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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You know what should be a felony? A politician making laws because some Hollywood studios or record companies secretly paid them a lot of money to.

TRC said,
You know what should be a felony? A politician making laws because some Hollywood studios or record companies secretly paid them a lot of money to.

Or because they're trying to stop people from stealing things and profitting off of those stolen goods?

But sure, let's believe your ridiculous hypothesis.

they fail to realization the terrorist are the corporations who get rich off the backs of others and charge crazy rates and over brutal service and constant issues or distruptions but hey that's ok to do what happen to democracy which is for the people .. stupid Capitalism has to go!

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

This bill doesn't seem to just encompass that, it seems to delve into much more ridiculous territory. The bill if passed could be used to prosecute those that upload videos of themselves or others singing karaoke, videos of their kids dancing to songs, those that upload recorded videos of themselves playing or reviewing a game, uploading short clips or samples from movies, games, music and also prosecute viewers/downloaders.

That's the interpretation by myself and many others according to reading the bill itself, reading the news and comments at various other websites. Currently a bunch of people are boycotting and trying to push their lawmakers to overturn the bill.

Xtreme2damax said,

This bill doesn't seem to just encompass that, it seems to delve into much more ridiculous territory. The bill if passed could be used to prosecute those that upload videos of themselves or others singing karaoke, videos of their kids dancing to songs, those that upload recorded videos of themselves playing or reviewing a game, uploading short clips or samples from movies, games, music and also prosecute viewers/downloaders.

That's the interpretation by myself and many others according to reading the bill itself, reading the news and comments at various other websites. Currently a bunch of people are boycotting and trying to push their lawmakers to overturn the bill.

All of those things except reviewing a game were already illegal. They just changed it to a felony.

ILikeTobacco said,

All of those things except reviewing a game were already illegal. They just changed it to a felony.

Actually most of that falls under fair use and is not exactly illegal, more or less a grey area such as posting gameplay videos, short video clips or music samples. Greedy outfits such as the MPAA/RIAA wishes it was illegal, that is their convoluted wet dream.

If anyone is sharing full songs or movies then I can understand, still not being something that warrants being labeled as a felon or even jail/prison time unless the intention is making a profit off of others copyrighted work.

Posting karaoke videos would be fair use as well I believe, as the person is just singing the lyrics to a song. The song/music are just the instrumental version of the song, the person singing sings the lyrics to the song. A judge in their right mind would not uphold such a case against a video of someone singing karaoke as I'm certain that and the rest of the above is covered by fair use laws.

This bill would make it completely illegal for anyone to do any of those things that is currently covered by fair use laws, then prosecute them as felons. I think the bill may also include prosecuting viewers/downloaders as well now, but I am not sure.

Edited by Xtreme2damax, Jun 17 2011, 5:58pm :

Xtreme2damax said,

Actually most of that falls under fair use and is not exactly illegal, more or less a grey area such as posting gameplay videos, short video clips or music samples. Greedy outfits such as the MPAA/RIAA wishes it was illegal, that is their convoluted wet dream.

If anyone is sharing full songs or movies then I can understand, still not being something that warrants being labeled as a felon or even jail/prison time unless the intention is making a profit off of others copyrighted work.

Posting karaoke videos would be fair use as well I believe, as the person is just singing the lyrics to a song. The song/music are just the instrumental version of the song, the person singing sings the lyrics to the song. A judge in their right mind would not uphold such a case against a video of someone singing karaoke as I'm certain that and the rest of the above is covered by fair use laws.

This bill would make it completely illegal for anyone to do any of those things that is currently covered by fair use laws, then prosecute them as felons. I think the bill may also include prosecuting viewers/downloaders as well now, but I am not sure.

You don't seem to understand the law you are talking about. It is copyright infringement to use anything that you don't have rights to. "Posting gameplay videos, short video clips or music samples" do not fall under fair use unless used to do one of the following shown stated below. In most cases, even performing "karaoke" is illegal unless it is a specially licensed recording. That is why karaoke bars have to get licenses to use various songs.

"Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

ILikeTobacco said,

You don't seem to understand the law you are talking about. It is copyright infringement to use anything that you don't have rights to. "Posting gameplay videos, short video clips or music samples" do not fall under fair use unless used to do one of the following shown stated below. In most cases, even performing "karaoke" is illegal unless it is a specially licensed recording. That is why karaoke bars have to get licenses to use various songs.

"Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

I understand the law well.

In most cases the works are not being used for commercial gain. Any nonprofit use can be declared as educational, for demonstration or comment. Excerpts, clips, samples would fall under fair use. Usually video clips or audio samples under 30 seconds is considered fair use, which some Youtube clips would fall under.

Karaoke is not really infringing as it isn't the actual song, just the instrument and the singer sings the lyrics. If I record a video or post screenshots of myself playing a game, then that is legal as well, at least there has been nothing declaring it illegal such as lawsuits or takedowns of such content.

Don't tell me you are actually fine with something as ridiculous as prosecuting someone as a felon for downloading a few songs, sharing a video online with family or friends just because it may have some copyrighted content in the video? Actually don't answer that, I already know what to expect when browsing Neowin. Let's just throw logic, rationality out of the window and throw all file sharers (file sharing doesn't really apply in the context of this bill) in prison with the murderers, rapists and other violent felons anyways.

Sharing is bad mmk? Sharing is evil mmk? Don't share copyrighted material mmk or you'll burn in hell mmk?

America, always hunting down those "terrorists" and "protecting" it's people from the bad guys...

It's pretty sad when you can't stream or share videos over the internet now. America = ****.

presence06 said,
America, always hunting down those "terrorists" and "protecting" it's people from the bad guys...

It's pretty sad when you can't stream or share videos over the internet now. America = ****.

Yeah it's pretty sad when you can't steal things and then profit on them.

Legal streaming follow: Crunchyroll.com, Hulu.com, vizanime.com, netflix.com, funimation.com/videos/simulcast, theanimenetwork.com/Watch-Online, animenewsnetwork.com/video/anime,

man in a way it understandable, but seeing hwo the interent is these days (hackers are hacking other hackers left and right) this obivously seem like a panic attack to control the internt or soemthing from my view

who voted these people into office.... do they want to be reelected again? why can't they focus on bigger things.....

capr said,
who voted these people into office.... do they want to be reelected again? why can't they focus on bigger things.....

How can you not understand that the government can do multiple things at once? Think about your own life... do you stop your entire life for a week just to finish your taxes? No, you can manage multiple things at a time.

We the people we elect, need to be voted out of office. that is the "Change" we need, what happend to "Change" mr President.

blade1269 said,
We the people we elect, need to be voted out of office. that is the "Change" we need, what happend to "Change" mr President.

He changed the status of Osama bin Laden from 'alive' to 'dead'.

rfirth said,

He changed the status of Osama bin Laden from 'alive' to 'dead'.

weird i heard it was members of the military. guess the news got that one wrong

ILikeTobacco said,

weird i heard it was members of the military. guess the news got that one wrong

And who do you think authorized the mission for said members of the military to do their thing?

krasch said,

And who do you think authorized the mission for said members of the military to do their thing?

The mission to find Bin Laden started way before Obama came. Do you think Obama himself made the military smarter? It's the same thing, they just happened to find Bin Laden now.

Anooxy said,

The mission to find Bin Laden started way before Obama came. Do you think Obama himself made the military smarter? It's the same thing, they just happened to find Bin Laden now.

Bush had basically given up finding OBL. It was Obama that made it a priority again, and succeeded.

Wait, so "for commercial use"? Meaning to for-profit or by professionals...so streaming that Hockey game or that new episode of Lost (wait, that was canceled right?) would still be legal if the streamer is NOT profiting?

Elessar said,
Wait, so "for commercial use"? Meaning to for-profit or by professionals...so streaming that Hockey game or that new episode of Lost (wait, that was canceled right?) would still be legal if the streamer is NOT profiting?

Yes illegal for the person hosting the stream, not illegal for those watching it.

KingCrimson said,

Yes illegal for the person hosting the stream, not illegal for those watching it.


