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Senate Passes Amended Copyright Bill

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

25 November 2004


The US Senate at the weekend passed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2004, albeit following the removal of several of the Act's key provisions.

Under the new rules, the broad strokes of which have been approved by the House of Representatives, those who covertly make recordings in movie theaters will now face custodial sentences of up to three years.

Insiders and hackers who illegally distribute films or music before they are officially released will also face stiffer penalties.

In terms of amendments, senators elected to remove provisions which would have criminalized the actions of those using peer-to-peer file-sharing services, and sought to protect new technology which allows parents to remove sexually explicit or violent scenes from movies.

The Act must now go back to the House for approval of some minor changes. However, observers have suggested that approval of the legislation when the House reconvenes in December may be scuppered by the fact that unrelated boxing reforms (which were previously rejected by representatives) have been piggy-backed onto it.


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