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Lobbyists reportedly paid 10 percent of U.S. Senators campaign costs in order to push to an anti-streaming internet copyright bill that looks to imprison U.S. citizens.  (Source: Sodahead)

The U.S. imprisons more inmates than 35 European nations combined. It imprisons more of its citzens than any other nation in the world, at a massive expense to its free taxpayers.  (Source: The Utopianist)

President Barack Obama's administration is pushing the bill to imprison Americans who illegally stream sports, movies, and TV online.  (Source: AP Photo)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is among the bill's three cosponsors.  (Source: Getty Images)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is another sponsor.  (Source: AP Photo)

The bill's final sponsor is Sen. Chris Coons (D-Dela.).  (Source: AP Photo)
Approximately 10 percent of active Senators' total campaign costs were paid by bill's supporters

Yesterday we reported on a pending measure in the United States Senate "The Commercial Felony Streaming Act" (S. 978).  Approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill now moves to the Senate floor for approval.

If approved, the bill promises up to 5 years of hard prison time for anyone who "willfully" infringes content via streaming for the purpose of "personal financial gain".  One of the sponsoring organizations, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claims the measure will only be used to charge operators of sites that stream content illegally -- such as sports shows, movies, or TV shows.

But the bill's ambiguous language could eventually be applied to send viewers to jail, as well.  After all, the MPAA could easily argue in court that viewers were seeing "personal financial gain" by avoiding cable service fees, movie rental costs, etc.

But that's hardly the biggest story here.

I. Bought and Paid For

The U.S. currently has the world's highest incarceration rate [source; PDF].  Maintaining that dubious distinction is far from cheap -- it cost free U.S. citizens a projected $80B USD in 2010 to support the government imprisoning their peers [source].  So why would the government want to send more U.S. citizens to prison?

Well if a report by government watchdog group Maplight is to be believed, perhaps the old adage "you get what you pay for" holds true here.

Maplight claims that the groups supporting the bill have paid a total of $86M USD to active senators within the last six years.

Let's consider exactly how significant that number is.  The U.S. Senate has had 105 seats contested in the last three elections [1][2][3].  The average spent by a senate race winner was $8.5M USD in the 2008 elections [source], according to the government watchdog Center for Responsive Politics (maintainers of the site "Open Secrets").

So in total the winning Senators in the last three elections had to spend an estimated $892.5M USD to win their seats.

The $86M USD funneled by the anti-streaming lobbyists thus constitutes 9.7 percent of the total funds needed for U.S. Senators to obtain their jobs.

II. Payoffs Bear Real Weight on the Field of Tech Law

Such payoffs (or "bribes" as some people call them) don't always concern the world of technology and the internet.  But in this case, the payouts directly affect internet users across America.

Suddenly, watching 10 illegal streams within half a year could send you to prison for 5 years.  Again, the MPAA claims they won't press the point this far.  But the Bill's ambiguous language is freely available for anyone to read.

Many fans of science and technology hate hearing about politics.  They'd rather hear about new processors, search engines, hackers, and nanotubes than legislation, lawsuits, and presidential speeches.

But at the end of the day, the tech and science community of the world's largest technological superpower -- the U.S. -- is being deeply affected by the current state of American politics.

This can be seen in recent incidents such as the efforts to ban community-approved municipal internet projects, robbing citizens of their technology -- and their right to self governance.  The politicians involved?  They were reportedly paid off in campaign contributions by industry lobbyists, as well.

Likewise politicians in several states are considering making it a jail-time misdemeanor offense to share your password to Netflix, Inc.'s (NFLX) streaming video service.  Sharing your Netflix password with family members, roommates, or friends could send you to jail for one year.

III. Who is to Blame?

Dozens of Senators accepted contributions from these lobbies.  But it's important to identify the bill's biggest supporters.

Leading the way is U.S. President Barack Obama.  Obama pledged to look into copyright reform, but those promises were conveniently shelved when he stepped up to the plate pushing his campaign donors real agenda -- copyright enforcement.  Together with fellow nations like France, Britain, and Germany, the Obama administration has worked to install a secret treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) whose draft contains many Orwellian provisions, including the introduction of copyright infringement "thought crime", where simply searching for infringed content (thinking of infringing) can lead to charges.

And it was the President's advisors -- the 
White House Office of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement -- who urged Congress two months ago to pass an anti-streaming bill.  But some in the Senate were more than happy to comply; after all who would they be to deny the wishes of some of their biggest campaign donors?

The senators sponsoring the bill are Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Chris Coons (D-Dela.).  

The support illustrates another aspect of the nature of the problem.  On many of these issues affecting the tech community the issue is no longer partisan politics.  Both Democrats and Republicans are gleefully accepting campaign donations from industry lobbies and pushing their sponsors' agendas in Washington D.C.

At the end of the day the question here is clear -- who does the President and these Senators answer to and pledge to protect -- the citizens of the nation?  Or the entities that paid for them to get their prestigious positions of power?

As the nation that imprisons more of it citizens than any other country -- industrialized or not -- prepares to send yet more of its taxpayers to jail, consider the above.

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Prison terms
By MegaHustler on 6/18/2011 4:32:46 PM , Rating: 5
It never ceases to amaze me how long prison times are in the US, compared to most countries in Europe.

Five years? You'd need to do some pretty serious white-collar crime here in Denmark to get that kind of prison term. A guy who defrauded banks of about 60 million USD, recently got seven years.

