Cinemagoers to be screened

PUBLISHED: 12:54 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

CINEMAGOERS will have their bags searched as they enter Cineworld in Stevenage after it was revealed that half of all pirated films in the UK are made there. A Cineworld spokes-man refused to comment on whether they believe the piracy is being carried ou

CINEMAGOERS will have their bags searched as they enter Cineworld in Stevenage after it was revealed that half of all pirated films in the UK are made there.

A Cineworld spokes-man refused to comment on whether they believe the piracy is being carried out by staff or customers.

But he did say staff will be using random bag searches and making customer announcements asking the public to remain vigilant.

The revelation came to light when the cinema was dropped from a national newspaper's list of those offering film previews.

Al Alvarez, Cineworld's vice president, said in an email to a concerned customer: "Stevenage was pulled out of these [preview screenings] when the film distributors refused to give us advanced prints due to film piracy concerns."

He added: "Fifty per cent of all pirated films in the UK come from Cineworld Stevenage, hence our active search procedures at that site."

A Cineworld spokesman said: "In order for Cineworld to continue to show new release films and early preview screenings at Cineworld Stevenage, an undertaking has had to be made to the film distributors, that every effort will be taken to combat film and video piracy in the UK."

According to FACT (The Federation Against Copy-right Theft) film piracy costs the UK industry one billion pounds a year.

It is known that organised crime has taken up film piracy as an effective means of generating funds for other serious criminal activity and for laundering money.

A FACT spokes-man said: "Not only is film piracy damaging the industry, it also hits the consumer as more often than not the pirate version of any film is substandard and often defective and a poor relation to the genuine article.

"For example fake DVDs are often produced using a camcorder version filmed in an auditorium or other analogue source material.

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