North Carolina Bans... Stealing!
In an amazing act of common sense, Raleigh North Carolina's General Assembly gave final approval yesterday (8/11/2005) to a law that would make it a state crime to record or copy a first-run film showing in a movie theater. Of course, 20 other states and the federal government have had similar laws on the books for quite some time. All the new legislation does is designate a new "criminal offense" meaning that it provides specific punishments for that particular brand of theft. In the passed legislation, the first act of film piracy would result in a misdemeanor, and the second would lead to a felony. In past offenses committed in North Carolina, federal copyright laws have been used in lieu of local law to prosecute actions of film piracy. In July the House unanimously approved the measure and the Senate just approved it 49-0 Thursday.
The law would take effect December 1, 2005 when (it's very likely going to avoid a veto) Governor Mike Easley signs the bill. It will apply to offenses that occur after that date.
It's always amusing when new legislation is supposedly 'required' or implemented for what, in a reasonable and perhaps less litigious society, would pass as an obviously simple and easy-to-comprehend offense. With movie revenues down (and we won't rehash the reasons for that here) it is likely that Americans will see more and more legislation and movement towards stopping illegal piracy at the source.