NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Bootleg films might provide a cheaper alternative to a night at the movies, but they result in severe economic damages, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Cuomo is backing new legislation (The Piracy Protection Act) that will make illegal recordingsof a film or live performance a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a possibility of a year in jail for first-time offenders.

"New York has become the hub for a criminal network dedicated to film piracy," Cuomo said. "The wide distribution of pirated films originating from New York costs our state vital economic resources, including thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

"We are all paying a price for the leniency given to this type of organized crime, and I will not let it continue on my watch."

In order to help local and state law enforcement with combating film piracy, Cuomo will create a new Special Assistant Attorney General Position who will work with his Organized Crime Task Force.

A report by the Institute for Policy's Innovation in 2006 showed that a potential $5.5 billion in annual earnings is lost because of bootlegging, which also prevented the creation of 141,030 new jobs.

Film piracy also costs governments $837 million in tax revenue, the report said.

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