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Film News

New York takes aim at movie piracy

Shopkeepers wait for customers at a store selling pirated DVDs in Beijing, in this April 24, 2007 file photo. With filmmakers and city officials at his side, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday unveiled an anti-piracy campaign featuring TV and theater public service announcements and bus shelter ads. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - With filmmakers and city officials at his side, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday unveiled an anti-piracy campaign featuring TV and theater public service announcements and bus shelter ads.

Bloomberg also signed legislation that upgraded illegal videotaping in movie theaters from a violation to a misdemeanor, with an increase in maximum jail time from 15 days to six months, and fines upped from a $250 maximum to $5,000, plus up to $5,000 in civil penalties. In what he described as a three-pronged approach to fight piracy, Bloomberg also said the NYPD has seized about 200,000 pirated DVDs this year.

The city’s enforcement could have global implications. A new study by the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) revealed that New York is the source of 43% of pirated DVDs camcorded in theaters that have been tracked in the U.S. and 20% of pirated films seized worldwide.

“Video piracy is not a victimless crime -- it kills jobs for New Yorkers,” Bloomberg said. “Not only does piracy drive up the costs of videos and movie tickets and harm our economy, but every New York consumer is being cheated by poor quality goods.”

Bloomberg got an assist at the event from the likes of “Austin Powers” director Jay Roach, producer and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal and police commissioner Ray Kelly,

The public service announcements will feature scenes from the Oscar-winning animated film “Happy Feet” as it might look in a pirated version. PSAs and ads feature parodies of MPAA ratings, including “RO” for Ripped-Off, “PS” for Poor Sound, “SP” for Stupid Purchase and “OV” for Obstructed View.

The TV ads will be aired on local free and cable stations beginning in June. They will appear in theaters imminently, and the bus stop ads will be placed in mid-May.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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