Bill S.978 or the Commercial Felony Streaming Act was a bill that was introduced to the United States Senate. It was proposed by Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, and John Cornyn on May 12, 2011. It would have been 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 defined 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 have affected those who stream or post videos of copyrighted content (e.g. video games, TV shows, music) on public sites such as YouTube. The bill did not directly address this aspect. Although the law would not 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 stated that the bill was not intended to affect the aforementioned aspects, instead it would only target websites or people who profit from illegally streaming copyrighted material.
The bill was considered in committee and introduced to the full chamber during the 2011 congressional session. However it was never voted on and is apparently dead.
- 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.
- "S. 978 (112th): A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.".
- 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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