Register of Copyrights: Illegal Streaming Should be a Felony

The new head of the U.S. Copyright Office says that illegal video streaming should be a felony. The new Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante spent her first day testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, giving her approval to the IP Enforcement Czar’s recommendation that the government should stop treating illegal streaming offenses as "unauthorized performances" and start classifying it as a serious crime, or "unauthorized reproductions and distributions." The White House backs the IP Czar’s recommendations. This would turn illegal streaming into a felony – up from a less serious misdemeanor charge.

Pallante said the following before the House Judiciary Committee hearing:

"One might ask why it is not sufficient to prosecute streaming as a misdemeanor. The fact is, as a practical matter, prosecutors have little incentive to file charges for a mere misdemeanor. This means that compared to similar infringing conduct involving the large-scale making or distributing copies (e.g. DVDs of a movie), streaming is not only a lesser crime on the books, it is a crime that may never be punished at all. As a matter of policy, the public performance right should enjoy the same measure of protection from criminals as the reproduction and distribution rights; prosecutors should have the option of seeking felony penalties for such activity, when appropriate."

As Ars Technica points out: " online stream is not necessarily a ‘reproduction’ or ‘distribution’ under the Copyright Act, but is instead a ‘public performance.’ And such unauthorized public performances are currently held to a different legal standard."

Sources: VentureBeat, Ars Technica

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    SpencerRuler says:

    Well, now, this is just crazy talk.


    Living in Canada can be a very good thing, you know. We enjoy the universal healthcare and gun-free environment of an European country while getting all of our games released at the same time as in the US.

  2. 0
    axiomatic says:

    As long as Maria Pallante foots the bill for these non-violent criminals "free ride" in jail I’m ok with this. Whats that, she’s not going to pay for this herself you say and she wants taxes to pay for these non-violent criminals stay in jail? Oh well then this plan sucks.


  3. 0
    Craig R. says:

    As if corporations weren’t abusing/creating the law enough. As if enough people weren’t already in jail.

    Now we have to deal with this kind of nonsense being floated about?

    The financial punishments are already absurd to the point that they’re worse than real crimes that have far greater physical impact. Apparently copying a film is now a crime on par with murder.

    Coming soon: war crimes for having a Napster account.

  4. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    Coming soon to America:  If I see anyone just walking down the street, that will be a felony because sunlight is streaming into my eyes that simply bounced off your body.  Oh wait, never mind – that’s already happened.  This is just a natural extension of that.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

Leave a Reply