New York To Boost Penalties For Content Piracy

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo held a press conference to say the state was going to ramp up its crack down on movie piracy, which he said costs the state $2.6 billion and thousands of jobs.

 Cuomo was announcing the Piracy Protection Act, which would make movie piracy a misdemeanor, then a felony for a repeat offense, which means potential jail time. He pointed out that it is currently an "offense," like a parking ticket, with a $250 fine.

 Cuomo said he was going to create a special deputy attorney general post, and get the Organized Crime Task Force more involved with film and other intellectual property theft. The second part, he said, would be to increase enforcement.

 That announcement came at a press conference in New York with NBC President Jeff Zucker, Cuomo, NBC's Tina Fey, creator and executive producer and star of 30 Rock, and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Dan Glickman. NBC Universal has been a leading voice in the battle against content piracy.

 A similar bill has passed in State Senate for last two years but has not made it through both houses. Cuomo said there is bipartisan support, and was hopeful that the bill was going to make it through the Assembly this time. The state legislators in attendance were even more confident. “We’re going to get it done,” said one.

 Glickman said 90% of street and Internet piracy begins with a camcorder. He said New York is the first state to set up an intellectual property unit to deal with not just TV And film but other intellectual property theft. He said he hoped this would send a message to the rest of the country. Zucker said he wanted to make sure how grateful NBC Universal was for Cuomo's efforts. "This is about much more than what is at stake for the companies, it is also about what theft does to creative artists like Fey.

 Zucker put in a plug for more federal muscle against piracy as well.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.