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. It is an amendment to US Code Title 18 Section 2319, 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. The bill 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 (e.g. videogames, TV shows, music) on public sites such as YouTube. The bill does not directly address this aspect. Although it was unknown whether the law would be enforced as such, there was an outcry with several negative reactions against the bill on YouTube, and other websites during July 2011.
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.
- Engleman, Eric (June 17, 2011). "Illegal Video Streaming Elevated to Felony Under Senate Bill". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
- Abanesius, Chloe (June 17, 2011). "Senate Panel OKs Bill That Makes Streaming Pirated Content a Felony". PCWorld. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
- "Tons Of YouTube Users Putting Up Videos In Protest To S.978". Techdirt. July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
- "Setting the record straight on the Protect IP Act". Blog of U.S. Senator Chris Coons. June 10, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Sternburg, Ali (June 14, 2011). "Congress Holds Hearings on Unauthorized Public Performances [Part 2 of 2]". American University Intellectual Property Brief. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- The text of the bill
- Official version as received by the Senate
- FreeBieber.org, a site that claims Justin Bieber could go to jail for 5 years if this law passes
- Demand Progress site, where users can email members of Congress
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