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Video Privacy Protection Act

18 U.S.C. § 2710 et seq.

Section 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 orservices 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 ownership;

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

(4) the term "video tape service provider" means any person, engaged in thebusiness, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of rental, sale, or delivery ofprerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual materials, or any person orother 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 whoknowingly discloses, to any person, personally identifiable information concerning any consumerof 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 identifiableinformation concerning any consumer --

(A) to the consumer;

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

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

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

(i) the video tape service provider has provided the consumerwith the opportunity, in a clear and conspicuous manner, to prohibit suchdisclosure; and

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

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

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

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

(ii) the consumer is afforded the opportunity to appear andcontest the claim of the person seeking the disclosure. If an order isgranted pursuant to subparagraph (C) or (F), the court shall imposeappropriate safeguards against unauthorized disclosure.

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

(c) Civil Action -- (1) Any person aggrieved by any act of a person in violation of thissection 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 amountof $2,500;

(B) punitive damages;

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

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

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

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

(d) Personally Identifiable Information -- Personally identifiable information obtained inany manner other than as provided in this section shall not be received into 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 destroypersonally identifiable information as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from thedate the information is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected and thereare 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 orlocal law that require disclosure prohibited by this section.