Illegal recordings of films, made by means of hand held video cameras during their theatrical screening, are the primary source for distributing copies worldwide. Said copies are, then, uploaded to the Internet and made available, within hours, to millions of people.

In order to combat said phenomenon (known as “camcording”), Greek film distribution companies use “warning notices”, prior to films’ screening, that explicitly forbid the use of any kind of camera /recording device, inside the cinema, stating that such action constitutes a violation of the IP rights in the film and that, when caught in act, the devices are immediately confiscated.

Greek Copyright Law, provides a very severe framework, according to which copying by any means or form, in whole or partly of the original or copies of a film, for non- private use, is a criminal offense, punishable with imprisonment of 1 to 10 years and pecuniary penalty of 3.000- 60.000 Euros. In this case, the offender would usually claim that he made a copy for private use (and not commercial use); of course the validation of this argument would always be examined, under the particular circumstances. It is notable that Greek law does not “legitimize” the reproduction of a work for “private use”, if it conflicts with the normal exploitation of the work or prejudices the legitimate interests of the author.

In addition to the “severe” pro Copyright framework provided under copyright law, in order to prevent “camcording”, Greek distributors maintain public awareness while cinema proprietors specifically train cinema staff, in order to make regular inspections, during films’ theatrical screenings as well as to use special equipment (such as night vision glasses), especially when a film is theatrically performed for the first time, in Greece.

Irini Daroussou