New bill makes unauthorized streaming a felony
Late last week, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bill that would make the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material a felony.
Under current law, “reproducing” and “distributing” copyrighted works are felony charges and covered under peer-to-peer transfers and Web downloads. But streaming has been considered “public performance” rather than “distribution” – and holding a public performance without a proper license is not a felony. This bill, S. 978, adds “public performance” to the list of felonies.
Online streamers can now face up to 5 years in prison and a fine in cases where:
- They show 10 or more “public performances” by electronic means in any 180-day period and
- The total retail value of those performances tops $2500 or the cost of licensing such performances is greater than $5000