New anti-piracy warning to appear before movies

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The message displayed under the seals is nearly identical to the old message: "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."

The old warning specified that the FBI would investigate copyright infringement cases and noted that "infringement without monetary gain" is not protected.

A second screen displays the seal of National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination (NIPRC) Center, a government task force that coordinates the anti-piracy efforts of 20 federal agencies.

The text on the second screen reads, "Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit www.iprcenter.gov."

"Our nation's film and TV business is critical to our economy," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement announcing the new warnings. "Its creativity and imagination have made American entertainment one of our greatest exports over the decades, but criminals are increasingly engaging in new forms of digital theft. Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort."

The major movie studios, along with other entertainment companies, argue that online copyright infringement is eroding profits and destroying jobs. They have called for tough new measures to force Web companies to block access to foreign pirate sites. 

But a massive protest led by activists and technology companies forced Congress to abandon the anti-piracy legislation earlier this year.