Bloomberg increases penalties

Flanked by producer Jane Rosenthal and MPAA’s Mike Robinson, Gotham’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed anti-piracy legislation Tuesday that will increase penalties and fines for illegal taping in movie theaters and selling black market videos.

Under the new law, violators now face up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail.

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

The mayor argued that instead of buying poor-quality pirated videos “shot by criminals with camcorders,” Gotham residents should support the industry and buy legitimate videos or actually pay to see the movie.

“This issue affects not only the thousands of New Yorkers who make a living making films, it has an impact throughout our city’s economy,” said Rosenthal. “Video piracy keeps working men and women from realizing their full earnings, and violates the artistic integrity of filmmakers who work hard to bring their vision to the screen.”

As part of a campaign to combat piracy, Bloomberg unveiled a PSA campaign designed to combat the creation, distribution and sale of illegally recorded films in Gotham.

The campaign uses ratings-style icons such as ‘RO’ for Ripped-Off, ‘PS’ for Poor Sound, ‘SP’ for Stupid Purchase, ‘OV’ for Obstructed View and ‘F’ for Fake.

Campaign will be on display at bus stops, shown in movie theaters and aired on local stations.

The mayor’s office and the MPAA also released a study Tuesday that claims Gotham’s motion picture industry suffers an estimated $1.49 billion in lost output annually, resulting in 22,986 fewer jobs and $903 million in lost earnings as a consequence of global and local piracy of motion pictures.

The study also found that $637 million in total annual retail sales in New York are lost due to global and local piracy, resulting in a loss of $50 million in state and city sales tax.

Often taped with camcorders in movie theaters, the MPAA estimates that in 2006, New York City theaters were the origin of 43% of camcorder-source pirated DVDs tracked in the United States, and 20% of pirated movies seized globally.

“New York City is home to tens of thousands of creators who inspire and entertain through their work in the movie and television production industry. As this report confirms, the New York economy has much to gain by fighting movie piracy at its source, and changing behavior regarding movie piracy among New Yorkers,” said MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman, in a statement.

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