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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Have you visited a video game arcade in the last year?:

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Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightWith the current poll, I guess it all depends on how one defines "arcade". If Chuck E Cheese or similar multipurpose businesses count, then that is a yes for me.08/20/2014 - 11:59am
ZenLet the ax fall Sleaker...lessons MUST be learned...08/20/2014 - 11:44am
Andrew EisenNote to Shout boxers: if it's not a current GP story or something currently being discussed in the Shout box, please provide a link to what you're referring to or at least some context so we know what you're talking about and can discuss it with you.08/20/2014 - 11:44am
Sleaker*prepares fluffy kitten for execution as no link has been forthcoming*08/20/2014 - 11:14am
ZenMasked, guessing you are talking about the Wii game which was later ported to 360/PS3. I never played it..but I did grab the sweet gold Classic Controller from it to finish my Gold Wii controller set lol.08/20/2014 - 11:06am
Andrew EisenOnce again, MaskedPixelante, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Are you talking about the Wii remake in 2010? The PS3/360 enhanced port of the remake in 2011? Something new? Please, for the love of fluffy kittens, provide a damn link.08/20/2014 - 9:57am
MaskedPixelanteSo, if I finish this game Activision claims is the GoldenEye remake, but looks suspiciously like a rejected CoD game, do I get the REAL GoldenEye remake?08/20/2014 - 8:37am
Papa MidnightWii U Games finding Solidarity with PC Gamers :(08/19/2014 - 6:09pm
Zenbuy all of the bad DLC before they even showed the main content everyone was waiting for. I paid for it, I wanted it, and I got tossed aside.08/19/2014 - 4:10pm
ZenIanC: Yep, both Call of Duty games did the same thing holding back all DLC and then releasing the day one map 2 YEARS later out of the blue. Why play what they won't support. Warner Bros canceled their DLC after promising it because Wii U owners didn't08/19/2014 - 4:09pm
Andrew EisenShe's the developer of Depression Quest. It's an interesting game (although I wouldn't call it fun) and you can check it out for free at depressionquest.com.08/19/2014 - 2:48pm
Sleakerwhat's all this Zoe quinn stuff all over and should I even bother looking it up?08/19/2014 - 2:37pm
IanCExactly Zen. The third one had random delays to the DLC and they just came out seemingly at random with no warning, and the 4th they didn't even bother.08/19/2014 - 2:31pm
ZenI may have bought both AC games on Wii U, but WHY would anyone be expected to get the game when they came out MONTHS before release that they were skipping DLC and ignoring the game? They poisoned the market on themselves then blamed Nintendo players.08/19/2014 - 1:27pm
Papa MidnightIn review, that's fair, Andrew. I just tend to take Gawker articles with a lot of salt, and skepticism.08/19/2014 - 12:07pm
Matthew WilsonFor one has a English speaking support team for devs. Devs have said any questions they have, were translated in to Japanese. then back in to English. 08/19/2014 - 11:41am
Adam802they need to realize the "wii-fad" era is pretty much over and start rebooting some old great franchises like they are doing with star fox08/19/2014 - 11:39am
 

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