US Senate bill could make illegal video streaming a felony

If you are streaming what you know to be a pirated movie or TV episode via the Internet on your laptop, PC or even your cell phone, you might be committing a felony if a proposed bill becomes law in the US. The Hollywood Reporter has a story today stating that a committee in the US Senate has allowed a bill to go forward that, if signed into law by President Barack Obama, would make streaming of pirated movies and TV shows a crime.

The bill, officially called the The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, would make it "illegal to stream video for commercial purposes." It's designed to close a loophole in the current laws that already make it a crime for people to directly download pirated movies and TV shows. The bill, which now goes to the full US Senate for their approval, already has the support of the Obama administration. It also has the support of a number of entertainment based unions as well as trade groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and others. Those organizations believe that illegal streaming of video is just as bad as directly downloading the files.

According to the story, the bill's penalty for illegal streaming of video  "is increased to up to five years in prison when it involves 10 or more instances of streaming over a 180-day period. The retail value of the streamed video must exceed $2,500, or the licenses to the material must be worth more than $5,000."

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