Apr. 28th, 2005

erikred: (stalking_bird)
Slashdot is reporting that the Pres. has signed into law S.167 ("Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005"). This law makes it a crime to sneak a camera into a theater or release on a "computer network" a movie currently being prepared for commercial distribution. To be fair, it specifically says that the copyright infringement in question has to be "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain," leaving the question of 'backing up' movies for personal use for other laws to handle.

This bill frightens me, however, because I worked for a movie theater in college, and I know the yahoos who work in movie theaters. This law gives them an incredible power:

    `(d) Immunity for Theaters- With reasonable cause, the owner or lessee of a motion picture exhibition facility where a motion picture or other audiovisual work is being exhibited, the authorized agent or employee of such owner or lessee, the licensor of the motion picture or other audiovisual work being exhibited, or the agent or employee of such licensor--

      `(1) may detain, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time, any person suspected of a violation of this section with respect to that motion picture or audiovisual work for the purpose of questioning or summoning a law enforcement officer; and

      `(2) shall not be held liable in any civil or criminal action arising out of a detention under paragraph (1).

In other words, Joe Theater Employee, making minimum wage and getting high up in the booth before each show, now has the authority to detain you if he thinks you have a camera on you. Sure, sure, there's that nifty "reasonable manner" part to somehow short-circuit abuse, but that last part pretty much voids all rationality; you can't sue Joe if he happens to grab your arm (assault) during the course of detaining you on suspicion of having a camera on you. You better hope Joe didn't notice the camera on your cell phone.

What brave new world is this that has such people in it.


erikred: (Default)
Erik, the BFG

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