Cinema workers in Taiwan caught a man in the act of filming Mission: Impossible III with a digital camcorder on its opening day.

The unnamed 35-year-old man, who faces three years in prison, was caught filming the movie at the Venice Theatre in Taoyuan. Police charged him with violating Taiwan's Copyright Act. Under that law, the man faces a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of TW$750,000 (Taiwanese dollars; about £12,900).

However, the man could get off with a lighter sentence. Taiwanese authorities have charged three people with illegally recording movies since 2003. All three received jail sentences ranging from 20 days to three months.

The Taiwan arrest was one of four made in relation to attempts to record the new Tom Cruise blockbuster, the MPA (Motion Picture Association) said, with the other three in the US.

Pirated movies are widely available on DVD in many Asian countries, especially China. Many pirated releases of new movies are made from digital recordings made inside cinemas that can also be distributed over the internet.

In an attempt to stop pirates, the MPA has offered a reward of TW$10,000 (£170) for Taiwanese cinema workers who catch them in their cinemas and alert police. In this case, the MPA reward handed out to three Venice Theatre employees will be matched by Universal International Pictures, Mission: Impossible III's distributor.

Mission Impossible: III earned $47.7m (£25.6m) in worldwide box-office receipts during its first weekend, according to Variety magazine, which tracks these figures.