RE: Prison terms
By Motoman on 6/18/2011 6:44:12 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, 5 years for "stealing" a TV show...but if you molested a 8-year old, you'd probably get 6 months in jail and a year of probation.

RE: Prison terms
By shabby on 6/18/2011 7:43:39 PM , Rating: 5
Those molested victims better get some good lobbyists then...

RE: Prison terms
By Einy0 on 6/19/2011 7:50:24 PM , Rating: 1
I know this is meant to be a joke but the sad truth is, it isn't. People in this government(US) would rather stuff their pockets and make sure they have the dough to get re-elected than take care of real problems. The scariest part of that is a large portion of those molested become molesters themselves. The only way you can help a molester is by treating them while they are still young and no one want's to pay for the proper treatment of that either.

RE: Prison terms
By FaaR on 6/18/2011 7:45:53 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, sex offenders are punished for life in a number of states in the US. The punishment literally does not expire...ever. Until you die that is.

So your example isn't all that great, mebbe you oughta go with robbing an old woman instead of molesting a kid, I dunno. :P

RE: Prison terms
By Mitch101 on 6/18/2011 8:46:27 PM , Rating: 4
I watched dateline the same guy with intent to meet an underage child on to catch a predator was caught again in a later episode. Apparently fined and sent on his way.

Scarry to think the Child molester would be free to continue stalking while the person who copied a movie is in jail. What a Level 0 species we are.

RE: Prison terms
By putergeek00 on 6/20/2011 10:21:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ooops! Sorry.

I think he was dropped on his head a few times. lol

RE: Prison terms
By michael67 on 6/18/2011 9:13:25 PM , Rating: 3
In Holland we have something called TBS translated it means "transfer to the state" for serious mostly sex or violent crimes.

If you get that extra if the judge think there is a good chance you will repeat what you done, it means that after your punishment you transferd to a psychiatric institute till they find that its save to let you back in society. that can mean 1 year or the rest of your life.

Some people are deemed a danger for society and incurable, those people they get confined in a camp ware they spend the rest of there life's with lots of internal freedom but no change to ever get out.

RE: Prison terms
By wrekd on 6/20/2011 10:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
Smoke and a pancake?

RE: Prison terms
By JediJeb on 6/20/2011 3:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
Seems I remember in Sweden castration is the punishment for first offense sex offenders. They also boast of having only a 5% repeat offender rate for sex crimes also. I think maybe they have the right idea.

RE: Prison terms
By MatthiasF on 6/20/2011 7:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, does this mean Assange could get castrated?

That's fantastic!

RE: Prison terms
By superstition on 6/21/2011 12:29:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because who cares about innocent until proven guilty?

I say, we bring back the Witch Trials.

RE: Prison terms
By Jalek on 6/19/2011 5:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Being on a list isn't punishment.
We still hear about level 3 offenders being released and killing kids.

RE: Prison terms
By xeridea on 6/20/2011 5:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
Funny thing... If you steal a movie from a retail store, its just shoptlifting, and a fine, why do you need to go to jail if you "steal" a movie online?

The answer? The MPAA and the music associations are greedy bastards who don't actually care about people making movies/music, but themselves, they are as corrupt as all the polititions. None of the money obtained from suing is ever given to the rightful owners, but used to find more creative ways to sue people.

RE: Prison terms
By PrinceGaz on 6/18/2011 10:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why the US has a much higher percentage of its population in prison than most western European countries (because they stick them in, and for much longer, for what here would be considered a minor crime). Real crime is physically or psychologically harming people, not hacking into computers or downloading a few music or movie files. Speaking of which... nah, it'll take forever for that to finish, at least there are several full sources even if I'm way down their queue.

It wasn't so long ago that some US states still had prisoners forced to work in chain-gangs, I believe. That was unbelievable in the later part of the 20th century.

RE: Prison terms
By tng on 6/20/2011 8:31:00 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't so long ago that some US states still had prisoners forced to work in chain-gangs, I believe. That was unbelievable in the later part of the 20th century.
There are still places that have chain gangs, believe it or not they are very effective.

Also computer hacking in not a victim less crime in all cases. Download a movie, who cares. Grab someones banking info and drain their accounts, whole different story when the rent check bounces and you get an eviction notice.... Problem is that in allot cases it can be the same person who does both, and the punishment needs to fit the crime. This bill wont help anybody.

RE: Prison terms
By Argon18 on 6/23/2011 1:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
On your point that "computer hacking" is not a "real crime", that needs to be further clarified. Computer hacking in the sense of illegal movie or music sharing, yes I agree that should not be a jail-able offense. It's a sad corrupt joke that these senators take money from the MPAA and RIAA to do their bidding. Those senators belong in jail.

On the other hand, computer hacking to steal sensitive government information, with the intent to change the course of politics, that is indeed a serious crime and should carry a very hefty jail sentence. Ever heard the phrase "loose lips sink ships"? It's true in the literal sense - people can and do die when classified government information gets leaked to the public, particularly when that information is about an in-progress military operation. Assange and his cohorts have blood on their hands.

By room200 on 6/18/2011 10:13:48 PM , Rating: 3
This is exactly why I don't trust the "free market". In essence, the "free market" gets so manipulated by those with money that the free market idea is gone.

