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Video Privacy Protection Act

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Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Bork Bill)

(as of 4.93)

18 USC S. 2710

S. 2710.  Wrongful disclosure of video tape rental or sale records

   (a) Definitions.  For purposes of this section--

   (1) the term "consumer" means any renter, purchaser, or subscriber of
goods or services from a video tape service provider;

   (2) the term "ordinary course of business" means only debt collection
activities, order fulfillment, request processing, and the transfer of

   (3) the term "personally identifiable information" includes information
which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video
materials or services from a video tape service provider; and

   (4) the term "video tape service provider" means any person, engaged in
the business, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of rental,
sale, or delivery of prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio
visual materials, or any person or other entity to whom a disclosure is
made under subparagraph (D) or (E) of subsection (b)(2), but only with
respect to the information contained in the disclosure.

   (b) Video tape rental and sale records.

   (1) A video tape service provider who knowingly discloses, to any
person, personally identifiable information concerning any consumer of such
provider shall be liable to the aggrieved person for the relief provided in
subsection (d).

   (2) A video tape service provider may disclose personally identifiable
information concerning any consumer--

   (A) to the consumer;

   (B) to any person with the informed, written consent of the consumer
given at the time the disclosure is sought;

   (C) to a law enforcement agency pursuant to a warrant issued under the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, an equivalent State warrant, a grand
jury subpoena, or a court order;

   (D) to any person if the disclosure is solely of the names and addresses
of consumers and if--

   (i) the video tape service provider has provided the consumer with the
opportunity, in a clear and conspicuous manner, to prohibit such
disclosure; and

   (ii) the disclosure does not identify the title, description, or subject
matter of any video tapes or other audio visual material; however, the
subject matter of such materials may be disclosed if the disclosure is for
the exclusive use of marketing goods and services directly to the consumer;

   (E) to any person if the disclosure is incident to the ordinary course
of business of the video tape service provider; or

   (F) pursuant to a court order, in a civil proceeding upon a showing of
compelling need for the information that cannot be accommodated by any
other means, if--

   (i) the consumer is given reasonable notice, by the person seeking the
disclosure, of the court proceeding relevant to the issuance of the court
order; and

   (ii) the consumer is afforded the opportunity to appear and contest the
claim of the person seeking the disclosure.

   If an order is granted pursuant to subparagraph (C) or (F), the court
shall impose appropriate safeguards against unauthorized disclosure.

   (3) Court orders authorizing disclosure under subparagraph (C) shall
issue only with prior notice to the consumer and only if the law
enforcement agency shows that there is probable cause to believe that the
records or other information sought are relevant to a legitimate law
enforcement inquiry. In the case of a State government authority, such a
court order shall not issue if prohibited by the law of such State. A court
issuing an order pursuant to this section, on a motion made promptly by the
video tape service provider, may quash or modify such order if the
information or records requested are unreasonably voluminous in nature or
if compliance with such order otherwise would cause an unreasonable burden
on such provider.

   (c) Civil action.

   (1) Any person aggrieved by any act of a person in violation of this
section may bring a civil action in a United States district court.

   (2) The court may award--

   (A) actual damages but not less than liquidated damages in an amount of
$ 2,500;

   (B) punitive damages;

   (C) reasonable attorneys' fees and other litigation costs reasonably
incurred; and

   (D) such other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines
to be appropriate.

   (3) No action may be brought under this subsection unless such action is
begun within 2 years from the date of the act complained of or the date of

   (4) No liability shall result from lawful disclosure permitted by this

   (d) Personally identifiable information.  Personally identifiable
information obtained in any manner other than as provided in this section
shall not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, arbitration, or
other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer,
agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the
United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State.

   (e) Destruction of old records.  A person subject to this section shall
destroy personally identifiable information as soon as practicable, but no
later than one year from the date the information is no longer necessary
for the purpose for which it was collected and there are no pending
requests or orders for access to such information under subsection (b)(2)
or (c)(2) or pursuant to a court order.

   (f) Preemption.  The provisions of this section preempt only the
provisions of State or local law that require disclosure prohibited by this


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