back to article Cinema iPhone pirate escapes jail in test case appeal

A Harrow man who was thrown in jail for six months for fraudulently filming Hollywood films at a Vue cinema saw his sentence successfully quashed on appeal to a 12-month community order. Emmanuel Nimley, 22, of Lincoln Road in Harrow, North West London, had his case heard at the Criminal Court of Appeal on Wednesday (20 …


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  1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

    Bloody hell!

    I'm sure it was said when this story first broke, but what a collection of quality films!

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Ahh, yes, cinemas, I remember those...

    Too expensive

    Too dirty

    Too noisy

    1. LuMan

      Must've been a while ago.....

      Admittedly they're more expensive than renting a DVD or BD, but the screen is MUCH bigger and most of the cinemas I go to employ cleaners...

      Having said that, the volume does tend to result in aural bleeding....

  3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Jobs Halo


    Whatever, but is he not banned from owning or using an jPhone for the next 20 years?

    1. Tempest
      Jobs Horns

      He should have been sentenced to using his 'camera'

      As it's call dropping features must be more frustrating than almost anything else

  4. Graham Bartlett

    Reduced sentence

    If he was watching The Bounty Hunter, maybe they thought he'd suffered enough.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Even so

    I'm gobsmacked you could even get sentenced for six months for a crime like this.

  6. lansalot


    That seems like a very light sentence, especially as he was obviously funding people trafficking, child-prostitution and terrorism... or have I been mis-informed ?

  7. Jon Wilson

    I do not think it means what you think it means

    "Quashed" is not the right word. He's had his sentence reduced. If it was quashed he'd no longer be convicted of the offence.

    1. lpopman

      titular stuff

      The Custodial Sentence was quashed, and was replaced by a Community Order.


  8. R J Tysoe


    Really, who would want to watch a film that's been recorded on an iPhone in a cinema? I think the courts are doing the film viewing public a favour here, let alone FACT.

    I wish I could use the Pirate icon with the FAIL icon...

    1. justanotheruser

      Re: Why?

      I think somebody is forgetting just how good that iPhone is. To quote the technical specifications of the iPhone 4, "Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio".

      1. Steven Knox

        Video Killed the Radio Star

        Well, since the article says he committed the crime in "March this year", and the iPhone 4 was released in June, I'd have to assume he was using at best a 3GS, which has only VGA resolution at 30fps -- unless he was another Apple staffer careless with his test model...

      2. M Gale

        So.. get a high-definition 720p image of someone's head wandering past the screen, and 48khz professional quality hollering and cheering from the dumb fucks who just have to go to a cinema on the first day of a new release and pretend it's a football match?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


          "High definition" 720p image shot through a crappy microscopic lens + 48kHz "professional" audio recorded through a crappy microscopic microphone then both compressed until all living daylight are squeezed out of them can hardly qualify as "theft" of a cinematic masterpiece.

          Perhaps FACT implies that its members' movies are such dross that no matter how bad is the quality of the recording they can't look any worse than they already are on the big screen.

          Otherwise, surely, they would have been too embarrassed to even call the off-the-screen recordings "piracy" let alone humiliate themselves by suing the "pirates".

  9. CraigRoberts


    Caught pirating a Jennifer Aniston rom-com... Poor bastard... He has to live with that shame for the rest of his life... :(

  10. Stuart Ross
    Paris Hilton


    Hang on a second. He recorded the movies on an iPhone?? Who on earth would want to watch something in the wonderfully crappy quality you'd get from that?

    At least smuggled a HD camera in and a Tripod for gods sake.

    Paris because at least her images are clear.....sadly.

  11. Tempest

    Another junior judge gets a lesson

    How can anyone get anything near an acceptable copy of anything using any phone? You need at least a monopod (1 legged tripod) to stabilise the camera.

    The guy was stupid to even try recording it. Now he has a record ... for nothing.

  12. Cameron Colley

    I still don't understand how it's fraud?

