Yesterday morning, Mayor Bloomberg was on the Today Show, chatting with Meredith Vieira about the 40th anniversary of the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and puffing his chest about NYC's role in the film and TV community. Then he scooted back to City Hall to announce new leglisation to penalize movie piracy. The press conference was full of factoids:
The MPAA estimates that New York City theaters are the origin of 43% of camcorder-source pirated DVDs tracked in the United States, and 20% of pirated movies seized globally. These video are posted on the Internet, replicated, and illegally sold and traded all over the world. Despite the impact that this conduct has on the film industry, those who are caught illegally recording a motion picture currently face only a violation, a non-criminal offense. The City intends to introduce legislation to amend the penal law so that those engaged in piracy will face a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, if convicted, and a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, for any subsequent convictions.
Who knew NYC movie theaters were so perfect for videotaping movies? Oh, wait, everyone!
Of course, this recalls the Seinfeld episode, The Little Kicks, where Jerry becomes a pirated-movie auteur:
I don't care about Brody. I was up on 96th Street today, there was a kid couldn't have been more than ten years old. He was asking a street vendor if he had any other bootlegs as good as Death Blow. That's who I care about. The little kid who needs bootlegs, because his parent or guardian won't let him see the excessive violence and strong sexual content you and I take for granted.
And that's the episode where Elaine dances.
Anyway, the NYPD is the only police force in the country with a task force dedicated to movie piracy. We hope they get the dogs that can sniff out the DVDs - they would be so cute.