New York Penal Law § 275.20: Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree

If you make a recording of a sound or visual performance without first getting the permission of the performers, you may have committed a crime. It is against the law to make sure a recording with the intent to sell or rent that recording. Under New York Penal Law § 275.20 you have committed the crime of manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree if:

  1. Without the consent of the performer you knowingly record a performance with the intent to sell or rent it, or
  2. You knowingly possess, transport, or advertise for sale, resale or rent a recording that was made in violation of this §.

And

  1. You also have been convicted of manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the second degree within the prior 5 years, or
  2. Commission of this crime involved more than 1000 unauthorized sound records or at least 100 unauthorized audio-visual recordings.
Example

Danielle has a huge collection of music CDs, vinyl records, cassette tapes, and even 8-track tapes. Her collection includes thousands of original recordings as well as copies made without the permission of the performers. Danielle did not care whether or not recordings in her collection were authentic or pirated. It is not likely that Danielle could be charged with manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording. While Danielle's collection may include over 1000 unauthorized sound records, Danielle did not possess the recordings with the intent to sell or rent them.

Related Offenses
  1. Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 275.15
  2. Advertisement or sale of unauthorized recordings in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 275.25
  3. Unauthorized operation of a recording device in a motion picture or live theater in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 275.33
Defenses

A necessary element in the charge of manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance is the intent to sell or rent the recording. If you have the recordings for your own private collection and not to sell or rent, then the prosecutor would have a difficult time proving that you violated the statute.

Sentence

As a Class E felony, if you are convicted of manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree, your sentence may include a prison term of up to 4 years, a probation term of 5 years, and a fine.

New York Penal Law § 275.20: Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree

A person commits the crime of unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree when he commits the crime of manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance in the second degree as defined in § 275.15 of this article and either:

  1. such person has previously been convicted of that crime within the past five years; or
  2. commission of that crime involves at least one thousand unauthorized sound recordings or at least one hundred unauthorized audio-visual recordings.
New York Manufacture or Sale of an Unauthorized recording of a Performance in the First Degree Lawyer

If you are charged with unauthorized recording of a performance in the first degree it is important that you have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes related to the unauthorized recording of a performance and music piracy. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations:

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