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Senate Bill Could Put An End To Streaming Game Footage

by Jeff Cork on Jul 02, 2011 at 02:56 AM

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that could have far-reaching implications for users of YouTube and other streaming-video sites, including fans and producers of “let’s play” style game videos. Senate bill S.978 would change the way copyright laws are enforced online, adding the possibility of criminal penalties, including jail time, for people who stream copyrighted material without prior authorization.

The bill, sponsored by Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. People who stream content valued at $2,500 or more online 10 or more times during a 180-day period face up to five years in prison. The bill, which can be read here, is broadly worded. As Shoryuken points out in a great editorial, the current version of the bill could include such YouTube staples as kids lip-synching to popular music or even karaoke performances in a bar. More troubling is the possibility that the act of embedding someone else’s video onto a page could be considered a violation, according to the bill.

Copyright holders currently have legal means to pull unauthorized content from sites, including cease and desist orders and fines. The thought of adding criminal penalties to these cases, including jail time, is a new spin on the issue.

If you’re upset by the legislation and would like to make your voice heard, Demand Progress has made it easy to voice your displeasure to the powers that be.


[Thanks to everyone for the tips!]