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Padavan bill fights movie, performance bootlegging

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) that would increase penalties for illegally recording films and performances in theatres and other venues passed the state Senate last week.

"Film and music piracy has quickly become a major part of the growing criminal counterfeit enterprise that has made its roots here in New York City," Padavan said in a statement. "Year after year, multimedia piracy has had an adverse impact on the state and national economy. This wave of criminal activity has cost the entertainment sector billions in income, while leaving New York state with a significant loss in tax revenue."

The senator referred to two raids targeting bootleg movie distributors in Bayside and Flushing to point to the urgency of his bill.

"Recent raids in Flushing and Bayside on two sophisticated movie piracy rings have made it clear that New York City is the center of this troubling criminal trend," Padavan said. "By quickly enacting this legislation into law, New York will have another powerful tool in the fight against film and television piracy."

The bill, which would create the Piracy Protection Act, attempts to counter a surge in bootlegged movies and music distributed throughout the state, including Queens.

"The legislation we passed [June 5] in the Senate is vitally important in order to effectively and proactively combat the emergence of multimedia piracy and crackdown on these criminals in New York State," Padavan said in a statement.

The bill establishes the new crime of unlawful operation of a recording device. First-time offenders face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine while multiple repeat offenders face up to four years.

Padavan was the author of a 2005 report called "The Counterfeit Connection," which estimated that counterfeiting cost the city and state $3 billion.

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