California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Canada on a trade mission, promoting everything from his state's fruit and vegetables to wine, high technology and climate-change awareness, but it was his visit to Ottawa that elicited the statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that his government would table legislation to target camcorder pirates in cinemas.
Canada has raised the ire of the Motion Picture Association of America for the nation's perceived laxity regarding camcording piracy, with claims that Canadian pirate activity accounts for figures ranging from 20 per cent, 30 per cent and 50 per cent of counterfeit disks worldwide.
Twentieth Century Fox has threatened to delay distribution of its titles while Warner Bros. has stopped sneak previews. However, no entity has provided independent and verifiable evidence.
University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, an expert on intellectual property and media, has suggested that the numbers are inflated in the extreme, with the actual figure closer to three per cent of MPAA released movies.
While Canada has laws against camcording and distribution of pirated material, Canadian police forces say they are constrained by the burden of proof. The issue is proving in court that a person caught recording a film had the intention of distributing the material.
Thus far, Schwarzenegger, who will visit Vancouver on Thursday, has not raised the issue of so-called 'runaway production', the bugbear of Hollywood's labour community.