New York law targets streetside pirates, not P2P ones

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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.

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