UK cinema copyright warnings: a call to action

I went and saw Troy, Brad Pitt's new men-in-skirts movie last night, at the big Odeon in Leicester Square, paying £10.50 for the privilege. Not that I begrudge it: apparently, acquiring the rights to the Iliad was very expensive, and they have to charge a small fortune to viewers if they hope to recoup.

I don't even begrudge them the 30 minutes' worth of commercials they subjected their captive audience to. Well, I did. But I didn't let it get to me.

What did get to me was this warning, shown before nearly every film in the UK:

"You are not permitted to use any camera or recording equipment in this cinema. This will be treated as an attempt to breach copyright. Any person doing so can be ejected and such articles may be confiscated by the police. We ask the audience to be vigilant against any such activity and report any matters arousing suspicion to cinema staff. Thank you."

Every time I see this, my blood boils. I just paid a fortune to see this movie, I've been subjected to 500 percent concession stand markup and half an hour of commercials and now you're going to give me a little lecture about how badly I'll get beaten up if I turn out to be a pirate, and ask me to snitch on my fellow moviegoers?

It's adding insult to injury, if you ask me. It's unforgivably rude.

So here's what I've started doing: whenever this warning is screened, I take a very obvious flash photo of it. I've done it twice now, and both times, I got a round of applause. You can do it too. If we all do it, if we all laugh and boo when this warning comes on, maybe the movie companies will get the picture.