Washington, DC (April 1, 1998 00:00 PST http://www.dontlaugh.org) - A sympathetic House subcommittee today heard testimony from the motion picture industry on the need for a new law to protect the industry from rampant piracy.
"Our undercover investigators have finally discovered why ticket sales to most newly released movies drop so dramatically in the first week or so", said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
"Hundreds of millions of movie-goers pay a mere $7.50 each, but they leave with mental copies of images and sounds of movies that cost us billions of dollars to make. This is blatant theft of our valuable intellectual property!"
Because of this rampant mental piracy, Valenti said, "few ever return to a theater to see a movie even for a second time. This deprives our industry of billions of dollars in lost revenue, and it forces us to spend billions every year just to make new movies in a never-ending battle to stay ahead of the pirates."
Valenti was especially critical of a few brazen individuals who regularly use television and newspapers to disseminate mentally pirated movies, often before they're even open to the public. As a result of this piracy -- a gaping loophole in present copyright law -- many millions of people do not see most movies even once.
"These reprehensible individuals -- some of whom are rich and nationally famous by their misdeeds -- cost us billions of dollars in lost sales every year."
Valenti's testimony was in support of the "No Mental Theft Act" recently introduced in the House by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the sponsor of the "No Electronic Theft Act" recently signed into law by President Clinton.
Goodlatte's proposed legislation calls for the mandatory administration of memory-erasing drugs to all movie-goers to stop the mental piracy described by Mr. Valenti. According a Goodlatte staffer, "The drugs are really only temporary. Eventually we'll install mind-erasing devices in every movie theater."
Anonymous sources have confirmed that the memory erasing devices, recently featured without authorization in the movie "Men in Black", have been secretly field-tested at showings of "Titanic" at the urging of producers desperate to recover its 1-billion-dollar price tag. Initial results are reported to be "stunning".