New York law targets streetside pirates, not P2P ones


New York state has set its sights on pirates. No, not the P2P kind like John and I, but the guys down on Canal Street selling bootleg movies hours after a film’s theatrical premiere. The patriotically named “Piracy Protection Act,” if passed, will slap up to a $1,000 fine on first-time offenders, who also risk a one-year jail sentence. That seems slightly excessive, I think. Just because some guy is hawking a “DVD” (really just a telesync on a disc) of Iron Man on the street corner doesn’t mean he has to pay that heavy a fine or spend time in Rikers under the watchful eye of my correctional officer uncle. Heaven help you if you’re a repeat offender. Those guys face felony charges.

And you wonder who’s the victim in all this. I say it’s kids (without broadband connections) whose parents won’t let them see an R-rated movie, so they buy a bootleg instead. What’s the harm in that?

But whatever, it’s good to see my home state tackle the tough issues facing us. It’s not like the subway is in a state of disrepair or there’s potholes every two feet or any other dumb problem that’s not getting solved by this waste-of-time law.