Today the House Of Representatives approved the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 today, legislation that will greatly increase the penalties for bootlegging music and films. The bill bans the act of sharing a song online before it has been released, or sharing a movie before its video release, with a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and also includes language that allows for the sale of products that can allow individuals to edit offensive scenes and language out of DVDs. It primarily focuses on fighting movie bootlegging, specifically videotaping a film in a theater. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.
RIAA Chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol released the following statement after the bill was passed: “Imagine the frustration of spending months or even years working on an album only to have those carefully crafted plans usurped by an eleventh-hour theft. This bill plugs a hole in existing law by allowing for easier and more expeditious enforcement of pre-release piracy by both the government and property owners. We applaud Congress for taking this step to help protect the gift of music – music produced through the hard work and great talent of thousands of individuals."