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Movie Studio Fights Pirated Movies By Hiring Undercover Guards

Movie Studio Fights Pirated Movies By Hiring Undercover Guards

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio Warner Brothers movie studios is dealing with a formal complaint after something that reportedly happened at a special screening in Salt Lake City.

It happened during an advanced screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on St. Patrick's Day at the Megaplex at The Gateway. Theater officials say they just recently learned about it.

"We've asked them that if there is anything we can assist them in, helping them with anything, or if a guest comes out and voices a concern or a complaint or a problem, that the manager on duty at the theater be made aware of the problem," says Cal Gundersen, the Megaplex Theater film buyer.

Gundersen says their security was not in charge of that theater at the time. He says, "They come in to the theater and they rent the theater, rent the auditorium from us. They provide their own people and representatives to monitor the theater and make sure that it's OK during their showings."

According to Salt Lake City Police, one woman claims she was hit in the back by someone working for Warner Brothers while she was using her cell phone. "Piracy is probably the number one concern for the whole motion picture industry in North America," says Gundersen.

Salt Lake City investigators say they took statements from both sides, and the studio claims they can prove the incident did not happen the way the woman claims. But, Gundersen says studios will not take any chance of someone recording their films, even on a cell phone. He says pirates don't care if a movie is good or bad, they want copies. He says, "Anything they can make a copy of and sell it, that's money in their pockets, so it's with every film that comes out."

But, no matter how big the movie studio is, they can't watch everyone inside a theater during a special screening, can they? Actually, they can. Cal Gundersen says, "Studios will hire an independent security service to come in and monitor the theater, inside of the theater while the movie is going on." Some of these security personnel are undercover. "These are usually men and women that they hire, the studios, to come in, and they're dressed in a suit and a tie."

It was one of these undercover guards involved in the incident in question. Gundersen says the studios will bring out the really big guns for what they think will be the blockbusters. He says, "They will have night vision goggles to where they can actually scan the theater and scan to see if people have any devices running while the show is going on."

Gundersen says no matter what the studios try, pirates seem to be one step ahead. He says, chances are, there already is a bootleg copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even though it just came out a few days ago.

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