Bill awaits presidential approval.

The U.S. House of Representatives today (April 19) passed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act.

Among other measures, the bill authorizes civil remedies for infringement of a sound recording or movie being prepared for commercial distribution. It also indemnifies from liability manufacturers of devices that can edit objectionable material from movies designed for home viewing and makes it a crime to use camcorders in movie theaters to steal films.

"Imagine the frustration of spending months or even years working on an album only to have those carefully crafted plans usurped by an eleventh-hour theft," RIAA chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol says in a statement. "This bill plugs a hole in existing law by allowing for easier and more expeditious enforcement of pre-release piracy by both the government and property owners."

The bill was approved by the Senate in March. It was introduced by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. The identical House version was authored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

The legislation now goes to the White House for President Bush's expected signature.

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