No, it's still illegal for those watching it - simply not covered by this law, so not a felony.

So someone who watches a episode of Hoarders is on the same level as a guy who ran over 6 people...

ya that makes alot of sense.

and I love how people are up on there high horse on how they would NEVER download a tv show or a movie, liers all of em.

companies like Chase bank continue to **** over people who are trying to pay off there student loans, ATT keeps charging people pointless fees that will never make sense, Sentors send there dicks to people and nothing happens.

but no, lets go after the 15 year old kid who wanted to see the latest Glee episode

steveomac said,
So someone who watches a episode of Hoarders is on the same level as a guy who ran over 6 people...

ya that makes alot of sense.

and I love how people are up on there high horse on how they would NEVER download a tv show or a movie, liers all of em.

companies like Chase bank continue to **** over people who are trying to pay off there student loans, ATT keeps charging people pointless fees that will never make sense, Sentors send there dicks to people and nothing happens.

but no, lets go after the 15 year old kid who wanted to see the latest Glee episode

Uhm, I don't think you read or understood the article. They're prosecuting people who PUBLISH those pirated videos, not the people who view it. Plus, if you're watching the latest Glee episode, you're watching it through Hulu or Netflix or Fox.com, which is legal.......

Once again...the government sticking their nose in something that is a civil matter between a company and the individual.

If a producer or movie company doesn't like the idea their product is being streamed without consent..take them to court and sue for damages.

I can just see it though...you go apply for a job...you are denied the job cause you have a felony for...not money theft...not for murder...but..for streaming videos.

Government needs to butt out.

texasghost said,
Once again...the government sticking their nose in something that is a civil matter between a company and the individual.

If a producer or movie company doesn't like the idea their product is being streamed without consent..take them to court and sue for damages.

I can just see it though...you go apply for a job...you are denied the job cause you have a felony for...not money theft...not for murder...but..for streaming videos.

Government needs to butt out.

or you can not stream videos and get the job but i guess that is a stretch

texasghost said,
Once again...the government sticking their nose in something that is a civil matter between a company and the individual.

If a producer or movie company doesn't like the idea their product is being streamed without consent..take them to court and sue for damages.

I can just see it though...you go apply for a job...you are denied the job cause you have a felony for...not money theft...not for murder...but..for streaming videos.

Government needs to butt out.

So you also believe that if I rob a store and then sell the things I sold, the store should be prosecuting me and not the state??

Your logic is flawed.

andrewbares said,

So you also believe that if I rob a store and then sell the things I sold, the store should be prosecuting me and not the state??

Your logic is flawed.

That has to be the stupidest analogy and comparison to what I said I have ever heard. You can't be serious to what you just said. Think about that comparison a little more.

SHS said,
Wow I can just see the jail system now full of illegal streaming or download people

This. Seriously? A felony? Who lined the tard's pockets who came up with the idea of it being a felony? ROFL

jeycie said,
the drug war all over again...fighting a battle that cant be won

The same could be said for any crime. Speeding hasn't been stopped. Fraud hasn't been stopped. Theft hasn't been stopped. Rape hasn't been stopped. Murder hasn't been stopped. Human trafficking hasn't been stopped.

A war on crime can't be won.

Ugh, and here I was hoping they would spend more time closing medical cannabis dispensaries in states that have voter-approved medical cannabis laws.

Soulsiphon said,
Ugh, and here I was hoping they would spend more time closing medical cannabis dispensaries in states that have voter-approved medical cannabis laws.

You realize they can do multiple things at once, right? It's not like all of congress pauses to create one bill.

If many of these new laws sound a little silly or obvious to you, it's because their true intent might not be what they claim. Terrorism, malicious hackers, intellectual property thieves, etc are a very small threat and don't require such broad sweeping laws that destroy freedoms for the rest of the world to thwart. But don't worry about it, I'm sure things will turn out fine. Sigh.

Hahaiah said,
If many of these new laws sound a little silly or obvious to you, it's because their true intent might not be what they claim. Terrorism, malicious hackers, intellectual property thieves, etc are a very small threat and don't require such broad sweeping laws that destroy freedoms for the rest of the world to thwart. But don't worry about it, I'm sure things will turn out fine. Sigh.

This is a very valid point. A lot of bills have masqueraded their way into law just as you say :dmca/patriot:

freak180 said,
What if I ripped my dvds to my hard drive and watch them on my xbox 360... guess thats illegal now....
it is for a commercial purpose?

freak180 said,
What if I ripped my dvds to my hard drive and watch them on my xbox 360... guess thats illegal now....

Have you read the bill? Key point commercial gain

timster said,
it is for a commercial purpose?

Does anyone really expect to make money by streaming a pirated movie? I think most people that put up pirated movies online do it for others not for "commercial gain".

MidTxWRX said,

Does anyone really expect to make money by streaming a pirated movie? I think most people that put up pirated movies online do it for others not for "commercial gain".

Guess you didn't notice the ads that are plastered all over the sites that do it.

MidTxWRX said,

Does anyone really expect to make money by streaming a pirated movie? I think most people that put up pirated movies online do it for others not for "commercial gain".


There are good number of site that do make money from ad's, carpware, etc, etc so there for it is a commercial gain.
If I'm rigth that mean place like Hulu, Veoh and Netflix my also be possable be illegal as well.
But with out seeing the bill there no way to know what what

SHS said,

There are good number of site that do make money from ad's, carpware, etc, etc so there for it is a commercial gain.
If I'm rigth that mean place like Hulu, Veoh and Netflix my also be possable be illegal as well.
But with out seeing the bill there no way to know what what

Those sites pay royalties and have contracts with the copyright holders. The bill doesn't make it a felony to stream video. It makes it a felony to stream video that you don't have the right to stream aka copyright infringement.

Buttus said,
so you have to know it's pirated... i'm sorry your honor, i didn't know! case dismissed


Don't think it works that way....

SaltLife said,


Don't think it works that way....

The problem is most users dont know what sites are legitimate and what are not. Most people cannot tell the difference between knowing where a credible source comes from. Nor do most care to find out...
^Truth^

este said,
The problem is most users dont know what sites are legitimate and what are not. Most people cannot tell the difference between knowing where a credible source comes from. Nor do most care to find out...
^Truth^

Good thing ignorance isnt an excuse in the court room so again, it doesn't work like that.

este said,
The problem is most users dont know what sites are legitimate and what are not. Most people cannot tell the difference between knowing where a credible source comes from. Nor do most care to find out...
^Truth^

They're putting the people that broadcast the pirated videos in jail, not the people who bought and viewed it.

Shiranui said,
IF only they would put as much effort into fighting REAL crime.

Like what? Im fairly certain that is the job of law enforcement personal more so than senators and congressional parties

Shiranui said,
IF only they would put as much effort into fighting REAL crime.

pirating is the sort of crap that funds crime.. like nabbing a pot head, it funds worse things out there..

Shiranui said,
IF only they would put as much effort into fighting REAL crime.

pirating is the sort of crap that funds crime.. like nabbing a pot head, it funds worse things out there..

Lachlan said,

pirating is the sort of crap that funds crime.. like nabbing a pot head, it funds worse things out there..


This is what some people actually believe: that nabbing a pothead makes any difference at all to drug cartels. Amazing!

Shiranui said,
IF only they would put as much effort into fighting REAL crime.

I know. I'm still waiting for that bill making murder, rape, human trafficking a felony. And here they are, wasting their time with other crimes.

Lachlan said,

pirating is the sort of crap that funds crime.. like nabbing a pot head, it funds worse things out there..

Myth. Its like when they said it funded the terrorists. BTW, the War on Drugs has been declared a failure.

Solid Knight said,

I know. I'm still waiting for that bill making murder, rape, human trafficking a felony. And here they are, wasting their time with other crimes.


What about illegal immigration? Nobody follows that law....

rheostat said,

This is what some people actually believe: that nabbing a pothead makes any difference at all to drug cartels. Amazing!
Just like me nabbing the things in your house makes any difference at all to the million dollar homes.