Senate Passes Family Entertainment Act

Bill penalizes copyright infringers.

In a surprisingly swift action, the Senate yesterday (Feb. 1) passed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. It now goes to the House, where there is a companion bill, for expected quick approval.

The bills were re-introduced just last week after being held up in a legislative logjam last year.

The package includes sections that would create penalties for infringement of new copyrighted works before they have been released and distributed, and for individuals who illegally record movies in a movie theater. The legislation includes an exemption from liability for manufacturers of devices that can edit objectionable material from movies designed for home viewing.

The floor vote was spearheaded by sponsors Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, D-Utah, and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.