RE: See.....
By Cerin218 on 6/18/2011 11:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a "free market" if it is being manipulated. Were it truly a free market, there would be nothing to mistrust. But nobody anywhere has a free market. America has come the closest out of any country in history, but our free market has peen perverted and become a mixed market. Why aren't there two cable companies in your area? Gov favoritism. Governments have screwed up the free market with favoritism. Which is what this article is all about.

Your statement would be more accurate if you replaced "free market" with "government".

RE: See.....
By superstition on 6/19/2011 11:55:00 PM , Rating: 4
"Were it truly a free market, there would be nothing to mistrust."

Put down the Rand and back away slowly. Ever heard of caveat emptor?

That is the rule, not the exception, in unregulated markets.

RE: See.....
By Solandri on 6/20/2011 6:18:28 AM , Rating: 1
Not that I think a truly free market is possible, but... By definition, if it's a free market, there's nothing politicians can do to influence it. The moment government interferes with a market, it's no longer free.

Of course caveat emptor is the rule of the unregulated market. That is the market's way of rewarding those who look out for themselves and punishing those who don't. Consequently those who are lazy, ignorant, or misguided lose influence (money) in the market. Those who work hard, research their decisions, and whose ideas align more closely with reality gain influence (money) in the market.

There are arguments against a free market. The one you are making is not one of them - it's the reason a free market works. Arguments against a free market that I've found include the tragedy of the commons, insider trading, and the relative importance of luck vs. smart decisions in producing positive outcomes.

RE: See.....
By superstition on 6/21/2011 12:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
"Of course caveat emptor is the rule of the unregulated market. That is the market's way of rewarding those who look out for themselves and punishing those who don't."

There is a fatal flaw here. It's called civilization.

Civilization happens because of specialization. Specialization happens because of human finiteness.

Unless you think, and you would be wrong, that hermit-in-a-cave living is superior to civilization -- you must repudiate caveat emptor.

RE: See.....
By disgusted@thieves on 6/19/2011 3:19:07 PM , Rating: 1
I'm upset the money had to be spent in the first place. A free market can not exist if your product is being stolen. It is congress demanding tribute to create laws that should already be on the books. That is the disgusting part.

RE: See.....
By fteoath64 on 6/20/2011 1:06:12 AM , Rating: 3
No "Free Markets" on earth are free and transparent. All lacks oversight, proper regulations and enforcement and honesty to work. So its just a grand illusion, this is why smaller players almost always lose in these markets.
We should get rid of this construct because it is working against us now that manipulators are using advanced computers to game the system.

Would you play in a game if you knew the opposition rigged the game so they will always win ?.

RE: See.....
By fteoath64 on 6/20/2011 1:06:33 AM , Rating: 2
No "Free Markets" on earth are free and transparent. All lacks oversight, proper regulations and enforcement and honesty to work. So its just a grand illusion, this is why smaller players almost always lose in these markets.
We should get rid of this construct because it is working against us now that manipulators are using advanced computers to game the system.

Would you play in a game if you knew the opposition rigged the game so they will always win ?.

RE: See.....
By Fost04mach on 6/21/2011 11:14:59 AM , Rating: 2
So its just a grand illusion, this is why smaller players almost always lose in these markets.

So how exactly do the big players get where they are? Are they just instantly huge? The reason a lot of smaller players almost always lose is because of competition. Not every team is going to win a championship. And making laws to make it so everyone is a winner, regardless whether they can play the game or not, is not going to make for a good game. When one smaller player loses, the competition will take up their marketshare, however small.

There are plenty examples of small companies that came up from the ground even in the last 1-2 decades. Facebook seemed to do pretty damn good, even with giants like MySpace and xanga or whatever the other big players were back then. Google seems to do ok even with Yahoo, altavista, and so on, being way bigger back in the day. For every Facebook or Google, there will be dozens (if not hundreds and thousands) of small players that won't make it.

And you want government to intervene and make them all winners? Brilliant.

RE: Time to get real
By ZeroOne on 6/19/2011 5:15:32 AM , Rating: 3
Well ,fellow Americans it is time for New Revolution.

RE: Time to get real
By gorehound on 6/19/2011 8:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
would love to see this system torn deserves it to happen.bribery and corruption and this is what business is norm on washington.
we can not trust any politician any longer as they all probably take bribes.
this law is total bullshit and i hope it is found out to be unenforceable due to violations of law code/constitution.
FUCK OFF DC !!!! bunch of asshole sell-out crooks

RE: Time to get real
By FaceMaster on 6/19/2011 12:30:21 PM , Rating: 2
Corporations have more power than the government. I don't even know whose side I'm on any more... I never asked for this.

RE: Time to get real
By Jalek on 6/19/2011 5:09:31 PM , Rating: 3
They're paying the government to handle security for them, it's nothing new, the government routinely uses the military to enforce contract law concerning corporate control of natural resources.

RE: Time to get real
By FaceMaster on 6/20/2011 7:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
But these people- they're like ghosts. Hiding behind lies, and proxy soldiers...

RE: Time to get real
By BadAcid on 6/20/2011 11:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
pro MGS reference. All too prophetic sometimes, unfortunately

RE: Time to get real
By zenom11 on 6/20/2011 9:33:11 AM , Rating: 3
we need to fix our system. Ban all contribution from organizations/companies. so that there is no way for any organizations/companies to have leverage or political agenda and our reps in DC only work for their constituents.

