Movie Studios Got Canadian Police To Arrest Movie Cammers As A Personal Favor

from the disgusting-abuse-of-power dept

You may recall a few years ago when the movie industry went ballistic on Canada, because it didn't have a criminal law against recording movies in theaters. With the way the industry and its supporters were talking about it, you would think that this meant people could record a movie and upload it with no legal problems, but that simply wasn't true. There were still civil laws against such recording, and the industry could enforce those. On top of that, there were still plenty of existing laws against distribution. Yet, there was a big campaign claiming that camcording in Canada was where 40 to 70% of all the leaked movies came from. This number was made up out of thin air, and seemed obviously false when another campaign for similar laws in New York City then claimed that 50% of camcorded movies online came from NYC. Either way, the lies about the numbers were effective. The industry got its law criminalizing recording a movie.

We've already discussed the Wikileaks releases on US influence on Canadian copyright law, but TorrentFreak points us to a particularly interesting cable on the subject of camcording in Canada. It kicks off with the embassy admitting that the movie industry was now claiming that perhaps only 18% of camcorded movies came from Montreal, despite an earlier claim that it was 40%. Not surprisingly, the MPAA only made a big stink when it claimed the numbers were in that 40% to 70% range... and was pretty quiet about the revised number.

The cable goes on to note that Canadian law enforcement thought the whole thing was pretty silly, and didn't believe camcording was a big deal. Instead, they (quite reasonably!) felt that their efforts would be better focused on stopping things like counterfeit pharmaceuticals from circulating. Later in the report is the really scary part, where Canadian law enforcement (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) admitted that a particular individual was arrested twice as a "personal favor" to the movie industry, despite his actions not actually breaking the law:
With regard to the arrest of the individual who had been pursued by the CMPDA, RCMP officers stated that they arrested the individual "as a personal favor" to a [movie industry] official, and that they did not view theater camcording as "a major issue."
The TorrentFreak article goes on to note the tragic details of the individual who was arrested -- again, despite not having broken any law, and apparently as a "personal favor" to someone in the movie industry:
The arrest triggered a chain of events which would lead to Adam, who had a history of depression, enduring a 14 month wait for any charges to be brought. He went on the run, was detained and eventually sentenced to jail. Adam began using drugs in jail to cope with his imprisonment and shortly after his release he tragically died of an overdose.
Nice "personal favor," huh?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Roland Latour, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Here in the US we have someone doing hard time in Federal Prison for importing orchids without the proper paperwork:
    http://www.economist.com/node/16636027
    And let's not forget Marc Emery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Overcriminalization

    I can't believe the prosecutor has so much power...

    Perhaps it's time to consider a look at our laws, and the effects they have on us.

    To have a man in jail for orchids is beyond ludicrous... How the hell is it that we've become such a society of "jail first, question later?"

    Should we worry that if we're speeding we'll be arrested on our first offence soon?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Spaceboy (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:39am

    Re: Overcriminalization

    We shouldn't be worried about being arrested for speeding on our first offense. We should be worried that we will be arrested for speeding because the speedometers in our cars all exceed the speed limit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    ...counterfeit pharmaceuticals...

    I can understand this if someone's selling blue sugar pills as Viagra, but I'm getting the feeling this is patent protection.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Squirrel Brains (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Overcriminalization

    It took me a second to figure out what you were getting at. But now that I do, very good point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    "Later in the report is the really scary part, where Canadian law enforcement (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) admitted that a particular individual was arrested twice as a "personal favor" to the movie industry, despite his actions not actually breaking the law"

    Um, the quote from the report certainly doesn't contain any admission that the guy's actions didn't violate the law.

    Also, if the guy did didn't break any law, what was he sentenced to jail for?

    Something doesn't add up.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Qritiqal (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    What doesn't add up is that you're (apparently) a human being and yet you can't understand how all of this violates human rights.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    I am in fact a human being.

    I don't think it's right for police to selectively enforce laws based on personal favors.

    I also don't think it's right to mislead and mischaracterize reports of police misconduct (or alleged misconduct...or anything, really).

    I think it is useful to call out such mischaracterizations, even if there are several valid points made by the same speaker.