    If someone posts "Alice In Wonderland CAM" on TPB, for example, then how is that fraud? Surely anyone going to the site and downloading it knows what it is: A copyright-breaking bad-quality camcorder recording?* If he was caught flogging DVDs labelled as the real thing then fine, it's fraud, even if someone of average intelligence ought to be asking how he could produce copies of a blockbuster early for £5 or whatever.

    As things stand, why was it even possible to bring a fraud case?

    *another thing that amazes me is that people watch these -- but that's another question.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will be listed on Limewire as a DVD rip

      And probably not even of the same film.

      Those are the people that need taking out and shot...

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: It will be <etc>

        No, the people who should be taken out and shot are those downloading crap from Lime^H^H^H^HTrojanwire. It's the computing equivalent of dropping your kecks, rubbing half a pound of Kerrygold into your arsehole, grabbing your ankles and shouting: "Come and get it" while stood in the showers of the lifers wing of a maximum security prison.

        At the very least they should be banned for life from using anything with more processing power than an abacus.

    2. Tom 35

      For the same reason downloading is theft

      i.e. it's not. But they want to jack up the penalty.

  13. Steve Evans


    He should be locked up for crimes against video quality (not just his choice of movie, but his chosen recording device) and for polluting the bittorrents with this crap!

  14. Steve Renouf

    I see they're redifining the meaning of fraud now as well!?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So you're commenting on a case in the UK and post a link referring to US law. Either you didn't bother reading past the first sentence or you're one of those idiots who think US law applies all over the globe.

  15. Simon B

    no risk he would re-offend? WTF?!!!

    Leviten, who was present in court on Wednesday, said Nimley’s successful appeal against the jail term had been won based on his age and the argument that there was no risk he would re-offend.

    No risk he would re-offend? WTF?!!! Has he suddenly lost his sight? Grown an alergy to technology? what utter BOLLOX!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    A title is blah blah blah...

    "A Harrow man who was thrown in jail for six months for fraudulently filming Hollywood films."

    Was he filming it or was he pretending to film it?

  17. copsewood

    Inherently a civil law matter

    Sledgehammer cracks nut. The movie company should have had to do the running on this one, sued him for damages by having to prove that his breach of contract resulted in lost ticket or DVD sales. Criminal justice is a very expensive thing for the taxpayer to have to fund and there are much worse crimes which are not investigated properly due to lack of police, public prosecutor and court time. Jail is a very expensive and scarce taxpayer funded resource also. Plenty of reasons why the criminal law is the wrong vehicle here.

    Seems the movie studios are royally screwing the taxpayer here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can see your point...

      ..but there are also several reasons why this could be considered a criminal act in a way that something like copying a DVD wouldn't. For example the fraud act covers "obtaining services dishonestly" (section 11 IIRC) which boils down to obtaining a service which you haven't paid for. In this case you could argue that he paid to view the movie, he didn't pay to film it on his iPhone.

      I seem to recall the Theft act of 1978 covers a very similar offence. That of itself shows how awkward a system of common law can be. Un many cases, the prosecutors need to interpret the law in order to work out what to prosecute for, sometimes the court's interpretation differes and the accused walks even though they might be considered guilty of something else. For that reason many people argue that a system of administrative certainty would be better. Lawyers don't agree, mainly because they probably wouldn't make as much money under such a system.

      1. Andrew Taylor 1


        if reviewer John Bloggs of the Daily Echo writes in his review "with this director, this writer and these actors this film should have been a masterpiece of family entertainment rather than the bowl of steaming puke it really is" and the film company the puts on all it 's adverts "a masterpiece of family entertainment, John Bloggs, Daily Echo" that is not considered fraud. All this guy was really doing was a try before you buy service and the film industry were panicking because people were seeing the dross being put out before they had been conned out of their ticket money. The film industry, like the record industry, is bereft of ideas and constantly fails to provide a watchable product, with some exceptions, so is resorting to this type of action to make itself feel good and find a scapegoat for their own inadequacies. If anyone should be prosecuted it's the film company exec's for constantly defrauding the public.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: But

          Wow. When I finally snap and murder a commentard, I want you to defend me, Andrew. Your reasoning is impeccable. I bet you'd get the poor bugger's family sent down for glaring at me in court.