RE: Time to get real
By espaghetti on 6/20/2011 2:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
Check out the Federalist Papers.
Boring read, but they tell you specifically that these things will happen to our government and how to fix them.
The problem is that most history and American government teachers since the mid 1960's discredit them or completely ignore them.
Our population is completely ignorant about the way the government operates by design.
How many people do you know that can tell you exactly how a presidential election is decided?
How about why amendments are no longer used or repealed?
A revolution would likely create another France or even worse.
No thanks..
You won't know what you've got until it's gone.

To reiterate...
By Motoman on 6/19/2011 10:41:31 AM , Rating: 5
1. Make lobbying illegal.
2. After it's been made illegal, put any lobbyists you find still operating in jail.
3. After it's been made illegal, when an organization/company funds a lobbyist, put their principals (board of directors, executives, etc.) in jail.
4. After it's been made illegal, put any elected officials in jail when you find them cooperating with a lobbyist.

In a while, sh!t will get straightened out. Making lobbying illegal is the one and only way to fix this issue. Won't fix all issues...but it will fix this one.

RE: To reiterate...
By superstition on 6/19/2011 11:57:38 PM , Rating: 3
The US Supreme Court just ruled in Citizens United that corporations are people that have 1st Amendment freedom of speech, which means they have unlimited spending power in elections.

It will take a constitutional amendment to thwart the court. Good luck with that!

RE: To reiterate...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 12:45:29 AM , Rating: 3
Lobbying != free speech.

Lobbying = buying politicians.

RE: To reiterate...
By TSS on 6/20/2011 6:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
If corperations are people, the corperation commits a crime, then the corperation should be able to go to jail. Just send everybody from the CEO to the assembly workers to jail, lesser sentances for people in lower positions of course. But the CEO's will be going away for a long time.

If corperations have the rights of a person, they also have the responsibilities of a person. One is always tied to the other.

So the only difficult part is making it a crime to lobby. Where are you going to find the lobbyists to make that happen?

RE: To reiterate...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 8:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
Just send everybody from the CEO to the assembly workers to jail

Wow what is this, Communist Russia? Let's just throw everyone in jail, that will fix everything?

First off, it's never going to happen. Secondly, I would like to think we can come up with something less Draconian and more effective.

RE: To reiterate...
By Fost04mach on 6/21/2011 11:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
Wow what is this, Communist Russia? Let's just throw everyone in jail, that will fix everything?

The beatings will continue until morale improves, comrade!

RE: To reiterate...
By Natch on 6/20/2011 1:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Might be simpler to write a law limiting the amount of money a politician can spend on their re-election campaign.

Of course, then the lobbyists would simply pay them off with commercials paid for by "concerned citizens for the re-election of so-and-so". Which would likely also be protected by freedom of speech.

Shoot, might be easier to just have another revolution after all!! **SIGH**

By bernardl on 6/18/2011 11:24:16 PM , Rating: 5
I am not sure why anyone would be surprised. The so called act of "bribery" closely related to the concept of "corruption", often cited by US official when reporting on the lack of democracy in other nations, is perfectly legal in the US.

Campains can legally be funded by companies, pressure groups or lobbie,... They typically fund all political parties. Easier to do in the US than in most other "democratic" countries since you only have 2 parties... oh... could it be the reason why there are only 2? :)

It should be fairly obvious that this system has clear consequences on the way the US works as a country. Those who do have money control the future of the nation through the passing of laws. I have always had a hard time understanding why this is called a "democracy", but I guess that if all American citizens, basing their judgement on the information collected from "democratic" media (like those controlled by the same corporations, read "Fox", "CNN",...) are happy about the way it works, who I am to complain. :)

Now, in the sake of fairness, corruption in the US is of public nature in that officials have to publish the type and scale of the donations. Hey, why hide it if it works even if you show it...

In essence, the way the US works is the following "behave the way the top 5% richest part of the population wants you to, or go to jail". This is further strenghtened by the impact of lawyers in courts and by the heavy usage of previous rulings... you just need to invest massively in a first type of case to win all the following ones covering similar types of situations. Obviously the richer will on average be heavily favored by this systeme also.

Some fun statistics:

- at every point in time, 1 in 33 adult in the US is either in jail or being monitored -> this means that if you gather 10 adults in a room in the US, you are pretty sure that at least one of them has done jail time at one point in their life,
- you are 9 times more likely to be in prison if you are a black man than if you are a white man,
- only 22% of these people are in jail because of violent crimes,
- the only country in history that got higher than the US is USSR at its worst during the Gulag years,


RE: Well...
By Dr of crap on 6/20/2011 10:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well said!

When politicians actaully do what their constituents want and not what their "party" or lobbists wants, then we will have a Democracy!

RE: Well...
By JediJeb on 6/20/2011 6:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
Simply read George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and you will see the perfect prediction of what is happening with our government today. The government is ever so slowly transforming itself from a Democratic Republic into a Democratic Dictatorship just as the USSR was or still is and China is, where elections are still held but only the chosen few will ever win( and not the ones chosen by the people)

If we want to maintain a government of the people, by the people, for the people, then we the people need to get off our backsides and educate ourselves in how the government works and all take an active part in running it.

RE: Well...
By YashBudini on 6/20/2011 9:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
Those who do have money control the future of the nation through the passing of laws.

Didn't you just describe every country in South America as well? Not that Europe is a lot different.