    I don't think the validity of the main point of a speaker justifies using deceptive means to support that point.

    Does any of that fail to add up to you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    People who cannot add should be thrown in jail as a personal favor to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    Also, if the guy did didn't break any law, what was he sentenced to jail for?


    They used the arrest to find another law he broke. Everyone "breaks the law" somehow or another. But the camming itself was not a criminal law issue.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    I don't tend to use the word 'cabal'. but when I see an organization with an ill-defined membership that manipulates governments to pass sentences on its opponents and enact laws favorable to its operation, what other word is there?

    Well, besides "lobbying group."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Huph, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re:

    What law did they ultimately accuse him of breaking?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    At first, he was arrested for camming. Don't know if there were other charges trumped up at that point. He did run, though, so I am sure he was charged with jail time for that. Regardless, the charge he was originally arrested for, camming, was a crime he did not commit.

     

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  14.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:11am

    RCMP

    The RCMP is Canada's national police force. Most large cities have their own police force. The RCMP are notorious for being incompetent, at best, and corrupt, at worst. Here are some greatest hits for the RCMP:

    -Blew up a building in Alberta to try and "flush out" Weibo Ludwig who they suspected of being an eco-terrorist.

    -Claimed that Ian Bush and an officer were struggling for his gun when Ian was shot ... in the _back_ of the head.

    -Tasering Robert Dziekański to death.

    -Arrested Jason Nixon for killing a horse on the word of a crack addict who was just trying to get the $25K reward. Of course, Jason was eventaully found totally innocent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Jay (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Camming, which is a civil issue, not a criminal one. But a civil issue didn't require jail time. Essentially, they jailed him for petty theft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're saying they brought a civil charge in criminal court and he was convicted and sentenced to jail?

    Where are you getting this?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    According to the cable, camming is a "grey area" in terms of criminal law in Canada.

    Maybe you're right and the cable is wrong regarding camming being no violation of criminal law, but it would be nice to see some other support for that, since you're link doesn't give such support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I take it back. I see the cable does say that camcording in the theater is not illegal under Canadian law (presumably they're talking about criminal law).

    Still, I'm interested to know whether whatever they charged the guy with was related to the original arrest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Huph, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re:

    No no. He was a very popular "cammer", at least according to Torrentfreak comments. He most certainly did illegally film movies in the theater. He was supposedly one of the best--like fictional Jerry Seinfeld it seems.

    I want to know what he was sentenced for. It could be that he was charged with criminal infringement for distributing counterfeit goods, but I don't know. Maybe they found drugs in his house when seizing his cameras... it could be anything. It was a short sentence--two months--so I imagine it was a somewhat "minor" offense as far as prison sentences go. Two months is generally served in a jail.

    But you are right, running from the police generally adds several more charges, specifically if he fled jurisdiction and crossed territorial boundaries (although I have no idea of police procedure in Canada, but I imagine it's a little similar to the US)

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Man, I wish you could edit comments.

    Anyway, sounds like they didn't "use the arrest to find another law he broke," but that he actually broke the anti-camming law after it was passed, and was sentenced for that:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2010/03/16/film-pirating-sentencing.html

    Of course, relying on news reports for analysis of lawsuits is questionable.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Re: RCMP

    Forgetting the mass arrest around the Builderburg group much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The article linked above says he was arrested again *after* the new anti-recording law was passed, and implied he was sentenced for that violation.

    Of course, it also sounds like he was probably violating the law as it existed previously by distributing the movies he recorded.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Cowardly Anon, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    I'm going to bet he was jailed for running. His original crime wouldn't have warranted anything, but b/c he ran he was given a greater punishment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Huph, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, that explains the length of the sentence.

    Anyone else find it incredibly suspect that this guy's drug addiction and subsequent OD is being blamed on a 2 month sentence that wasn't fully served? And he was supposedly addicted to morphine, which I was once prescribed to take constantly for 6 weeks, 4-5 times daily, after surgery. Upon voicing my concern over taking something so heavy for so long, my doctor assured me that a physical morphine addiction takes a looong time to develop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Overcriminalization

    Because the US prison system is a business, the more people inside the more money the people in charge make. Why do you think they put people inside for Orchids!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I was thinking the exact same thing.

