content Protection Agency (FCPA), added: “This was a particularly egregious case in which numerous films were illegally recorded and released online.
“These actions not only damage the prospects of emerging as well as more experienced filmmakers, but can also diminish the choices available to public audiences.
“As most pirated films originate from copies taken in cinemas worldwide, it’s vital that offenders are identified as swiftly as possible, and we thank all parties involved in bringing Mr Quartermain to justice.”