          1. Andrew Taylor 1


            Thank you;-) oh Great Moderatrix. Seriously though, I would have had no problem with him being sued under Copyright Law but using the Fraud Act is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It's quite interesting that these multimillion dollar companies are so poor that they are unable to launch a legal action by themselves and have to rely on you and me paying for it from our taxes whether we agree with the action or not. Cynical moi!!!!!!!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Changes in the law.

          "if reviewer John Bloggs of the Daily Echo writes in his review "with this director, this writer and these actors this film should have been a masterpiece of family entertainment rather than the bowl of steaming puke it really is" and the film company the puts on all it 's adverts "a masterpiece of family entertainment, John Bloggs, Daily Echo" that is not considered fraud. "

          Didn't I read a couple of years ago that quoting reviews in that way is now breaking the rules? Not actually illegal but in breach of the advertising rules.

    2. Andrew Taylor 1

      Seems the movie studios are royally screwing the taxpayer

      There, corrected it for you.

  18. Tony Paulazzo
    Big Brother

    This is not the title you're looking for

    > or you're one of those idiots who think US law applies all over the globe.<

    What, an American?

  19. JaitcH

    Dumb, biased Beak gets his excesses trimmed

    The trial Beak was excessively harsh by any measurement and he was properly brought to heel by more experienced, temperate brethren who can recognise a miscarriage of justice that exceeds even the usual Hug-A-Plod attitude that comes from British benches.

  20. Alan Lewis 1

    Custodial sentence????

    Of course, this crime of using a mobile phone to record a cinema film is far, far more severe that using a phone to record the assault and abuse of a 17yr old:

    "... Jack Bolton, Andrew Griffin, and Nathan Marshall (all with previous criminal records) who used a mobile phone to film themselves carrying out depraved assaults on their 17-year-old victim. The terrified teenager – who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism – was also pelted with dog mess, had his limbs scratched with sandpaper and was forced to drink vodka and gin until he passed out.

    Mobile phone footage showed the yobs laughing and joking as they made him endure other abuse and, in a final humiliating assault, they applied adhesive tape to his genital area before ripping the tape off. Judge Jonathan Geake imposed three-month curfews on them and ordered them to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid community work as ‘an intensive alternative to custody’. When exactly did it become acceptable for a non-custodial sentence to be handed out to people like these?"

    80hrs community service in total for torture and assault. ... thats even less than for flogging copied DVDs at the local car boot (120hrs, £1000 fine, confiscation of car, computer equipment).

    WTF is "justice" in this country?

  21. streaky

    Section 6

    "A person is guilty of an offence if he has in his possession or under his control any article for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud."

    I assume I'm not the only person spotting the screw up.

    Could be applied to any item at any time anywhere (and obviously has been). Looks like this law needs tearing up, shame it didn't make it to the supreme court.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing new...

      You present this as if you've spotted something new. It's much the same as the "going equipped" offences that have been on the books for ages. In order to secure a conviction for "going equipped to commit burgalry" or whatever the offence happens to be the prosecution would not only have to prove beyond reasonalble doubt that the accused was carrying a bunch of burglarious implements, but that they intended to use them to commit burglary. It's really the equivalent of a "conspiracy to commit burglary" charge, but applied to an individual.

      For example it's not an offence to carry a set of lock picks. However if PC plod caught me examining the lock on your front door and upon searching me he found a set of lock picks in my pocket then I could be charged with going equipped to commit burglary. It's not conspiracy, because I haven't conspired with anybody.

  22. Xenobyte


    "Copyright Theft"?!

    So they're fighting illegal transfer (theft) of intellectual rights, not copyright infringements?

    No matter how they wrap it, use it in stupid acronyms and so on, piracy is NOT THEFT! - Theft implies that something is taken from the owner by a thief with the purpose of either resale or personal use. When you make an illegal copy you take/remove nothing so it cannot be theft by definition.

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