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The Stimulus Bill Reportedly Includes Language That Could Make Illegal Streaming A Felony

Congress finally passing a coronavirus stimulus bill is good news for the millions of Americans who have endured a difficult year of economic struggles and unemployment. But as is often the case with political dealings and life in 2020, there are plenty of other weird things that were included in the omnibus bill that passed after lengthy negotiations with potentially deadly consequences for Americans desperate for help from the federal government.

Not much gets done quickly in Congress, which is why these large bills often have lengthy addendums and other strangeness. It’s a complicated game of congressmen often slipping other projects into a bill meant for something very different.

And apparently one of those things is language that could make illegally streaming media content a felony that results in a hefty jail sentence. Via THR:

Perhaps most surprising, according to the text of the bill being circulated, illegal streaming for commercial profit could become a felony:

It’s been less than two weeks since Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) released his proposal to increase the penalties for those who would dare stream unlicensed works. In doing so, the North Carolina Senator flirted with danger. About a decade ago, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar made a similar proposal before it ended up dying as people worried about sending Justin Bieber to jail. (No, seriously.) This time, Tillis’ attempt was winning better reviews for more narrowly tailoring the provisions towards commercial operators rather than users. That said, it’s had very little time to circulate before evidently becoming part of the spending package. If passed, illegal streaming could carry up to 10 years in jail.

THR also notes that tax relief for funding TV and film productions is part of the language as well as a revamping of the U.S Copyright Office. That’s a lot of TV and media importance, but one has to also remember that those industries also provide jobs to many thousands of Americans. There’s no easy answer here, but it’s also clear that Americans are frustrated with the individual “stimulus” portion of the bill, so Congress may end up back where they started, sooner rather than later.

(Via Hollywood Reporter)

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