PirateEye Is Watching You, So Illegal Camcorders Beware

Introduced at CinemaCon, the system of tiny cameras primarily installed at industry screenings and premieres but plans to ramp up production in next 18 months

PirateEye is watching you.

With $5 million in funding from the major studios, the surveillance company with the Orwellian undertones hopes to help theaters crack down on piracy.

It installs five-inch cameras weighing as little 14.5 pounds in movie theaters that send out beams of light to capture three to six seats at a time on film.

The company is primarily installing its cameras at premieres and press screenings, Brian Dunn, chief executive officer of PirateEye, said at a presentation at the exhibition trade show CinemaCon on Wednesday, 

The goal is to make bag checks and metal detectors obsolete at these events. 

Eventually, the system could be used by theater owners to crack down on not just on piracy but rude behavior like texting or talking on cellphones.

Although moviegoers may balk at finding themselves on camera, Dunn claims that there are actually less privacy concerns involved than with the CCTV devices that capture the public at everywhere from ATMs to retail stores.

“The purpose of PirateEye is to not have another person look at you suspiciously if you haven’t done anything wrong,” Dunn said. If the cameras don’t catch a person trying to tape a film illegally, the images are destroyed.

Currently, the system covers 80 percent of industry screenings; Dunn projected that 1,000 systems could be in place worldwide over the next 18 months.

In fact, the device already has proved its mettle at CinemaCon’s industry presentations: It nabbed a high-profile scalp earlier this week.

Mitch Neuhauser, CinemaCon’s managing director, announced Monday that a person had been captured trying to illegally record Paramount’s presentation to exhibitors and was placed in police custody.