PreVail Cammer Arrested
February 17, 2009
It's no secret that watermark technology has become part of the theatrical film experience. Although largely invisible to most individuals, those with an eye for the technology will spot the watermarks, which typically appear as a set of arranged dots. These dots, when arranged in a specific manner, indicate the film's exact theatrical location.
Watermark technology gives investigators a powerful tool. When a movie shows up online, investigators will know where the film was recorded. This is known as camming, which refers to the art of sitting in a theater with a video/audio capturing device, and from there distributing it in the physical or digital market. Online release groups such as PreVail depend on cammers in order to keep their supply of movie releases flowing.
Unfortunately for one alleged cammer, who provided his work to PreVail, the watermark technology finally caught up to him. An Australian man was arrested on February 13 and his residence was raided by New South Whales Police. According to the MPA's press release, police seized:
"…sophisticated video camcording equipment, and computer equipment. The video camcording equipment is alleged to have been used for making illegal video recordings of a number of latest release titles including “He’s Just Not That Into You”, “Marley and Me”, “Yes Man”, “Bedtime Stories”, and “Beverley Hills Chihuahua”."
PreVail is a well know release group, and the loss of one cammer won't pose a significant threat to their ability to provide releases. It's a surprising arrest in any event - typically release groups and cammers go out of their way to eliminate any watermarking evidence. But this one slipped through the cracks. The alleged cammer in this circumstance has posted bail, and is awaiting arraignment.