The Video Privacy Protection Act, passed in 1988, prohibits a "video tape service provider" from a customer's disclosing "personally identifiable information" without written consent. Congress is struggling to revise the law, and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Entertainment and Media Law Group chair David A. Gurwin offered some insight to CNNMoney on the matter: focus on the big picture.
"They need to clarify which formats the law applies to – discs only, or all formats" of video, Gurwin explained. "Don't leave it up to the courts to decide."
Ambiguous language in the VPAA – "prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual materials" – highlights the difficulties of legislating technology, an almost impossible task according to Gurwin.
"By the time the legislation is passed, the technology may be obsolete," he noted. "New technology is always going to outpace the law's ability to catch up."
Gurwin's remarks were also published on CNN.com, KSAT.com, WFNZ-TV News, Click 2 Houston and News8000.com.