The long hand of RIAA or simple plain dumbness ?

Went with my wife yesterday to see Master & Commanderat Hollywood Multiplex, the only cinema multiplex in Bucharest (that is, until June 2004 when they’ll finish the one that they’re building just 500m away from where I live, which supposedly is a positive thing). It’s a great movie, less haunted by the usual clichés and I do recommend it. But that’s not the subject.

At the beginning of the movie we had the right to see a nice scrolling text on the screen, proving that RIAA&friends had already thrown some stones in the troubled waters of Romanian (quickly growing !) DVD/DIVX market. “In order to protect author rights, usage of video recording devices in the Multiplex is strictly forbidden. Please note that in case of infringement, your camera will be immediately confiscated.” Well, we are already a little on the abusive side (they COULD retain the camera and give it back to you at the end of the movie, don’t they ?). But there’s more : “Dear customers, please watch carefully around you. Should you see any video recording device, please report immediately to Multiplex staff.” Now, that’s really murky. First, I have paid my ticket and just want to eat that damn popcorn and watch the movie, not spy on my neighbors. Second, it is not my job to assure that the rules are respected in the cinema. It’s for the first time I see anything like this. Is delation promoted as common practice by the copyright-protecting agencies or just the Multiplex guys stupidly over-zealous ?

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