This bill, it does nothing!
By FastEddieLB on 6/19/2011 12:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
This bill does nothing. People who illegally stream copyrighted content don't do it for profit, they do it for free and for the love of the content they illegally stream. What does this bill do to them? Pretty much nothing, because you have to prove that they had the intent to profit from it, which is hard to do when you're not charging people any kind of fee to view the content.

RE: This bill, it does nothing!
By Chilly8 on 6/19/2011 7:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
That could change under the Trans Pacific Partnership now being negotiated and expected to be completed and signed by Novemeber, which would require signatory nations to make non-commerical streaming illegal.

Basically, they are trying to insert things into TPP there were not in ACTA. The agreement is expected to be finalised and signed in November. And they could go through easier, becuase most of the countires, other than Australia, NZ, and the USA, are dictatorships of some kind of other.

While the Commercial Felony Streaming Act only targets those who broadcast, and do it for profit, despite all the hysteria, Congress could be forced to amend the law later on to change that, depending on what is in the Trans Pacific Partnership

Given the timeline of when the agreement is to be finalised and signed, I would not expect such an amenendment to specifically include viewers and non-commercial streamers until after the 2012 Elections.

Congress will have a lot more important issues to deal with than amending the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, to make it comply with the Trans Pacific Partneeship, so I would not expect those amedments to be made, if the agreement should require such amendments, until 2013 at the very earliest. There are the politcal conventions as well as the the fact that it is a presidential election year, so Congress pretty much has to wrap things up by July of next year. This includes two more budgets, 2011-12 and 2012-13 that will certainly be long drawn out battles, among other things. It is becuase of this that Congress have time for things like amending the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, once it is passed.

And at least one staunch supporter of the Comemercial Felony Streaming Act may or may not return to the Senate after next year. Dianne Feinstein is undecided at this time whether she will run for another term.

Or Feinstein could be defeated be someone who understands tech much better. Carly Fiorina plans to run for the Senate in 2012. She would not likely be as supportive of such amaendments as Feinstein would be, since she comes from the tech industry.

By superstition on 6/19/2011 11:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
"Carly Fiorina plans to run for the Senate in 2012. She would not likely be as supportive of such amaendments as Feinstein would be, since she comes from the tech industry."

Oh sure. Just like Sonny Bono wasn't for draconian copyright extension because he was from the entertainment industry.

RE: This bill, it does nothing!
By FaceMaster on 6/19/2011 12:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
People who illegally stream copyrighted content don't do it for profit, they do it for free and for the love of the content they illegally stream.

Yes! Everything in the world should be free. I can't believe they actually try to CHARGE us for entertainment. /sarcasm

RE: This bill, it does nothing!
By Untold1 on 6/19/2011 1:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well damn they are paying the politicians for it!

By xyzCoder on 6/19/2011 12:36:22 PM , Rating: 3
If any of you are in or near NYC (and surely quite a number of the readers must be), please check out

These awesome people are protesting 24/7 by city hall downtown. I was there yesterday and it was great: it's not union-backed or union-related in any specific way (not that I am anti-union, but I know a lot are) - my point: it's basically individuals who have realized that the insanity we live in will continue FOR EVER, unless we make them stop.

Wake up and realize that US taxpayers are bailing out the institutional investors (ie: big banks) in Greece, through the IMF. The big players will have been able to lend at usurious rates because of the 'risk' of default, only to finally get bailed out by taxpayers, once more, because of what would supposedly happen if banks were allowed to fail.

Even if you don't care about anyone but yourself, you need to fight this!!! This is where our paltry low and middle-income taxes are all going to, while the media focuses on the deficit, which is actually due to unending wars (which themselves are due in large part to our huge support for Apartheid Israel) and to the lowest taxation of the hyper rich and of corporations in nearly a century.

The media, elites and government are trying to bring us back to the 19th century, which fits perfectly with the robber baron's most glorious age, I suppose. Are you cool with this? Is this what you want? If not, they make some noise 'cos most people out there have NO IDEA of how duped they are.

By TSS on 6/20/2011 6:41:48 AM , Rating: 1
If not, they make some noise 'cos most people out there have NO IDEA of how duped they are.

Well i guess this is as good as place as any to contribute to the cause. I came across this a couple of days ago:

What does the above show you? Exactly how duped you are.

Protesting right now is useless. The dollar can no longer avoid hyperinflation, and that happened in 2004. All you can do right now is protect yourself and your loved ones by preparing for the coming storm.

In my oppinion august this year will be very important. Stimulus funds run out july 1st, QE2 ends june 30, meaning july figures will be abysmal and that'll show just before august 2nd when the debt ceiling is hit while the politicians are lacking the will to do anything, and 2012 will be an election year.

I'm really sorry, the world will not become a better because all of this. But the end has become inevitable, and extremely fuckin nigh.

By Chilly8 on 6/18/2011 5:40:52 PM , Rating: 2

I posted a message on the myP2P forums, advising that anyone who is a moderator or admin on that site should stay out of Britain, becuase of the lopsided extradition treaty, and the attempt to extradite Richard O'Dwyer, and it got deleted.

It was also aimed at anyone who is streaming from Britain, particularly urging that they start using VPNs and the like, so the US cannot trace and extradite them.

It seems that the admins at myP2P, which is in Holland, by the way, do not care about this bill, and its implications for them.

