A Senate-passed legislative package that would protect sound recordings and film works cleared a key House subcommittee on March 3.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Senate-passed legislative package that would protect sound recordings and film works cleared a key House subcommittee on March 3.

The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, chaired by Lamar Smith, R-Texas, voted to send the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 to the full committee.

Among other points, the legislation has a "pre-release" section: it would authorize civil remedies for infringement of a sound recording or movie being prepared for commercial distribution. It would also crack down on film piracy by making it a crime to use camcorders in movie theaters to steal films.

The bill also reauthorizes the National Film Preservation Act to save important films from decomposition.

The bill, S. 167 -- sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and John Cornyn, R-Texas -- passed the Senate in February.

In the 109th Congress, Hatch and Leahy will be the lead voices on the newly formed intellectual property subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee.