Friday, July 15, 2011

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Oppose Criminal Streaming Bill in Senate

The above YouTube video had over 500K views

The EFF is organizing a letter writing campaign to the US Senate - to use the letter tool, visit here

The EFF's take:

Oppose Congress' Criminal Streaming Bill

S. 978 is a reckless attempt to attack online streaming by focusing on the "unlawful public performance" area of copyright law. By increasing the criminal penalties for certain online public performances, the bill will impose a chilling effect around the posting and creation of online video. Moreover, it will hamper the pace of innovation as users, websites, and investors cope with the uncertainty of running afoul of one of the more vague sections of copyright law. Act now and tell your Senators to oppose this shortsighted bill!

Under certain conditions, an "unlawful public performance" of a copyrighted work is already a crime. But this bill targets online streaming in an effort to give the government more enforcement power to bear—particularly against websites that the entertainment industry believes to be threatening.

Techdirt reports on YouTube protests here

Text of the bill below:


1st Session
S. 978
To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.


May 12, 2011
Ms. Klobuchar (for herself, Mr. Cornyn, and Mr. Coons) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Criminal infringement of a copyright.

(a) Amendments to section 2319 of title 18.—Section 2319 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (b)—

(A) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

(B) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

“(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if—

“(A) the offense consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and
“(B)(i) the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, would exceed $2,500; or
“(ii) the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000;”; and

(2) in subsection (f), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
“(2) the terms ‘reproduction’, ‘distribution’, and ‘public performance’ refer to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner under clauses (1), (3), (4), and (6), respectively of section 106 (relating to exclusive rights in copyrighted works), as limited by sections 107 through 122, of title 17;”.

(b) Amendment to section 506 of title 17.—Section 506(a) of title 17, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)(C), by inserting “or public performance” after “distribution” the first place it appears; and

(2) in paragraph (3)—

(A) in subparagraph (A), by inserting “or public performance” after “unauthorized distribution”; and

(B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting “or public performance” after “distribution”.
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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