Washington – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would make it a felony to stream copyrighted movies and TV episodes online.

Sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Commercial Felony Streaming Act is being lobbied for by entertainment industry groups including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners, who urged that the bill now be taken up before the full Senate.

The groups said that the bill will put unauthorized streaming in the same legal category as unauthorized downloading of copyrighted media.

It provides for penalties of up to five years in prison under certain circumstances, and stipulates that the value of the streamed video must be more than $2,500 retail, or $5,000 via licensing.

“These are different technologies, but criminals use them for the same purpose: stealing content made by hundreds of people who support their families by working in the entertainment industry,” the groups said in a joint statement.

“The bill would apply only in cases in which a website operator has willfully and knowingly violated a copyright and profited from it, and does not allow law enforcement to prosecute people who stream videos without intending to profit — a parent sharing a video of her child with friends and family, for example.”


Related Links: