Canada adopts movie piracy law

Canada, accused of being responsible for 20 to 25 percent of all pirated movies, inacted law that makes it a criminal offense to record movies in theaters.

Last month, Warner Bros. threatened to cancel all of its advance screenings in Canada and accused the country of being at the forefront of the piracy market.

It is currently not a criminal offense in Canada to make recordings of movies in theaters for personal use. Under the new bill, recording a movie without permission can bring up to two years in jail, while taping a film for later sale or rental could carry a five-year penalty.

The movie industry has lobbied for years for a crackdown, saying piracy costs it US$6 billion (4.5 billion EUR) dollars a year.

In a meeting Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that Canada would crack down on piracy.

Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda said the legislation averts a Warner Bros. threat to cancel Canadian preview showings of likely summer hits such as the latest Harry Potter sequel.

Oda said she has been told that Canada may be responsible for 20 to 25 percent of all pirated movies.