Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fair use out the window

Film students, teachers, reviewers, or just cinema fans who capture a few seconds of Sin City in a movie theater on their camera phone would become felons on the second offense under SB 481 by Wentworth/Keel, which passed on second reading in the Texas House yesterday. Because there's just not enough stuff that's illegal already.

I guess it's only national Republicans who don't like Hollywood. This bill is little short of a legislative love letter to the big movie studios.

That said, why Hollywood movie companies would want to punish people who took small clips of a movie in order to promote it is beyond me - their insistence on broad language, I'd think, runs counter to their interest in promoting
priceless word of mouth publicity. ACLU proposed an amendment to fix it, but the movie industry opposed the insertion of a fair use provision. Unless it's vetoed, SB 481 likely represents Texas' 1,942nd felony. See Grits' previous writeup here.

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