With a strong push from the MPAA, it looks like New York City is following California's path as a place that will making recording a movie in a theater a criminal, rather than civil, offense. While it is questionable as to whether or not it should really be a criminal offense (especially in cases where it's just someone with a cameraphone recording a brief snippet), the bigger issue is how pointless this entire law really is. It's being positioned as a key part of New York's strategy to support the movie industry by stomping out counterfeiting. Of course, it's doing so by trying to stomp out the counterfeiting methods of a decade ago -- not what's going on today. The movies you buy on the street, for the most part, aren't filmed by some guy in a theater, but are downloaded off the internet from a print that leaked out at the pressing plant or an advance screener copy or countless other ways that high quality versions get out there. The announcement also says a new law will be put in place that will make landlords responsible for the activities of their tenants if they "turn a blind eye" to counterfeiting operations. While you can understand the rationale for this law, it does sound pretty broad. How do you classify "turning a blind eye" and how will it be shown that a landlord knew about the activities? If anything, this sounds like an attempt to pressure landlords into spying on their tenants and reporting suspicious behavior. Overall, this sounds like a lot of special effects, but little real substance in the movie industry's fight to regain control.
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