Obama Administration Wants To Make It A Felony To Stream Copyrighted Videos


Last year, the wildly unpopular Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) was defeated by activists. But that hasn’t deterred the Administration of President Barack Obama. His Department of Commerce is set to revive a provision of SOPA that would increase the penalties for streaming copyrighted work on video sharing websites.

The Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force is petitioning Congress to reconsider a section of SOPA that would heavily penalize people who upload copyright-protected content to streaming services.

In a recent report, titled “Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy,” the task force explains that the only way for the government to protect copyright holders is to impose felony convictions for people caught streaming copyrighted songs, music and movies. The legislation advocated by the task force would also prohibit Internet users from uploading parodies and covers of certain copyrighted work.

Currently, it is a misdemeanor to upload copyrighted videos or songs to streaming sites like YouTube, but the law is loosely enforced.

The portion of SOPA to be revived, Section 201, would impose the “same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution.”

From the Internet Policy Task Force report:

In recent years a number of licensed online video streaming services have launched, and many cable television providers offer extensive on-demand catalogs to their subscribers. Other services have launched without licenses, using technology developed to transmit individual streams from individually-made copies, rather than broadcasting to the public from a single source copy. These services, which rely on recent case law in the context of a cable operator with underlying content licenses, pose a challenge to the traditional dividing lines between public and private performance, and raise a host of questions. If any consumer can stream the content she wants on-demand, is this act ‘public’ as defined by the Copyright Act if the technology is structured so that the stream comes from a copy made by a third party for each individual? Does it make a difference if the consumer already has legal access in another form to the content being streamed? Does it matter how the source copies are made, and by whom? Such interpretive tensions in the face of changing delivery models are the inevitable result of a system based on a bundle of specific rights, each drafted in the context of then-existing technologies…

…The lack of potential felony penalties for criminal acts of streaming disincentivizes prosecution and undermines deterrence.The administration and the Copyright Office have both called on Congress to amend the Copyright Act to ensure that illegal streaming to the public can be punished as a felony in the same manner as other types of criminal infringement.The Task Force now repeats that call.

Critics of the plan say that the push is an example of the overbearing influence of Hollywood in the halls of Washington.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • villageidiot

    Life can be very simple and uncomplicated and we have made it otherwise. We cannot survive without repeatedly engaging in crisis after crisis, thereby ” creating our own chains “. It seems that one law always precedes a new one in order to protect the previous one. Where does it end or will we eventually run out of ideas designed specifically to satisfy our greed? It takes humans to really screw things up, no other creature can do that.

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      Laws do not stop crime. They create crime. For every law that is passed a new crime is defined that previously was not a crime. The more laws, the more crime. The more crime the more the idiots ask for more laws making things a crime that were not. Laws can only define a punishment for committing the crime that the law creates. We need less laws. Less laws will drop the crime rate drastically. Just think of all those people in cages for committing the heinous act of smoking a joint. If you are ever on a Jury, just remember this simple premise: NO VICTIM, NO CRIME!
      I for one, would NEVER sit on a jury and convict a person who did this of a FELONY. PERIOD. The penalty far outweighs the act.

  • TexRancher

    “The lack of potential felony penalties for criminal acts of streaming disincentivizes prosecution and undermines deterrence”. Gee, isn’t this the same problem we have with ILLEGAL INVADERS who are occupying our country? Shouldn’t the same attitude towards enforcing those laws which are currently on the books be employed? Aren’t all AMERICAN citizens as important as those in HollyWeird?
    The same logic applies to secure borders and immigration enforcement as copyrights doesn’t it? Aren’t ILLEGAL INVADERS stealing as much and more from all Americans as copyright infringements do a select group yet the socialists want to cherry pick what laws to enforce according to how such enforcement affects their political well being.
    Time is long overdue to rid Congress of these political scumbags! (I can dream, can’t I)

    • FreedomFighter

      The movie and music industry business model is no longer functioning due to technological advancement that they have failed to adapt to and now want to protect the rich profits they have enjoyed.
      No amount of punishment will hinder technological progress, the business model of these industries needs to evolve to incorporate technology not to punish or hinder the public but to increase the distribution of music an video — the money being made in other ways.
      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

