Attila the Pun
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This story on the proposed "Family Entertainment and Copyright Act" in the US focuses on the 'parents protecting kiddies from violence', but the bit that grabbed me was this:

The bill also would make it a federal crime to use video cameras to record films in film theatres, and it would set tough penalties of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song prior to its commercial release.

Filmgoers caught using video cameras in theatres would face up to three years in prison for a first offence and up to six years for later arrests.

I refuse to watch pirated movies (with such crappy quality picture and no digital sound, why do people bother - is it really that important that you see Star Wars 3 weeks before it comes out at cinemas?), but those penalties are ridiculous.

If you went into a cinema, assaulted the projectionist, then physically stole the print, you wouldn't get anywhere near three years in prison. But take a camcorder in, and you are looking at three years hard time, plus another 10 if you put that footage on Kazaa.

There is suggestion that the bill is largely aimed at protecting ClearPlay from lawsuits, but the draconian enforcement measures also give the impression that Congress is extremely receptive to the pleas of some of the most disadvanatged people in US society - film studios....

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