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Submission + - SOPA 2013

An anonymous reader writes: Criminalizing streaming was a key component of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Currently streaming of copyrighted works is a misdemeanor, and a primarily a civil issue not a criminal one. The Internet Policy Taskforce is proposing to make streaming of copyrighted content a FELONY, with the potential for multi-year prison terms as punishment. Exactly what constitutes a 'stream' and 'copyright content' are open to very wide interpretation. Is a video stream of a mother singing "Happy Birthday to You" to her son a felony? The Internet Policy Taskforce would say yes. We need to say no.
Making copyright infringements a felony isn't really about sending a message or acting as a deterrent. Instead, by turning the civil matter into a criminal one, the RIAA, MPAA and others get to hand enforcement of their copyrights over to the government. In essence they get a free ride on taxpayer dollars. Further to that, by ensuring broad interpretations of 'streaming' and 'copyright content' they will get to shut down anyone who comes up with an alternative distribution model.
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SOPA 2013

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