Bill S.978

Bill S.978 or the Commercial Felony Streaming Act is a bill that is pending introduction to the United States Senate floor. It was proposed by Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, and John Cornyn on May 12, 2011.[1] It is an amendment to USC 2319, Title 18, that would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material for the purpose of "commercial advantage or personal financial gain", a felony (under current law, unauthorized streaming is only a misdemeanor). The penalty could include up to five years of prison-time. It defines illegal streaming as streaming ten or more times in a 180 day period. Furthermore, the value of the illegally streamed material would have to be greater than $2,500, or the licensing fees would have to be over $5,000.

Several articles have been published, expressing concern as to whether the bill would affect those who stream or post videos of copyrighted content (videogames, TV shows, music) on public sites such as YouTube. The bill does not directly address this aspect.[2] Although it is unknown whether the law would be enforced as such, there has been an outcry with several negative reactions against the bill on YouTube, and other websites. An example of one of these websites is DemandProgress.org, a site where over 500,000 people have signed on to oppose the bill.[3] [4]

Both Klobuchar and Coons have stated that the bill is not intended to affect the aforementioned aspects, instead it would only target websites or people who profit from illegally streaming copyrighted material.[5][6]

References

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