    The notion that the guy "began using drugs in jail" and went strait to morphine is a bit hard to swallow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    physical addictions aren't the same as mental. It takes a day of not smoking for the physical addiction to go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    physical and mental addictions are different. Physical means you body physically needs it to performs a function, usually something it used to do fine. Sometimes something it needs to do to keep you alive.

    Mental addiction is just a deep seeded craving. Often times it will override a persons ability to think logically or rationally in relation to taking the drug but there is no physical dependence.

    Morphine(or any opiate) has a very fast rate of mental addiction but a very slow rate of physical addiction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you mean mental goes away after a day. But it depends on the drug, physical dependency has a much harder and longer process of recovery, again depending on the drug.

    I agree we are not getting the full story here. The guy obviously had some issues before he went into jail and to blame this whole thing on the arrests is a bit much. But a guy is dead because he cammed movies, thats sad no matter how you slice it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But a guy is dead because he cammed movies, thats sad no matter how you slice it."

    Not sure if that's a safe conclusion to make.

    A guy cammed movies, went to jail, and he is dead. That doesn't mean there's a causal relationship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Etch, May 5th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    As a Canadian

    I remember this claim, it was all over Canadian radio and news! A bunch of major studios got together and decided to ban some of the blockbuster movies from being screened in Canada all together claiming these ridiculous numbers were true!
    And I remember feeling surprised, because as a movie buff in all of the 20 years I've been going to the movies in Canada, I don't remember ever seeing anyone pull out a camcorder!

    But then the so called "blockbusters" got terrible reviews and completely underperformed in the box office, and that year turned out to be one of the worst years for the movie industry, so they quickly backed off these claims.

    Its funny how these things work out, eh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the guy was famous for camming movies, was harassed by the Pd at the request of industry insiders. This harassment lead to imprisonment during which he developed a drug problem (or exacerbated and existing predilection for drug use) and shortly after being released he OD.

    It is certainly not an a+b=c situation. But if he wasn't picked up for doing something that is not criminally illegal by the police at the request of industry insiders he would probably not have developed his new found love of morphine. Was it his choice to cam movie and do drugs? certainly. Does it seem he was a little unstable to begin with? The medication mentioned certainly implied it. Would he have been arrested if not for someone calling in personal favors? Probably not.

    Is the industry or the "favor caller" directly to blame for his death? no. Did that favor set in motion of chain of events that led to his death? it would seem so.

    "But a guy is dead because he cammed movies, thats sad no matter how you slice it." seems to hold up

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But if he wasn't picked up for doing something that is not criminally illegal by the police at the request of industry insiders he would probably not have developed his new found love of morphine."

    First, the article I linked above says he was arrested and sentenced for something that *was* criminally illegal when he did it.

    Second, is there really any evidence of this notion that he never tried an opiate before being arrested or sentenced, other than speculation?

    Maybe that's true, but I see no reason to believe that's "probably" true. It makes a nice narrative, for sure, but that doesn't make it true.

    I still don't see why people are assuming this guy would not have engaged in the same type of drug use had he not gone to jail? Is there some evidence of that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I still don't see why people are assuming this guy would not have engaged in the same type of drug use had he not gone to jail?"

    just the statements his GF made in the torrent freak article.

    Though rereading that article it seems to say he only served 7 days of his sentence....seems like he didn't wait long to chase the dragon

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    trish, May 5th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

    canadian police

    they are power-tripping meatheads. Though I'm pretty sure that is a pre-requisite to be in any police force anywhere. Not because you're an officer that you automatically have ethics. power corrupts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    trish, May 5th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

    canadian police

    they are power-tripping meatheads. Though I'm pretty sure that is a pre-requisite to be in any police force anywhere. Not because you're an officer that you automatically have ethics. power corrupts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Tony (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 7:08am

    America

    Murders yet another non American - way to go...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 7:20am

    Re: America

    "HE was clearly an enemy combatant, honest, Your Honour! He was camming for profit to pass on to Osama Bin-Laden!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Overcriminalization

    > we will be arrested for speeding because the speedometers
    > in our cars all exceed the speed limit.

    Inducement to speeding!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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