ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

July 8, 2011 -

The Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) has issued a call to arms to its members and the gaming community at large, urging everyone that will listen that Bill S. 978 (the anti-streaming law) is bad for everyone. The law has the potential to affect everyone - from YouTube video posters that make gameplay videos to Netflix users that share their account information. You can check out the alert here and send a letter to your Senators voicing your strong objection to this bill.

The alert can also be found below:

Don't Make Me a Criminal For Playing Video Games

Bill S. 978 has recently been introduced before the United States Senate. The legislation, if passed, would impose stricter copyright laws and penalties when it comes to streaming, playing, or reproducing copyrighted material. While we believe in the rights of copyright holders, this legislation’s broad language would make criminals out of millions of Americans.

People could face prison for up to 5 years if they:
 

  1. Make or offer 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and


  2. If the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, could exceed $2,500; or


  3. the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000



In plain terms this means that if you stream your game play to show your friends and it’s viewed by 1 or more friends ten times or less, you could go to jail for up to five years. Yeah, really.

Everyone is at risk. The vagueness regarding value leaves it to copyright holders to determine the possible costs to them. If they want to prosecute through that loophole, they can. A child playing piano of their favorite performer on YouTube, a video of a child dancing to their favorite songs and video game players showing off walk-throughs, speed trials and live streaming their games are all examples of items that’d be prosecutable under this legislation.

There are already strong laws on the books for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property. We don’t need this draconian measure that’d make criminals out of millions Americans who just want to share their enjoyment of their favorite entertainment.

 

[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]


Comments

Re: ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

Considering the amounts of money that the RIAA has been able to extract per song in court cases, which borders on squeezing blood from a stone, the whole $2500/$5000 'threshhold' seems pointless.

Re: ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

And this article is a great example of all the problems inherent in a bill like this:

Hollywood is about to repeat the mistakes of the music industry

http://www.slate.com/id/2298871/pagenum/all/

"The trouble facing the movie industry right now is the same one the music industry had to confront 10 years ago. This is the summing-up sentence I referred to above:

The easiest and most convenient way to see the movies or TV shows you want is to get them illegally."

Sue, legislate, make getting TV shows and movies legally as difficult as possible... but never embrace new technology. Yes, it's the music industry's woes all over again.

Re: ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

"A child playing piano of their favorite performer on YouTube, a video of a child dancing to their favorite songs and video game players showing off walk-throughs, speed trials and live streaming their games are all examples of items that’d be prosecutable under this legislation."

The first example is the only one in this list that would not be affected under this law. This law is actually more about transforming a tort into a crime and that just shouldn't be done.

Re: ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

Couldn't streaming game playing fall under fair use? There is a fair use exception for material used for educational purposes, and if you are posting gaming videos as a how-to guide so people learn how to beat the game, couldn't that be considered educational?

Austin from Oregon: One of your Senators, Ron Wyden, seems to be a particualrly good target for a letter. He is already opposing PROTECT IP, and if you alert him to this (he will only accept letters and emails from fellow Oregonians), he might be one of our best bets as an ally.

Re: ECA Action Alert: Bill S. 978

Fair use doesn't matter to big content industries and the DMCA. So why would it matter here?

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

 
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Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
Andrew EisenNo one's crossed a line but I just want to remind you all to keep discussions civil.09/20/2014 - 1:54pm
Craig R.tldr: I'm a gamer, and imo those who support GamerGate should feel free to take a flying leap off a cliff.09/20/2014 - 1:27pm
Craig R.Not only that, I'm pretty sure that if actual studies were done, you'd still deny them, Sleaker. After all, it's not what you'd want to hear to support your rose-colored view of GamerGate.09/20/2014 - 1:18pm
Craig R.There IS an issue. Nor do we need a study to show that if you deny it then you're part of the problem.09/20/2014 - 1:17pm
 

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