Anti-Camcording Law in Action

by on August 2, 2007 · 10 comments

Dave Weigel reports on one of the unintended consequences of the copyright lobby crusade to criminalize anything vaguely connected to piracy. Some college kid wanted to capture a 20-second clip of the movie Transformers and so she brought a camcorder into the theater. Now she’s facing a fine of $2500 under “zero tolerance” anti-camcording laws.

The darknet critique applies to anti-camcording laws as much as it does to the DMCA. Once one copy of a movie leaks onto peer-to-peer networks, it rapidly spreads throughout the darknet. So unless you can get the rate of camcording down to zero, which is essentially impossible, these sorts of laws won’t stop anyone from getting ahold of pirated movies.

On the other hand, they can impose disproportionate penalties college kids who commit the crime of not being sufficiently familiar with the minutia of copyright law to know that taping a 20-second clip of a movie is a federal crime.

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