backtop


Print 130 comment(s) - last by BloodSquirrel.. on Jun 20 at 2:01 PM


The bill could send you to prison for five years for streaming video 10 times in half a year.  (Source: DigitalTrends.com)
Sharing sports games with your friends? You're going to prison for 5 years!

Some accuse the United States federal government of being bought and paid for by the entertainment industry when it comes to copyright law.  Indeed, when Barack Obama was elected president he initially promised to look into copyright reform, but since has focused his efforts almost exclusively on copyright enforcement.  Copyright enforcement is a rare bipartisan-supported issue in Washington D.C. -- arguably because parties such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and their respective member corporations make a point of donating millions to members of both parties.

Given that, the U.S. Senate’s plans to criminalize online streaming of television programming or movies does not particularly surprise.  Dubbed "The Commercial Felony Streaming Act" (S. 978), the bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

The bill would aims to "reconcile a disparity" between the current law regarding stream of content with that regarding peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing.  The bill's proposed way to "reconcile" that disparity is to send Americans to prison -- if you're caught streaming 10 times within 180 days, you can be convicted of a felony and sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.

In order for videos to qualify as strikes against an individual, the infringed work must have a retail value of the streamed video that exceeds $2,500, or a license worth more than $5,000.  To qualify the streaming must also be done for "personal financial gain" -- an ambiguous phrasing.

The MPAA claims that it will only target website owners who "willfully and knowingly violated a copyright and profited from it." The organization says it will not look to prosecute those who "stream videos without intending to profit".

However, the organization or other copyright enforcement groups could eventually use the measure to try to prosecute viewers and owners of non-profitable sites as well, as they could argue that individuals see a "personal financial gain" from not purchasing work legally.  

The bill is firmly supported by the Obama administration.  The White House Office of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement urged Congress two months ago to send Americans who stream to prison.  

The effort is also being pushed by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), AFTRA, Directors Guild of America, IATSE, SAG, the MPAA, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, and the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Michael O’Leary, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs for the MPAA lauds, "This bill will help ensure that the punishment for these site operators fits the crime."

And IFTA President Jean Prewitt adds, "The illegal streaming of motion pictures and television programming is as financially devastating for our industry as is illegal downloading. Stealing is stealing, regardless of the means in which the product is being received."

The bill was approved on Thursday by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Some states have recently been pushing to make sharing your Netflix password a misdemeanor offense that carries jail time.  Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) is the world's largest legal vendor of streaming movies.  The bills contain no exemptions for sharing passwords with your family members or roommates.

The U.S. has the world's highest incarceration rate of any country in the world [source; PDF].  It is project that the U.S. spent over $80B USD in tax payer money on imprisoning its citizens in 2010 [source].



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Reclaimer77 on 6/17/2011 12:24:01 PM , Rating: 0
So when a group of people get together and form a business, they now should have LESS rights than a "person"? I'm not sure I can get on board with that.

quote:
From a governmental standpoint the goals of a corporation are at best wildly different from and at worst completely contrary to the goals of an individual.


Government standpoint? Well I should hope we don't start looking at things from a "Governmental standpoint". Do you?


By YashBudini on 6/17/2011 1:08:12 PM , Rating: 4
The purpose of considering a viewpoint is to understand it, and to best address it, not necessarily to agree with it.

Sociopaths have viewpoints, the commonalities they may share with corporate viewpoints may seem a tad unpleasant.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1004&bih=61...


RE: They need to take the money out of lobbying.
By 91TTZ on 6/17/2011 3:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So when a group of people get together and form a business, they now should have LESS rights than a "person"? I'm not sure I can get on board with that.


It's not like those members of the company lose their right to vote once they form a company, they're still a "team" that can pool their votes together if they want to. But the company itself is not a citizen and doesn't get to vote.


By YashBudini on 6/17/2011 6:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
So a group of people that are shareholders are good, but another group, who act pretty in only their own interest, like shareholders, are bad. What's the name of the second group? Unions.

The problem in both cases is indiviual ethics, if they were ever present, are set aside while the leader of the group decides what to do. The rest merely follow.

You can call them what you want, both are mobs.


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki