As Spring Festival movies arrive, a campaign against secret photography in cinemas launches on Chinese social media
Published: Feb 09, 2021 07:22 PM

Photo: Maoyan

 A campaign to call on the boycotting of secret photography in cinemas has been launched on Chinese social media, three days before the Lunar New Year, when a batch of new movies will be released.

On the day of Spring Festival, there will be seven new films launching in cinemas in the Chinese mainland. The box office presale of these Spring Festival films has surpassed 500 million yuan ($77.5 million), which exceeded the presale in the same term of 2019, Xinhua reported.

The report said that the 2021 Spring Festival box office is expected to reach 7.053 billion yuan, up 28.1 percent from 2019. Under the optimistic prospect of the Chinese mainland film market, insiders of the industry took aim at secret photography in cinemas and pirate spreading.

Many insiders of the film industry, including actors and actresses such as Andy Lau Tak-wah and Yang Mi, as well as directors like Lu Yang, appeared in a video clip to call on movie-goers to boycott photography in cinemas.

They repeated in the video clip that films are not tourist attractions and photographing film scenes in cinemas is a kind of uncivilized behavior, calling on all audiences to say no to secret photography in cinemas.

The related hashtag “say no to secret photography” has been viewed 300 million times on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo, as of Tuesday.

“When the opening song of the film starts, you should put your mobile phone down. Bonus scenes are also banned from being photographed,” a TV program of China Central Television said. “The movie ticket is not an entrance ticket for secret photography.”

Xu Xinming, a lawyer specializing in copyright law, told the Global Times that whether shooting just one photo or a video clip, it all belongs in the category of secret photography.

Some people think that their photographing of film scenes is just to share with relatives and friends, rather than to make commercial profits, but Xu noted that this also amounts to intellectual property infringement.

The 31st article of the Film Industry Promotion Law of China said that without the permission of the rights holder, no person may make any audio or video recording of a film being shown, and cinema staff have the right to stop such behavior and demand recordings be deleted.

Although some netizens still cannot understand why they are not allowed to shoot only a picture even if they have bought tickets, more netizens support the boycott and say that the crackdown on secret photography in cinemas is of benefit to the regulation of the film market and will encourage the creation of more brilliant movies.

“I raise both of my hands up to approve the crackdown. When I went to the movies, a man sitting in front of me used his phone to record the film the whole time. The behavior disgusts me and can disturb the film industry,” one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.