Movie piracy bill advances in Congress

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- A House committee in Washington has approved a bill making it a federal crime to camcord movies, the Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

The paper said the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act -- approved unanimously Thursday by House Judiciary Committee's copyright subcommittee -- would also provide a shield from copyright lawsuits for companies that make products consumers can use to edit content on DVDs.


Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., was among those voting for the bill, formerly known as the Family Movie Act, even though they oppose the provisions that allow companies such as ClearPlay to sell editing software.

"I'm voting for it in spite of the Family Movie Act," Berman said.

The editing technology is being contested in a lawsuit brought by the Directors Guild of America and several movie studios against ClearPlay, the Utah-based company that is marketing the product.

Berman said the DGA and the studios had been negotiating on ways to license edited movies to ClearPlay and other manufacturers of editing products, but negotiations ended when the Family Movie Act was introduced. He said if the legislation is enacted, that would effectively end the suit by the DGA and the studios.


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