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Introduced Version House Bill 2129 History

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hb2129 intr
H. B. 2129

(By Delegates Amores, Craig, Pethtel, Armstead)


[Introduced on February 9, 2005; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary]





A BILL to amend the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-58, relating to the unlawful use of a recording device in a motion picture theater; defining certain terms; providing that a person who knowingly operates the audiovisual recording function of any device in a motion picture theater with the intent of recording a motion picture under certain circumstances commits a misdemeanor offense; providing criminal penalties; providing for the imposition of criminal fines; requiring theater owners to display certain signs under specified conditions; specifying that failure to display the signs does not create liability for the theater owners; authorizing the theater owner to detain a person in violation of the act; providing immunity to the theater owner for detaining a person in violation of the act while awaiting the arrival of a law enforcement officer; providing an exception to the immunity; and providing that an employee or agent of certain law enforcement, protective services, or investigative agencies may operate an audiovisual recording device as part of a lawfully authorized activity.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the code of West Virginia, 1931 , as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-58, to read as follows:
§61-3-58. Unlawful use of a recording device in a motion picture theater.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the words or terms defined in this subsection and any variation of those words or terms required by the context, have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection. These definitions are applicable unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context.
(1) "Audiovisual recording function" means the capability of a camera, an audio or video recorder, or any other device to record, transfer sounds or images, or transmit a motion picture or any part thereof by means of any technology now known or hereafter developed.
(2) "Media owner of the motion picture" means the person vested with the rights to and ownership of the original fixation of sounds, images or any audio-visual combination embodied in the master film or other device used for transferring sounds or images on discs, tapes, films, video tapes or video cassettes or other similar articles upon which sounds, images or any audio-visual combination are recorded.
(3) "Motion picture theater" means a movie theater, screening room, or other venue when used primarily for the exhibition of a motion picture.
(4) "Theater owner" means the owner, operator, or lessee of a motion picture theater and includes an employee or agent of the theater owner.
(b) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly operate an audiovisual recording function of a device in a motion picture theater, in which a motion picture is being exhibited, with the intent to record a motion picture, if the person knows or should have known that he or she was recording the motion picture without the consent of the media owner of the motion picture. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, the person shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, for each offense.
(c) A theater owner exhibiting motion pictures in a motion picture theater must display a sign giving notice that recording a motion picture without the consent of the media owner of the motion picture is a criminal violation. The sign must be displayed in a manner that is clearly legible and conspicuous from the entrance of the motion picture theater. This section does not create any liability for a theater owner failing to display a sign required under this subsection.
(d) A theater owner may detain, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable period, any person whom the owner has probable cause to believe has violated or is violating this section. A law enforcement officer shall be called to the scene immediately after the person is detained. The theater owner may not be held liable in any civil or criminal action arising out of measures taken in the course of detaining the person while awaiting the arrival of a law enforcement officer, unless the plaintiff can show by clear and convincing evidence that the measures were manifestly unreasonable or the period of detention was unreasonably long.
(e) This section does not prevent an employee or agent of an investigative agency, law enforcement agency, protective services agency, or intelligence-gathering agency from operating an audiovisual recording device in a motion picture theater where a motion picture is being exhibited as part of a lawfully authorized investigative, protective, law enforcement, or intelligence-gathering activity.
(f) This section does not prevent the prosecution of an offense under any other provision of this code.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully using a recording device to record a motion picture in a motion picture theater.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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