Are cellphones such a big piracy threat?

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Are cellphones such a big piracy threat?

Wed Jul 15, 2009 @ 03:13PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Cellphone It's becoming common practice for studios to demand that people turn over their cellphones before attending advance screenings. Most people do so without making trouble.

But in an interesting column up on The Guardian's website, professional rabble-rouser Cory Doctorow wants to know what might happen if the data on the cellphone is breached.

It's a pretty sly point.

"When pressed, spokespeople from the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Film Distributors' Association admitted they had never heard of a pirated movie 'in the wild' that originated with a mobile phone, nor, to the best of their knowledge, had anyone ever been ejected from a cinema for attempting this."

Doctorow then brings up one indisputable fact — "mobile phones are rapidly expanding their capabilities" — and thus, the trustees of the phone become responsible for protecting account information, voicemails, phone numbers of everyone in the person's network, confidential diaries, family photos, personal voice memos, access to a web browser search history...

This is beginning to sound like the missing episode of Alias. Can you imagine Sydney Bristow luring a high-up at SD-6 into a special screening of the new Ben Affleck movie just to get her hands on this person's cellphone?

Doctorow suggests the studios purchase insurance to cover losses due to data breaches. Or maybe don't ask him to give up his iPhone.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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