Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005

This act was signed into law on April 27, 2005. It is summarized below.

  1. Prohibits the use of a video camera, or similar device, to transmit or make a copy of a motion picture or other copyrighted work from a performance in a movie theater.
  2. Establishes criminal penalties for willfully breaking the law by the distribution of a computer program, musical work, motion picture or other audiovisual work or sound recording, being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to the public. [This was motivated by movies being made available on the Internet before they had even been released publicly]
  3. Provides by or at the direction of a private household, the making imperceptible limited portions of audio or video content of a motion picture during a performance in or transmitted to the household for private viewing. The law prohibits the creation of a fixed [recorded] copy of program as it was temporarily altered for viewing and that no changes, deletions or additions to commercial advertisements or promotional announcements are made.

    [Technology now exists whereby a home viewer may, by purchase of a device, or payment to a service, request that objectionable content in a movie not be made viewable. By this law, it is permissible, through the use of the technology, to not allow the objectionable content to be viewed, while at the same time, no recording is made of the edited version]

  4. The new law contains a sub act entitled “Preservation of Orphan Works Act. Copyrighted works are currently protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. This act provides a privilege for libraries or archives that limits the rights of the copyright holder. During the last 20 years of any term of copyright of a published work, a library or archive may reproduce, distribute, display or perform in facsimile or digital form a copy or phonorecord of the work for purposes of preservation, scholarship or research when certain conditions apply.