Summary

S. 978: A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes. Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on Jun 16, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Date Introduced
May 12, 2011

Bill Text

A BILL

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...

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Organizations Supporting

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.

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Graphic Artists Guild 3 years ago

“We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, out of committee. This marks the second time in three weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken decisive action to approve legislation that can make a significant difference in fighting the scourge of online content theft. “We congratulate Senator Klobuchar, Senator Cornyn and Senator Coons, who introduced the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, for recognizing that digital content theft via streaming is just as illegal as digital content theft via downloading, and for leading the charge to apply the same criminal penalties to illegal streaming that already apply to illegal downloading. “As the Guilds and Unions that represent more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers including craftspeople, actors, technicians, directors, musicians, recording artists and others whose creativity is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, we are dedicated to the passage of strong legislation that will help us to protect the jobs, residuals and pension & health benefits that allow our members to make a living creating the movies, television shows and sound recordings that are enjoyed by millions around the world. “The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, together with the PROTECT IP Act that was also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee three weeks ago, is critical to the ability of law enforcement to actively and effectively combat the online theft of our members’ work. Make no mistake: the illegal streaming of content for commercial or financial gain is a crime, and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act places the appropriate criminal label on the activity. This legislation is an important step forward in our efforts to stem the rising tide of Internet theft that threatens our members’ very livelihoods.” http://www.sag.org/joint-statement-commending-senate-judiciary-committee-passage-commercial-felony-streaming-act

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Screen Actors Guild 3 years ago

“We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, out of committee. This marks the second time in three weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken decisive action to approve legislation that can make a significant difference in fighting the scourge of online content theft. “We congratulate Senator Klobuchar, Senator Cornyn and Senator Coons, who introduced the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, for recognizing that digital content theft via streaming is just as illegal as digital content theft via downloading, and for leading the charge to apply the same criminal penalties to illegal streaming that already apply to illegal downloading. “As the Guilds and Unions that represent more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers including craftspeople, actors, technicians, directors, musicians, recording artists and others whose creativity is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, we are dedicated to the passage of strong legislation that will help us to protect the jobs, residuals and pension & health benefits that allow our members to make a living creating the movies, television shows and sound recordings that are enjoyed by millions around the world. “The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, together with the PROTECT IP Act that was also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee three weeks ago, is critical to the ability of law enforcement to actively and effectively combat the online theft of our members’ work. Make no mistake: the illegal streaming of content for commercial or financial gain is a crime, and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act places the appropriate criminal label on the activity. This legislation is an important step forward in our efforts to stem the rising tide of Internet theft that threatens our members’ very livelihoods.” http://www.sag.org/joint-statement-commending-senate-judiciary-committee-passage-commercial-felony-streaming-act

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“We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, out of committee. This marks the second time in three weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken decisive action to approve legislation that can make a significant difference in fighting the scourge of online content theft. “We congratulate Senator Klobuchar, Senator Cornyn and Senator Coons, who introduced the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, for recognizing that digital content theft via streaming is just as illegal as digital content theft via downloading, and for leading the charge to apply the same criminal penalties to illegal streaming that already apply to illegal downloading. “As the Guilds and Unions that represent more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers including craftspeople, actors, technicians, directors, musicians, recording artists and others whose creativity is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, we are dedicated to the passage of strong legislation that will help us to protect the jobs, residuals and pension & health benefits that allow our members to make a living creating the movies, television shows and sound recordings that are enjoyed by millions around the world. “The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, together with the PROTECT IP Act that was also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee three weeks ago, is critical to the ability of law enforcement to actively and effectively combat the online theft of our members’ work. Make no mistake: the illegal streaming of content for commercial or financial gain is a crime, and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act places the appropriate criminal label on the activity. This legislation is an important step forward in our efforts to stem the rising tide of Internet theft that threatens our members’ very livelihoods.” http://www.sag.org/joint-statement-commending-senate-judiciary-committee-passage-commercial-felony-streaming-act

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Organizations Opposing

This bill would allow the government to lock up Americans for streaming videos or music online, and is so overly broad that people who post videos of their friends singing karaoke could be prosecuted. This legislation is a tremendous overreach and we are deeply concerned by the danger it poses to Internet freedom.

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Demand Progress 3 years ago

This bill lacks clear definitions, is too broad and has the potential to assess severe punishments for otherwise harmless activities. For example, YouTube users that upload a video of themselves lip-syncing, dancing to background music or singing a song have to potential to be prosecuted under this law.

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testPAC 2 years ago

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Bill Summary

S. 978: A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.

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