- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

LOS ANGELES (Agence France-Presse) — A camcorder-toting moviegoer has become the first person convicted under a new U.S. law cracking down on the clandestine videotaping of Hollywood films, the movie studios’ lobby group said yesterday.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hailed the conviction in San Francisco of Curtis Salisbury, who pleaded guilty Monday to two charges under the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005.

Salisbury, who could face a fine of up to $250,000 as well a up to five years in jail, admitted using his hand-held video recorder in a movie theater to copy the 2005 films “Bewitched” and “The Perfect Man.”

He then uploaded the theatrical releases to a computer network for Internet distribution, according to the MPAA.

“Movie piracy is a serious crime that carries severe consequences and that is what Mr. Salisbury found out,” said MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman.

“Our federal laws are working to make stealing movies by camcording in movie theaters a less-attractive option for movie pirates,” he added.

The new law, passed by Congress this year, makes it a crime to use recording equipment to copy movies in theaters and bans distribution of pirated films on computer networks.

Hollywood’s major movie studios said piracy cost the industry about $3.5 billion in lost revenue in 2004, not including illegal online file swapping.

That number is expected to jump to $5.4 billion in 2005, according to a study by the Smith Barney financial services firm.

The average movie costs almost $100 million to make, and only about 60 percent of those movies recoup their original investment, meaning that piracy endangers the survival of the industry, according to the MPAA.

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