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Cinema iPhone pirate escapes jail in test case appeal

'Looks bad for us, but it's not', say pirate-botherers

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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 October).

He was given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work during that period, the court told The Register.

In August Nimley, who distributed his illegal wares online, pleaded guilty to 10 charges under sections six and seven of the 2006 Fraud Act, and section 107/1(e) of the 1998 Copyright Designs and Patents Act.

Last month he was handed jail time, after being caught and arrested for using his iPhone to take a blurry recording of The Bounty Hunter in March this year.

He had also previously recorded The Crazies, Alice In Wonderland and The Green Zone.

When Nimley was jailed in September, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) excitedly proclaimed that the case heralded the first such sentence of its kind in the UK.

There have been recent successful court actions against the recordings of films in Blighty cinemas, with prosecutors citing the Fraud Act. But Nimley’s sentence was seen as a big win for FACT.

So seeing that jail term removed from the Harrow pirate’s conviction has got to hurt, hasn’t it?

“This is still a successful criminal conviction for illegal recording in a cinema,” FACT’s top flack Eddy Leviten told El Reg this morning.

“It’s the first conviction of its kind and vindicates the use of the Fraud Act. Judges considered the case very carefully and they had no issue with the legal process, nor the arrest.”

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.

But he added that only the sentence and not the conviction had been lessened.

“It looks like a bad result for us, but it’s not,” said Leviten. ®

Bootnote

Hat tip goes to Adam Banks, who blogged about the case here, for bringing the appeal to our attention.

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