California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 653aa

(a) Any person, except a minor, who is located in California, who, knowing that a particular recording or audiovisual work is commercial, knowingly electronically disseminates all or substantially all of that commercial recording or audiovisual work to more than 10 other people without disclosing his or her e-mail address, and the title of the recording or audiovisual work is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(b) Any minor who violates subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500).  Any minor who commits a third or subsequent violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) do not apply:

(1) To a person who electronically disseminates a commercial recording or audiovisual work to his or her immediate family, or within his or her personal network, defined as a restricted access network controlled by and accessible to only that person or people in his or her immediate household.

(2) If the copyright owner, or a person acting under the authority of the copyright owner, of a commercial recording or audiovisual work has explicitly given permission for all or substantially all of that recording or audiovisual work to be freely disseminated electronically by or to anyone without limitation.

(3) To a person who has been licensed either by the copyright owner or a person acting under the authority of the copyright owner to disseminate electronically all or substantially all of a commercial audiovisual work or recording.

(4) To the licensed electronic dissemination of a commercial audiovisual work or recording by means of a cable television service offered over a cable system or direct to home satellite service as defined in Title 47 of the United States Code.

(d) Nothing in this section shall restrict the copyright owner from disseminating his or her own copyrighted material.

(e) Upon conviction for a violation of this section, in addition to the penalty prescribed, the court shall order the permanent deletion or destruction of any electronic file containing a commercial recording or audiovisual work, the dissemination of which was the basis of the violation.  This subdivision shall not apply to the copyright owner or to a person acting under the authority of the copyright owner.

(f) An Internet service provider does not violate, and does not aid and abet a violation of subdivision (a), and subdivision (a) shall not be enforced against an Internet service provider, to the extent that the Internet service provider enables a user of its service to electronically disseminate an audiovisual work or sound recording, if the Internet service provider maintains its valid e-mail address or other means of electronic notification on its Internet Web site in a location that is accessible to the public.

For the purposes of this section, “Internet service provider” means an entity, to the extent that the entity is transmitting, routing, or providing connections for Internet communications initiated by or at the direction of another person, between or among points specified by a user, of material placed online by a user, storing or hosting that material at the direction of a user, or referring or linking users to that material.

(g) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Recording” means the electronic or physical embodiment of any recorded images, sounds, or images and sounds, but does not include audiovisual works or sounds accompanying audiovisual works.

(2) “Audiovisual work” means the electronic or physical embodiment of motion pictures, television programs, video or computer games, or other audiovisual presentations that consist of related images that are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, or a computer program, software, or system, as defined in Section 502 , together with accompanying sounds, if any.

(3) “Commercial recording or audiovisual work” means a recording or audiovisual work whose copyright owner, or assignee, authorized agent, or licensee, has made or intends to make available for sale, rental, or for performance or exhibition to the public under license, but does not include an excerpt consisting of less than substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work.  A recording or audiovisual work may be commercial regardless of whether the person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from that dissemination.

(4) “Electronic dissemination” means initiating a transmission of, making available, or otherwise offering, a commercial recording or audiovisual work for distribution on the Internet or other digital network, regardless of whether someone else had previously electronically disseminated the same commercial recording or audiovisual work.

(5) “E-mail address” means a valid e-mail address, or the valid e-mail address of the holder of the account from which the dissemination took place.

(6) “Disclosing” means providing information in, attached to, or discernable or available in or through the process of disseminating or obtaining a commercial recording or audiovisual work in a manner that is accessible by any person engaged in disseminating or receiving the commercial recording or audiovisual work.

(h) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under any other provision of law.


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