By Chilly8 on 6/18/2011 5:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is actually a redundant law, as it is already a felony

I run an online radio station through LoudCity, and they pushed a wrong button once and sent a "violation" notice to everyone, instead of those intended

You are supposed to launch either through Shoutcast (if on a Pro account) or through the LoudCIty page, but people were launching through their websites instead.

And they did flat out say that such illegal streaming is a violation of the No Electronic Theft act, and threatned to refer those in violation who did not come into compliance to the Feds for prosecution under the No Electronic Theft Act.

So unauthorized streaming already is a felony offense, based on what the legal department at LoudCity once said.

By Chilly8 on 6/18/2011 10:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
I could see some for-profit sites switching to bitcoins for payments. Bitcoins are anonymous currency that is almost impossible for the government to trace. This would make forfeiture almost impossible to enforce, so when a website operator did get out of prison, they could just simply cash in their bitcoins, pay the appropriate capital gains taxes on it, and that would be the end of it.

Certainly is S968, the Protect IP Act, you could see "blacklisted" sites turning to bitcoin payments, which is almost impossible for the government to stop

Don't tug on Superman's Cape
By Mike Acker on 6/19/2011 9:08:38 AM , Rating: 2
you can get more time for "uttering and publishing" than for DUIL/3d

go figure, but don't mess with the money

By SamuraiBlue on 6/19/2011 11:20:06 AM , Rating: 2
The copyright law is outdated and lopsided. Have congress revise it to meet regulations the same as patents and make ALL copyright material as public domain after 15~20 years.

By piroroadkill on 6/20/2011 7:38:36 AM , Rating: 2
Wait? Land of the free? Does anyone even believe that?
It's practically a slum compared to other parts of the world. Pathetic lobbying of government to aid nobody but big business. Awful healthcare coverage, and so on. It seems like America is content with throwing people on the scrapheap if they don't fall in line with exactly what the ideal is...

By Loey Lee on 6/20/2011 11:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
the communist government is saying you can't tell your friends about what you saw, you can't link them to something illegal thus making you guilty when you didn't do anything but say, "Hey Jim! Go to oh wait.. sorry, i'm going to jail, sorry free speech and my rights, apparently i'm just a lowly person who isn't allowed to inform others of cool things. so this guy told me jim sells pot.. instead of getting jim.. let's find that guy who told me!!! YA!!! arrest that wrongdoer!!....... stupid gov.

Stop this Anti-Streaming bill!
By accordtim on 7/4/2011 7:37:57 PM , Rating: 2
We have started a petition to stop this bill. The vague wording on this bill will effectively criminalize the innocent and it must be stopped and re-written. Please review and sign the petition if you believe this bill is unjust!

By Lifted on 6/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: barf
By mrbangles on 6/18/2011 4:31:49 PM , Rating: 3
Paid off is synonymous to campaign contribution.

Are you defending bribes to government officials? Sounds like you're the one who should be working at a tabloid...

Please return to your hole troll...

RE: barf
By YashBudini on 6/18/2011 5:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
And with over 1% of the US population in jail guess who's stuck footing the bill?

Hint - Not these corporations.

Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Only broadcasters
By JasonMick on 6/18/2011 4:41:41 PM , Rating: 5
This only applies to those to broadcast the material, and not those who view it

Depends on the interpretation of the ambiguous wording.

To quote the bill...
(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years , or fined in the amount set forth in the title, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means...

Is the act of reproduction include the person who the electronic copy is made by? Or the person it's copied to? The language does not specify.

The MPAA could easily argue in court that viewers are engaging in reproduction of copyrighted material by viewing the stream (receiving a digital "copy" of the content). They promise they won't -- but if passed, the bill leaves the door wide open for them to reverse their stance and push the issue in court.

If the bill means to only prosecute broadcasters, it would specify this explicitly, or at the very least would have given a definition of who is punishable in the case of reproduction (the distributor v. the receiver). Instead the language is conveniently nonspecific and ambiguous.

Regardless, do you support 5 years of prison time at your expense for someone rebroadcasting a local sports game that's blacked out in your region?

And do you approve of industry lobbyists being able to pay Senators to essentially self-write the laws of the United States?

RE: Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/18/2011 4:45:04 PM , Rating: 1

If the MPAA tries that, then viewers can start using offshore VPN servers to hide their activities.

RE: Only broadcasters
By JasonMick on 6/18/2011 4:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
If the MPAA tries that, then viewers can start using offshore VPN servers to hide their activities.

True, but the scenario you outline is one in which the citizens of the U.S. are forced to hide their activities and live like fearful wild animals, ever on the run and afraid that Big federal government and its masters (lobbyists) may find them out and imprison them.

The underlying conflict between public interests and corporate/big money ones is a very general and pressing problem affecting American politics and tech law today. At the end of the day the majority of the American people aren't directly paying for politicians to be placed in positions of federal power. But lobbyists are.

Note, not all corporations/big money parties are looking to abuse the system, the problem is that some are and they give legitimate firms and respectable wealthy a bad name.

RE: Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/18/2011 5:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
There are so many people who view content, that if they put them all in jail, there would be no room for anyone else.

And with the provision of having had to stream 10 times in 180 days, they are not going to find out everything you do accross all kinds of streaming services.

And services, such as Sopcast or CCAnts, in China, are beyong the authority of US courts. US courts cannot subpoena a video service in China.

