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New York Penal Law § 275.10: Manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree

Included in New York's criminal code are laws designed to protect the intangible property of others. Among those laws are offenses related to making unauthorized copies of recordings owned by others and then trying to profit from them. A "recording" is defined as a record, disc, tape, audio or video cassette, wire, film, hard drive, flash drive, memory card, or other storage device on which sounds and images can be recorded. In other words, it is a crime to copy another person's recording of music or stage performance and then sell that recording. Under New York Penal Law § 275.10 you have committed the crime of manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree if you do the following:

  1. Knowingly transfer a recording without the consent of its owner, with the intent to sell or rent it for profit,
  2. Knowingly transfer a recording without the consent of its owner, with the intent to use it to promote another product, or
  3. Transport within New York for financial gain a recording that you know was transferred without the consent of its owner;

And

  1. You also have been convicted of manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the second degree within the prior 5 years, or
  2. If the recording was fixed prior to February 15, 1972, you also commit this crime by manufacturing more than 1000 unauthorized sound records.

As used in this statute the term "fixed" means sounds that has been permanently embodied in a recording under the authority of the author in a manner so that it can be listened to, viewed or recording in the future.

Example

For the past 5 years Jennifer has had a lucrative business of selling CDs that she copied. A few years ago she was caught and was charged with manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the second degree. However, she made some adjustments to how she ran her plan and was soon back to selling copied CDs. If Jennifer is again charged with manufacture of unauthorized recordings, she will face the first degree charge since she has already been convicted of the second degree charge.

Related Offenses
  1. Manufacture or sale of an unauthorized recording of a performance 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. Failure to disclose the origin of a recording in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 275.35
Defenses

In order for you to be successfully prosecuted for manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree the prosecutor must prove that the recordings were made without the authorization of the owner and that you were selling them or otherwise using them for commercial gain. If you did have the owner's permission, or if you had the recording for personal use, you would have a valid defense to the charge.

Sentence

As a Class E felony, if you are convicted of manufacture of unauthorized recordings 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 § 275.10: Manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree

A person is guilty of manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree when he commits the crime of manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the second degree as defined in § 275.05 of this article and either:

  1. has previously been convicted of that crime within the past five years; or
  2. commits that crime by the manufacture of one thousand unauthorized sound recordings; provided, however, that this § shall only apply to sound recordings initially fixed prior to February fifteenth, nineteen hundred seventy-two.
New York Manufacture of Unauthorized Recordings in the First Degree Lawyer

While you may not think selling unauthorized copies of a recording is a big deal, it is indeed a crime. If you are charged with manufacture of unauthorized recordings in the first degree, it is important that you have experienced representation. If you are convicted you could go to prison for up to 4 years and you may be required to pay a substantial fine. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with making or selling unauthorized recordings. 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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