Gov. Brad Henry has given the green light to legislation cracking down on movie piracy. Senator Glenn Coffee is principal author of the measure and said it will give local law enforcement the authority to go after people who illegally videotape movies.
“This is a huge problem for the film industry. The Motion Picture Association of America estimates losses of $3 billion last year because of this type of theft and it’s expected to climb even higher,” explained Coffee, R-OKC.
“There are people who get paid several thousand dollars to take hand-held video cameras into theatres and illegally film movies. This is stealing just as if they were reaching into the box office cash register, but this kind of theft wasn’t specifically addressed in our state laws until now,” Coffee said.
Senate Bill 1234 makes movie piracy a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“We’ve worked hard to create incentives to make our state an attractive place to make movies. When production companies do film here, it brings a lot of attention to Oklahoma and boosts economies in the communities where they’re filming. Just one movie, “Twister,” had a $13 million impact in our state. I think the passage of this legislation helps show the industry we’re behind them,” said Coffee.
The new law takes effect on July 1, 2004.