New York is famous for world-class art. The top performing artists from all over the world make their way to New York to create and perform their art. With these world-class performances come people who seek to illegally profit from the work of others.
In New York, it’s illegal to record someone else’s performance if you plan to sell it or distribute it for a profit. It’s also illegal to take a recording that already exists and participate in selling it or redistributing it for a profit. If you don’t have the permission of the performance’s owner to sell the performance, you can’t have any part in selling a recording of the performance for a profit.
New York law looks at the specifics of the events surrounding the crime in order to determine the seriousness of the offense. Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording is divided into several different degrees of crime under New York law. The most serious is a charge in the first degree. Second degree is slightly less serious of an offense, but it’s still a class A misdemeanor under New York law and a serious matter.
Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording in the second degree is a violation of New York penal law 275.15. You commit this offense if you knowingly record a performance with a plan to sell it or rent it. You also commit this offense if you knowingly possess, move or advertise an unauthorized recording to others for sale or rent.
Tony is excited to go and see a new movie. He takes a smartphone with him that has a large storage capacity. While he watches the movie, Tony records it with his phone. He intends to copy the recording and sell it online.
Someone in the theater sees Tony make the recording. They alert the theater, and theater operators call law enforcement. When law enforcement arrives, Tony admits his plan to copy the recording and sell it. Tony has committed the manufacture of an unauthorized recording in the second degree. Tony can also face the related charge of unauthorized use of a recording device in a movie theater.
Let’s say that Tony succeeds in recording the video without getting caught. He takes the recording home and shares it with his sister Tammy. Tammy makes the copies of the recording. She posts advertisements for sale of the copies online. In this case, both Tony and Tammy are guilty of manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording.
If you’re facing this charge, you can speak with the team of NYC criminal attorneys at Spodek Law Group about your defenses. One possible defense is that you didn’t know that you didn’t have authority to make the recordings. The law requires the state to prove that you acted knowing what you did. If you thought you had permission to make the recording or you didn’t know that the materials you had are unauthorized, you might also have a valid defense to the claim.
Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. That means that you risk serving a maximum of one year in jail if you’re convicted. You can also spend up to three years on probation and pay a fine. The exact penalties imposed by the court depend on the entire circumstances of the case and your criminal history. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your case and your options.
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