In Montreal cinemas, movie pirates One in six copies of movies stolen from the screen comes from the city, an industry group says. By CHRIS FOURNIER Bloomberg News MONTREAL Pirates of the Caribbean aren't the only thieves appearing in Vince Guzzo's movie theaters. So many patrons have smuggled video recorders into Guzzo's 12 Montreal cinemas to pirate films, he's using night-vision night-vision night-vision goggles to catch them in the dark. "I caught four people trying trying to camcord Pirates of the Caribbean," said Guzzo, 38. "There are two types of people people doing this: One type does it for kicks, then you have the professional criminal." Guzzo's experience shows how Montreal's so-called so-called so-called cam-mers cam-mers cam-mers are a headache for Hollywood Hollywood studios. Guzzo said he has caught about a dozen, including one who tried to record with a camera hidden inside a motorcycle helmet. One in six movie copies made by illegally recording from the screen originates in Montreal, according to the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Distributors Association, whose members include Time Warner Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment Entertainment and News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox. Bootlegs made in Montreal have turned up for sale as DVDs in 45 countries, said Serge Corriveau, an investigator investigator for the group. "If it gets recorded on Friday, Friday, it hits the street on Saturday," Saturday," said Barry Newstead, a Toronto-based Toronto-based Toronto-based vice president and general manager at Twentieth Century Fox. "It has a huge impact." The Motion Picture Association Association of America estimates that film piracy cost producers, producers, distributors, theaters, video shops and pay-per-view pay-per-view pay-per-view pay-per-view pay-per-view television operators $18.2 billion billion in lost revenue in 2005. Illegal copies also are made from advance DVDs issued for reviewing and marketing, and from stolen prints. Canada is paying a price for tolerating pirates. Warner Warner Bros, in May canceled promotional screenings in Canada, saying 70 percent of its releases had been cammed there in the previous 18 months. The International Intellectual Property Alliance, Alliance, which represents 1,900 U.S. companies that produce films, books, software and other goods protected by copyright, placed Canada alongside China and Russia on its list of worst offenders. Bowing to the pressure, the federal government changed the criminal code in June. Cammers now face as long as two years in jail for recording in a theater. Police previously had to prove intent to distribute in order to bring charges. One Ottawa man was arrested arrested under the new law in June and will appear in court in September. Peel Regional Police, a municipal force, said they arrested 18 people this month and seized more than 40,000 DVDs with a street value of C$800,000 ($760,000). Most of the movies were still playing in theaters, said Gary Osmond, an investigator for the Canadian distributors association. association. Cammers are hard to catch because they use devices devices that have a night mode for recording in the dark and disseminate pirated films over the Internet, according to a former Montreal cammer who asked to remain anonymous. anonymous. He said the illegality of the act is its allure, and being first to record a new movie bestows status among 1 1 M ' 1 1 mm iff jL.tr 1 ' ;J ti A man stands at a Cinema Guzzo megaplex in Montreal. Owner Vince Guzzo's uses night-vision night-vision night-vision cammers. A good-quality good-quality good-quality copy can fetch as much as $3,000 for cammers, according to the motion picture association. Guzzo said he thinks only one of the cammers he caught was in it for the money, while the rest did it for kicks. "I compare them with hackers," said Royal Canadian Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. Noel St-Hilaire, St-Hilaire, St-Hilaire, leader of a Montreal-based Montreal-based Montreal-based team that investigates movie piracy. piracy. "You're screwing the system." The furtive recordings make their way to illicit DVD markets like the ones in Toronto's Pacific Mall, where 400 tightly packed shops sell everything from car parts to plane tickets. Recent releases such as Spider-Man Spider-Man Spider-Man 3 and The Simpsons Simpsons Movie can be had for about C$4. Cammers may target Montreal Montreal movie houses because they show blockbuster movies in French as well as English, said Corriveau, who worked for the RCMP for 27 years. Films dubbed in French tend to be released in Montreal first, so copies may be the first to reach other French-language French-language French-language markets, said Pat Marshall, a spokeswoman for Cineplex Entertainment LP, which operates 14 theaters in Montreal. Film enthusiasts such as Dan Yates say that studio executives are blaming cammers cammers for a problem that is their own fault. "Anytime I've seen a downloaded downloaded movie that's a pirated copy, it's really good quality, and those can only come from within the industry," said Yates, an employee at Montreal DVD exchange shop La Legende. "Most people aren't going to watch camera jobs because they're really bad quality." Hollywood is exaggerating exaggerating the camcording effect in order to portray Canada as a flourish JOHN MORSTADBloomberg goggles to catch 'cammers' who sneak video recorders recorders in to copy movies. Copies can net $3,000. piracy haven, said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and specialist Internet law. "If camcording is a problem, problem, it's a very small problem," problem," Geist said. The studios had $42.6 billion of revenue last year, according to the Hollywood Reporter newspaper. Nonetheless, cammers changing the moviegoing experience in Montreal. Guzzo searches customers' for recording equipment. Cineplex Entertainment uses night-vision night-vision night-vision goggles rewards employees who cammers. Fans may be the last of defense. Audiences not tolerate activity that others see movies without buying a ticket. "If they notice anything our theaters, they're bringing bringing it to the attention of local management," Cineplex Entertainment's Marshall said. "Consumers are helping."