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Pirates of Canada's movie theaters snare booty off Hollywood bootlegs

In one Montreal theater showing 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (above), four patrons were caught trying to illegally record the movie. In one Montreal theater showing "Pirates of the Caribbean" (above), four patrons were caught trying to illegally record the movie. (BUENA VISTA)

TORONTO -- Pirates of the Caribbean aren't the only thieves appearing in Vince Guzzo's movie theaters.

So many patrons have smuggled video recorders into Guzzo's 12 Montreal cinemas to pirate films, he's using night-vision goggles to catch them in the dark.

"I caught four people trying to camcord 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' " said Guzzo, 38. "There are two types of people doing this: One type does it for kicks, then you have the professional criminal."

One in six movie copies made by illegally recording from the screen originates in Montreal, according to the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association. Bootlegs made in Montreal have turned up for sale as DVDs in 45 countries, said Serge Corriveau, an investigator for the group.

Canada is paying a price for tolerating pirates. The International Intellectual Property Alliance, which represents 1,900 US companies that produce films, books, software, and other goods protected by copyright, placed Canada alongside China and Russia on its list of worst offenders.

Bowing to the pressure, the federal government changed the criminal code in June. Cammers now face as long as two years in jail for recording in a theater. Police previously had to prove intent to distribute in order to bring charges.

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