Movie piracy is the act of selling, acquiring, or distributing copyrighted films. This includes downloading films on a file sharing network. Movie piracy is a growing problem in the United States and the Motion Picture Association of America has taken increased measures to pursue copyright violators.

What Are the Laws Regarding Movie Piracy?

Various laws protect intellectual property in the United States. Copyright infringement is already subject to normal intellectual property laws. In addition, there are several federal regulations further restricting movie piracy:

  • The U.S. Copyright Act provides protection against duplication of copyrighted material and distribution of copied materials. The act provides the ability to file civil lawsuits to protect copyrights and also makes many violations criminal offenses.
  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits any methods used to get around anti-piracy measures built into copyrighted works, such as programs preventing DVDs from being copied.
  • The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act makes camcording in a theater a federal crime and also provides penalties for pirating works that have not been released yet commercially.
  • The No Electronic Theft Act outlaws the reproduction, distribution, and sharing of movies, even if the copier or distributor acts without commercial purpose and receives no private financial gain.

Most states also have further laws against movie piracy.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The laws of intellectual property can be very complex, especially in the area of movie piracy which is fairly new and still evolving. If you have been accused of violating movie copyright law, an experienced copyright lawyer can advise you of your rights and possible defenses. A lawyer can also represent you in court.