Holidaymakers - think again before bringing your camcorder into a US cinema. If your fumbling with the battery is misconstrued as an attempt to film what's on the screen, it could land you with a five jail term under a bill proposed by two US Senators yesterday.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and John Cornyn who announced the bill today, want to punish the use or an attempt to use a video recorder in a movie theatre with a custodial sentence. That's even if you have no made no attempt, nor even have any intent to publish your footage. Anyone caught doing so faces the same five year jail sentence, even if no infringement has taken place. A second offence raises the maximum term to ten years. The bill also proposes a scale of new fines, allowing the Motion Picture Association of America the same armory as the RIAA.
Similar legislation is in effect in a handful of individual States but Feinstein and Cornyn want to make it a Federal offense. The bill assumes that material posted on the Internet has already been downloaded ten times.
With the Senate wrapping up for the year, it's unlikely to be passed. The former Mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein received $242,066 from the entertainment industry in her most recent Senate race, making her the pigopolists third favorite Senator, after Hillary Clinton and John McCain. ®