At its simplest Pirate Cinema involved the screening of a movie in front of an audience, for free. Some Pirate Cinema groups perceive their actions within a political context, by deliberately screening copyrighted movies, or movies that document the current copyright debate.
"The battle of copyright is a battle for control. The film industry is fearing to lose control of which films we want to watch, how we want to watch them and how we produce new film. The technological evolution is giving access to a gigantic supply of film. Video technology is incorporated into cheap cameras and mobile phones. Now that we also can edit our own film on our computers, the film industry is scared - and they should be - of loosing their monopoly on creating film culture.The group screens copyrighted and un-copyrighted movies (such as the Steal This Film and Good Copy Bad Copy documentaries) on a regular basis.
"But above all, the “War on Piracy” is a war against revolution: against the French Revolution that has generalized individual rights and against the Digital Revolution that has generalized the individual exchange of data.Pirate Cinema Berlin regularly screens copyrighted and un-copyrighted movies.
Members of Pirate Cinema Berlin were interviewed, asked "How did it all start?" they answered: "(Sebastian Lütgert) Conventional cinema is fucked up and useless... (Jan Gerber) But we started off because one of the films we had hadn’t been distributed and we wanted to have it screened . Our strong opinions about copyright and restrictions on distributing digital data always surfaced in Pirate Cinema events, with their motto: »Free admission, cheap drinks, and bring a blank CD.«"
Segments of an interview with Sebastian Lütgert are featured in Steal This Film (Two), reflecting on copyright, internet and culture.
The "archive" of Pirate Cinema Berlin is said to be growing steadily. Content is mostly obtained via different peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. In late 2005, it contains over 800 GB of compressed, tagged, sorted and searchable video material.
Antti Kotilainen, executive director of the Copyright Information and Anti-piracy Centre (CIAPC), stated "They say that they are anarchists, fighting against big movie moguls. Then the only recreation that they have is to show movies produced by the companies that they despise so much."
Professor Jukka Kemppinen, an expert on copyright legislation, states that Pirate Cinema is a deliberate provocation, but that, despite it being illegal, there is no point in making a big issue out of it. Kemppine states "It is no more illegal than showing a legally rented DVD to residents of an apartment building after an afternoon of volunteer work.