    • nmpher29

      What the hell is wrong with that “whatever”? Where are the jobs he promised back in “07/”08? Wasn’t turning the economy around in his first term his primary goal? I saw him on Leno the other night. What a flipping liar. He says the deficit has been cut in half…thousands upon thousands of jobs have been created….the housing market is improving. And what I love the most, my favorite, illegal immigrants will improve the value of our property.Really???? Does he mean the ones that sneak across our border, destroy our countryside in the process, live 20 to a house thus destroying it and shove our economy into the sewer? Those illegal aliens? Yeah, right. I’m sure they’ll improve the housing market. What they will do is take the jobs in the housing industry and Obama will make damn sure that they do. In the meantime there are still 20 million or so unemployed legal citizens of this country. Why does this yahoo get to pick and choose which laws he wants to obey and which laws he wants us to obey? Why is he still allowed to breathe our air and live in OUR House?

  • Doc

    Say goodby to Youtube

  • Vigilant

    Rolley once again shows his socialist proclivities.

    Intellectual property is as much under the ownership of the producer as it is for the farmer, owner of a patent, or a cabinet maker. In each case the maker of the end product has invested time and effort to create something of value. He/she has every right to a payback for their investment if the free market determines that the product has value.

    Allowing the public to steal those products without compensation to the owner undermines the very thing upon which this nation was founded, i.e., the preservation and enforcement of the right to private property.

    It is akin in every aspect to the redistribution of wealth.

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      Making a felony out of it isn’t the answer. Restitution would be. If caught they should have to pay the owner of the copy write at least twice the value of the dvd. Wow, wouldn’t that be a novel concept instead of sending SWAT teams out to shoot people for this “heinous” act.

      • Vigilant

        That’s an acceptable alternative, IMHO.

  • Rob Reiken

    So what does that eventually mean if it happens maybe life inprisonment for watching a pirated movie, gee maybe he can give the death penalty for pirating copyright issues. Oh wait i bet thats exactly what he wants Obuma Obozo your one hell of a piece of crap that is a traitor to all of mankind.

  • Doc Sarvis

    Another pro-business stance from the centrist President Obama administration. I don’t necessarily agree with it but I do not make movies or music for profit.

  • Michael Fuson

    Haven’t they ever thought that when people upload movies to youtube most the time its of low quality and if the movie is good it makes people want to buy a high quality DVD or Blue ray copy.

    • Doc Sarvis

      Do they???

    • Carl Hartman

      Copyright law and protecting the ownership of that content has nothing to do with the quality or resolution. A theft is a theft.

    • Quester55

      Whom buys a Car without first driving it?
      Whom purchases a case of fine wine, without knowing hoe it taste ?
      I try to find a clip of a movie, before I invest my hard earned money on their ” over Priced Flops”!!
      By the way, Not All movies have a current Copy Right, those movies are counted as Public Domain & lawful for anyone to watch!!

  • Carl Hartman

    All of the copyright owners need to be protected and compensated; however part of the problem is that many copyright owners want payment that is far in excess of the value. Existing copyright laws should be modified to reflect the value of the item on the venue.

    When we sued networks for stealing our content we got a $50K+ settlement because of the national broadcast via a major broadcaster. However, lifting a clip from a movie for a joke video on YouTube is hardly worth a felony conviction and $50K in fines. It makes no sense.

    What makes sense is a clearing house (much like the music industry has for various markets such as CCLI, ASCAP or BMI) for which copyright owners of all media can be compensated under the current law.

    If you want to use a video/audio/media within a private, non-commercial performance you pay per copy or per use a nominal fee. – If you want to use a move clip on your personal YouTube channel it would need to be paid and supported by some mechanism.

    You pay for your video camera, you should pay for lifted content.

    This can easily be handled without the Progressive Nazis in the Obama administration dipping their fingers in the pot.

  • Quester55

    All in all, the fact is, B,Obama, is just P.O.ed that so many citizens around the world, have seen him Lie so many times on ” You Tube”!!
    He feels cheated that he isn’t getting paid for hid communist mug appearing to B.S. the public, !!