And then there is the issue of programs, like Evidence Elimiantor. If they seize your machine, and EE has been used, and they cannot recover evidence, that pretty much does in their case.

RE: Only broadcasters
By GulWestfale on 6/18/2011 5:51:33 PM , Rating: 5
the sort of bribery that is mentioned in the article is unfortunately perfectly legal in the US. i think it demeans your political system when the rich can simply buy laws for themselves, regardless of the issue at stake. democKracy, it should be called. shame on these politicians... but tomorrow, everyone will have forgotten about them and those who bought their way in, and they'll all be re-elected next time.
it makes me sad.

RE: Only broadcasters
By BugblatterIII on 6/18/2011 8:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because they never went after people downloading mp3s and movies...oh wait...

RE: Only broadcasters
By MikeMurphy on 6/18/2011 10:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
This bill is insane.

Just because you don't want someone to do something doesn't mean you attach a jail sentence to it.

Its really a maneuver to shift the copyright enforcement onto the public dime.

RE: Only broadcasters
By gorehound on 6/19/2011 8:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
time for people to be serious about boycotting the MAFIAA INdustry.These assholes know only one thing and that is what i do and never give these arses a dime.
stop it already and put your mouth where your action is.if you need a film or cd bad enough go to the local used store and pick one up so MAFIAA will not get any money from you buying used.
you hate these posts of us being taken advantage of by MAFIAA then do something about it not only writing a little reply.

RE: Only broadcasters
By Jalek on 6/19/2011 7:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
Making it a federal crime to not verify and demand evidence of licensing agreements and terms before viewing Family Guy streaming from TBS seems a bit much, but if it's that or risk years in prison...

RE: Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/20/2011 12:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
If they decide later on to extend this to people who view content, I have that taken care of with a VPN/Proxy service that I pay $200 a year for. This service keeps no logs and hides my IP address so that it looks like I am coming in from the other side of the world.

I alredy use it to bypass geo restrictions to watch conent on Bet365, which does have sports streams, but restricts vieweing to IP addresses in Britan, or to watch the Olympics on Eurovision instead of waiting for NBC's crappy tape delayed coverage.

In short, no matter what they do, I am protected by using the VPN service that I subscribe to. First they keep no logs, and second, the servers are in countries where the US has no power to subpoena information.

RE: Only broadcasters
By Floorbit on 6/21/2011 1:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I was browsing YouTube,and after viewing several videos,noticed that..'after'doing so,these accounts were being 'deleted'because of a 'user account violation'or some such thing.
My anger here is that these were 'my searches',and plays. And that as I was choosing to use them,they were being deleted. I noticed that one of the several I searched and viewed was sourced from britain. It was a very good replay of Lynard Skinards 'freebird'. On a live stage play.
Another was an early play of a Starship (jefferson airplane). I believe. It too went 'user account violation'. It too was not from an 'origin'of content that was a performance originated in the U.S.
BOTH were from original 70s stage plays.
However in any event,they were my searches.My style of search etc. My interaction.
And I couldn't help the feeling that those accomadating my viewing were having fun toying with my experience as a music conosier. Giving the affluence to their discretion from the influence of my intelect.
Just enjoying my experience of musical aquantance to fill their gap of whatever technology they were pandering to .

RE: Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/21/2011 12:50:12 AM , Rating: 2
Even if the government does go after the all viewers, do you really think they are going to go after 100,000 plus viewers for, say a PPV fight.

During the Paqauaio-De La Hoya fight a few years ago, there were several Justin and Ustream channels with 100,000 plus viewers on each of them. One channel alone had 123,000 people on it, at peak viwership, that night.

Do you really think the government is going to waste its time going after as many as 1 million people watching the fight illegally, given all the channels with 100,000 plus viewers that were streaming the fight, there were very likely one million people at any one time watching illegal streams of the fight card.

The prisons are so overcrowded now, where would they put hundreds of thousands, or even millions more inmates? The government already has a deficit crisis with the national debt skyrocketing. The government would not have enough money to prosecute that many people watching a PPV fight.

If a given channel has thousands of viewers, the government is not going to go chasing them all down. Some Justin movie channels often exceed 1,000 viewers, which locks offshore viewers out (Justin requires foreign viewers to pay a fee if the total number of viewers on any one channel exceeds 1,000 viewers).

If they went after every viewer of these channels, the prosecutors would be prosecuting those cases, and nothing else.

That is why those who do not stream for commercial purposes, and just watch videos, do not have to worry, for now, unless they do something really stupid, like show a movie before its release date on video. The government is so effed up financially right now, that it does not have the resources to go after every one of the thousands of viewers that might be watching one stream.

That is why Klobuchar specifically worte her bill so that only those who stream for commercial gain are subject to prosecution. Otherwise the courts would get so clogged with piracy cases, they would not be able to handle anything else.

RE: Only broadcasters
By Chilly8 on 6/22/2011 5:25:58 PM , Rating: 1
Another analysis elsewhere does show that it would not apply to most viewers, becuase

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

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

Notice that the latter only applies to those who offer the streams, and not to receive them.

So a viewer would have to rip of at least $2,500 worth of works, to be prosecuted, and that assumes that the statute would apply to viewers in teh first place.

So for "personal gain" to apply, you would have to rip off to the tune of $2,500, or more.

