This bill would establish criminal penalties for illegally streaming copyrighted material online (willful infringement), specifically aimed at motion pictures (TV, film, video).
S. 978 will update existing copyright law to add internet technology to the other methods/media of willful criminal infringement. Criminal infringement is the same, regardless of the technology used. This bill simply adds the new technology of streaming copyrighted motion pictures over the internet to the existing law, which presently describes copying and selling “recordings.”
If you read our copyright law and the text of the bill, it is clear that there are criminal penalties for people who deliberately copy “phonorecords” and motion pictures (including DVDs of movies and TV broadcasts) and sell those copies on a large scale [commercial use]; the pirates. S. 978 will add a few sentences to include the new internet technology of streaming this same copyrighted content without permission from or payment to the rights holder, and will permit penalties for this illegal activity FOR COMMERCIAL USE. This is very narrowly aimed at large scale piracy.
There is no language in this bill that is aimed in any way at individuals making personal use of copyrighted materials as already permitted under the Doctrine of Fair Use, nor does this bill change that section of the law.[Here’s the link to Fair Use on the Copyright Office website http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html ] Please read the section about Fair Use.
The entertainment industry in the US employs far more artists than any other, even the publishing industry. Artists create all sorts of content used in television, video, films, games, exhibits, performances and packaging of the recordings of music and motion pictures. The Guild’s mission is to advocate for the economic and professional interests of artists. The entertainment industry, which includes large media companies and corporate copyright owners as well as small studios and independent creators, continues to lose revenue due to increasing piracy of their copyrighted works. As we all know, when a business loses money it has to cut back. The entertainment industry has to cut back on the production budgets, a direct detriment to the number of productions created and the number of people employed on those productions. Loss of revenue due to piracy of these creative works hurts the economic interests and the income of all of the creative people employed to make them.
The Graphic Artists Guild supports this legislation in solidarity with other organizations that represent authors, artists, musicians, and other professionals working in the entertainment industry as well as our employers, including the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), AT&T, NBC Universal, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.