“Avatar” Pirate Given A Pass Down Under

By J. Sperling Reich | March 2, 2010 3:57 pm PST

Here’s a new twist on the old story of camcorder piracy and movie theft. A recent news blip published in Australia’s Herald reported an incident in which movie theatre personnel at a cinema in Glendale spotted a man video taping a showing of “Avatar”. The catch is, the man was 88-years-old.

The cinema manager got the gentleman to stop recording and called the police. When authorities arrived the man, who was wearing large glasses and got around with the aid of a walking stick, informed them that he was recording the film for his wife who was unable to make it to the cinema.

While awfully kind of the man to be thinking of his wife, he was informed that such activity is illegal. The police proceeded to delete the movie from the man’s camcorder and let him sit through the rest of the film. As the Los Angeles Times points out, he may not have been let off the hook so easily in the United States, senior citizen or not. In 2005, the Motion Picture Association of America sued a 67-year-old man for $600,000 after pirated movies were downloaded onto his computer via a peer-to-peer service.

I wonder if the 88-year-old Australian man will get any credit simply for knowing how to work the camcorder or for his willingness to hold it through a movie that’s more than two-and-a-half hours long.

J. Sperling Reich