Time to get real
By Beenthere on 6/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Time to get real
By EricMartello on 6/18/2011 5:49:54 PM , Rating: 5
Oh look, it's a propagandist trying to support the failing business model.

That being said we all know that illegal use or distribution of copyright protected works is a crime and it always will be a crime because you are stealing. This will not change. The only debate is over the punishment.

No, it's not really only about punishment. Copyright reform is on the table...and these one-sided laws that are on the books now need to be removed. If a copyright holder wants to pursue legal action against a party they believe is "infringing", then the copyright holder should be required to prove all claims with factual data. No more speculative claims like "it was downloaded 3 million times so that means we lost 3M x $10 in revenue".

Obviously pirates haven't heeded the message so far so it's only appropriate that the ante be upped until most of them buy a clue. Five years mandatory prison and a $10K per copy fine should be the minimum punishment. Just the fact that some folks are opposed to this punishment means it has a good chance of being more effective than the current slap on the wrist punishment.

Pirates? You mean people who are making copies of copyrighted material and selling them for profit? Relatively speaking there are not very many of them, and the majority of them are in asian countries with reasonable copyright laws.

Now if you were talking about people participating in file sharing then you should be clear, because none of them are profiting from the material by reselling it...and if the material proves to be of value, many of them will purchase it.

You are vastly overstating the magnitude of victimless crimes like copyright infringement. The people who profit largely from media are beginning to realize that the intrinsic value of what they've been involved with is much, much lower than their revenues would suggest.

Punishment is meant to be a deterrent for braindead people in denial. Five years and $10K per copy should make a few more people pause and re-think their actions. If they are dumb enough to violate copyright law then they are dumb enough to spend five years in the slammer. I have no sympathy for idiots who create their own problems.

By who's authority? What right does one person have to punish another? It's really quite ambiguous. The "power" of the government exists because the people allow them to have it...but when the government ceases to serve the interests of its people as it is CLEARLY doing in recent years, the people have a right and duty to dismantle the government and replace it with a proper one. Let's call it "behavior modification"...and the only idiots are the people who are not willing to fix the current political landscape in this country.

RE: Time to get real
By FaaR on 6/18/2011 7:55:37 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming you're not just trolling for flames, don't you think 5 years in jail and a $10k fine for pirating a copyrighted work is just a little disproportional?

I can't even think of something else that currently warrants a $10k fine, other than various fraud/white collar crime, and then typically only if you caused at least that much in actual damages.

Pirating a copyrighted work causes no economic damage whatsoever if you never intended to buy the piece in the first place had you not been able to pirate it...

And 5 years in jail, that's a bigger punishment for everybody else than the person jailed, considering the costs of locking up what's going to amount to thousands of non-violent offenders (counting low, if this law is going to be taken seriously by the prosecutors) every year for half a decade. Jesus freakin' christ, as if US budget deficit problems aren't big enough already? Lol.

RE: Time to get real
By Beenthere on 6/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: Time to get real
By Untold1 on 6/19/2011 1:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
How about you just charge the price of 2 adults and ..2 kids the price of going to watch a movie. Tickets are say $48 ($12 a ticket). 4 bags of popcorn $20. 4 drinks $12. How about $80 and a warning. I mean I didn't complain about all those crappy movies I and my family have seen all throughout the years.. Did I.

RE: Time to get real
By Beenthere on 6/19/2011 3:39:50 PM , Rating: 1
Apparently some folks missed the entire point... piracy, hacking, illegal distribution of copyright protected works are all crimes under existing laws. When you commit a crime you are punished because you are an idiot. Since pirates tend to be braindead, they need a little more "motivation" and that's where the felony conviction, 5 years in the slammer and $10K per copy come in. They'll eventually buy a clue or spend their worthless life in prison.

RE: Time to get real
By Jalek on 6/19/2011 5:06:56 PM , Rating: 1
If they could, you know these people would jail Netflix subscribers. $8 a month for streaming movies worth $10k per viewing? I'm sure that pisses them off.

I think most studios today would prefer nobody viewed their IP, so I say let them keep it to themselves.

RE: Time to get real
By Invane on 6/20/2011 2:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
You are fantastically ignorant. How about we go after those brain dead jaywalkers next? They keep doing that damn jaywalking thing despite it CLEARLY being against the law. We need to make jaywalking a felony with a minimum of a 5 year prison sentence...that would definitely fix the issue.

Are you really that dim? If there are enough people committing a crime then there's something wrong with the system. In this case, the system is being used to prop up a limp and failing business model to the detriment of the consumers involved.

If you continue to support draconic and poorly thought out legislation like this, at some point they will implement some law that will personally impact YOU. And at that point, you will understand far better why laws like this need to be opposed.

And for the record, I am not a pirate. I oppose piracy and I don't like the mindset involved. But I do understand why it's occurring and I also firmly believe it's a systemic issue with a deeper solution than to hit the offender with more and more jail time and fines.

RE: Time to get real
By superstition on 6/20/2011 12:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
"Punishment is meant to be a deterrent. If it takes electric shock to the testicles, pulled fingernails, and random familial executions to get thru to these ZOMBIES then that's what the punishment should be. Just the fact that some folks think it's too harsh is a good indication it would be more effective than the current slap on the wrist that isn't a deterrent to the braindead (zombie) pirates. They make prisons and torture for people in denial.

Putting these SCUMBAGS in prison is a win-win deal for society and the U.S."


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