Illegal Streaming Bill Clears Senate Judiciary Committee

A bill that proposes a felony charge to anyone that "illegally streams copyrighted content online" has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will head to the full Senate for a vote. The bill, S. 978 (or "Commercial Felony Streaming Act"), brings the penalties for illegal streaming in line with the penalties for illegal downloading. What used to be a misdemeanor will now become a serious crime if the law gets passed. In other words, illegal streaming could get you a five year sentence in jail. Websites that offer illegally streams of copyrighted content 10 or more times during an 180-day period can be prosecuted if the bill becomes law, although it is unclear how the bill deals with individual streamers.

“From the perspective of video retailers, a sale or rental lost because a potential customer already viewed the motion picture or television program from an infringing copy is just as damaging as a sale or rental lost because the customer viewed the motion picture or television program from an infringing public performance,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners also thinks the bill is a good idea. When the bill was first introduced he said: “It is high time that the punishment fit the crime. Illegal streaming of stolen content is growing and poses a threat to the profitability of movie theaters and to the jobs of our 160,000 employees in the U.S.”

There doesn’t seem to be a provision to punish consumers for sharing services such as Netflix with other users, at least. That may change in time for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the popularity of Netflix and many consumers using it as a replacement for traditional cable.

Source: Home Media Magazine

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


  1. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Welcome to Dealing with the Government with our hosts: Winn, Dewy, Fookem and Howe.


    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  2. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Yes thats exactly what the states need is another non-violent criminal costing the state $50k a year to eat and poop in solitude in a jail cell.

    Dumbest idea EVER!

  3. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    hard jail time for watching a stream but Tony Hayward (ex-BP exec) gets to live in lavish luxury for the rest of his days for poisoning the Gulf.

    the influence of the MAFIAA on Congress (mostly Dems) is totally out of control.

  4. 0
    Algus says:

    And in conclusion those who would try to watch a sports team other than the one shown in their area, thus causing the companies that have ridiculous monopolies with the pro leagues to lose money will go to jail for 5 years like the filthy criminals that they are. 

    You know the US government is corrupt but it is really sad whenever something super transparent like this happens. 

  5. 0
    Austin from Oregon says:

    Seriously, watching a stream for jail time? A more appropriate punishment would be to pay a fine thats just large enough to encourage people to buy the media.

  6. 0
    Kajex says:

    Illegal streaming of stolen content

    If I bought the box collection of Battlestar Galactica, converted the video and then streamed it to my friends on a private channel, would that fit? Personally, I don’t see the difference between setting up a private stream of something I own and inviting my friends into the channel, and inviting them to the apartment to watch it on my TV- in both cases, I’m offering access to viewing a medium to people close to me who don’t own it.

  7. 0
    Mr. Blond says:

    Is anyone here from Oregon? If so, contact Senator Ron Wyden with your concerns about this bill. He is the one who is blocking the PROTECT IP Act, so if you let him know about the problems with this bill, and maybe he can hold this one up too.

Leave a Reply