Cinema goers have been surreptitiously recording newly released movies for years, with the grainy, dark footage usually appearing on torrent sites. The practice is illegal and, as two Maryland men recently found out, can lead to arrest with the possibility of large fines and even imprisonment.

Troy Montgomery Cornish, 38, and Floyd Lee Buchanan, 35, are heading to court on June 15 after being arrested on suspicion of recording Fate of the Furious at a Hoyts Movie Theatre. They face the prospect of one year in prison and a $2500 fine.

Many states, including Maryland, have laws that make it illegal to use recording equipment in theaters, but this didn't stop the pair from attaching smartphones to their chests to record the latest title in the long-running action franchise.

A Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) investigator had alerted the authorities to the pair's activities after following them from the parking lot into a Linthicum movie theater.

The Anne Arundel County Police report, via Ars Technica, reveals the MPAA investigator "stated that he had been watching two known piracy suspects and observed them enter the movie theater. He also observed them watching and illegally recording an early release feature of Fate of the Furious."

A court clerk said the two men were released without having to post bail following their arrest last Friday. The suspects have not commented on their arrests.

According to TorrentFreak, Fate of the Furious is the seventh most downloaded movie on BitTorrent this week, with Logan still in the number one spot.