The first cinema audiences to watch the new Harry Potter film are going to be spied on by cinema ushers armed with high tech Night Vision equipment
"Harry Potter and the wizard idea to foil cinema pirates
Monday May 31, 2004
Cinema ushers across Britain go into action today with a new piece of equipment which makes their ice-cream trays and hand torches look tame.
Military-style night-sights have been sent to every outlet in the country showing the new Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Staff have been instructed to spend all two hours and 22 minutes of the film scanning the dark - for pirates making illegal copies"
Will Warner Bothers succeed in exporting Night Vision equipment to the Lebanon or Syria to police the Harry Potter film in the Middle East ?
The US Government takes a dim view (literally) of Night Vision equipment in the wrong hands and are prosecuting a man caught in another entrapment/sting operation for supposedly trying to export such equipment to Hezbollah terrorists in the Lebanon
It does not matter how "discreet" the cinema spies claim to be, the chances are that they will never find a single unauthorised film bootlegger, but they will invade the privacy of thousands of their customers.
Copyright infringement , despite the hype from the vested commercial interests, is not a Crime , it is a Civil matter.
As such, it does not justify the abuse of privacy which the police would have to show suspicion of a Serious Crime, and get the written permission of a senior officer to conduct Surveillance, as per the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 part 2 with the sort of Night Vision equipment that is being deployed by Warner Brothers.
What other infrared or light multiplier CCTV cameras have been or are being installed to spy on cinema audiences who have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the darkness during a film performance ?
We would remind Warner Brothers and the staff at cinemas about the new offence of Voyeurism under Section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with a penalty of up to 2 years in jail.
It could be argued, that decades of custom and practice have made cinemas, when the lights are dimmed, into places where romantic couples often engage in "private acts" and that they "do not consent" to being observed or recorded.
(1) A person commits an offence if-
(a) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he observes another person doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that the other person does not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.
(2) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he operates equipment with the intention of enabling another person to observe, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, a third person (B) doing a private act, and
(b) he knows that B does not consent to his operating equipment with that intention.
(3) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he records another person (B) doing a private act,
(b) he does so with the intention that he or a third person will, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, look at an image of B doing the act, and
(c) he knows that B does not consent to his recording the act with that intention.
(4) A person commits an offence if he instals equipment, or constructs or adapts a structure or part of a structure, with the intention of enabling himself or another person to commit an offence under subsection (1).
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable-
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.
68 Voyeurism: interpretation
(1) For the purposes of section 67, a person is doing a private act if the person is in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and-
(a) the person's genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only with underwear,
(b) the person is using a lavatory, or
(c) the person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
(2) In section 67, "structure" includes a tent, vehicle or vessel or other temporary or movable structure"