FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION CRIMINALIZING ILLEGAL VIDEOTAPING OF FILMS AT MOVIE THEATERS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The next bill before me today is Introductory Number 383-A, sponsored by Council Members Yassky, Gerson Garodnick, Nelson, Sears, Weprin, and Koppell. Introductory Number 383-A establishes a misdemeanor offense for the unauthorized operation of a recording device in a place of public performance without the consent of the owner or operator of the theatre.
"New York City is an entertainment capital and hosts many world premieres. But unfortunately, that also makes us a center of movie piracy. The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that over 40% of movies that are illegally recorded with camcorders in the United States were recorded in New York City movie theatres.
"Video piracy is not a 'victimless crime.' It kills jobs for New Yorkers. But under current New York State law, movie piracy is only a violation, and the penalties imposed for conviction fall proportionately short of the severe damage these criminals do to our entertainment industry. Introductory Number 383-A will make the unauthorized operation of recording devices in a place of public performance - without the consent of the theater's owner or operator - a misdemeanor offense. That will give police officers the ability to make arrests based on eyewitness accounts rather than first-hand observations.
"As a misdemeanor, this offense also carries tougher penalties. A conviction under current law carries a penalty of up to 15 days in jail and a maximum fine of up to $250. Under the new law, penalties would be increased to up to six months in prison, fines ranging from one thousand to five thousand dollars, and a civil penalty up to five thousand dollars.
"I would like to thank Commissioner Ray Kelly and his staff for their work on this bill, as well as Commissioner Katherine Oliver and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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