Jeremy Nicholas, a British TV reporter, was told that he wasn't allowed to bring his laptop into a Cineworld movie theater because the chain had taken the advice of FACT (The Federation Against Copyright Theft) and banned computers from cinemas "to prevent piracy." The cinema had no facility for securely storing laptops -- which are worth thousands in and of themselves and often contain crucial and invaluable private and commercial information -- and suggested that he leave the laptop in his car in the unguarded parking lot.
Like many copyright loonies, FACT have shown again and again that they have no respect for property or privacy. These are the same people who advise theater owners to take away peoples' mobile phones during preview screenings (and won't disclose the security steps taken to protect them). There has never been a case of a movie recorded on a mobile phone. There has also never been a case of a pre-release movie leaking from a preview screening. And, of course, there's never been a case of a movie being pirated by someone with a laptop. I don't even know how you'd try -- hold the laptop on your lap, facing away from you?
Fundamentally, FACT is saying that people who have jobs that involve carrying computers (e.g. every single person I know) shouldn't go to the movies unless they're lucky enough to go home first.
Again: the message is, "Stay away from the cinema."
He confirmed that they had no cloakroom style ticket system in place to make sure you get your computer back after you've handed it in. So despite them treating customers with suspicion, as though were are all bootleggers, we have to trust them to get our equipment back.
I asked if it would be OK to take my mobile phone into the film as that does have the capacity to record movies. He asked if I was planning to use it for that purpose. I said no. He said it would be all right then.
Not the most rigorous interrogation and one that a determined bootlegger probably could have passed.
Mind you by now I'd shown him my BBC pass, my NUJ press card and (by accident) my Oyster card.
While I was standing being grilled in front of everyone, I saw a number of customers (or suspects as Cineworld probably calls them) being ushered to their seats. Many had bags, but they weren't computer bags, so they were OK. They were handbags and rucksacks, all of which could have contained iPhones, flips and all manner of small recording devices.