White House Wants To Make Illegal Video Streaming A Felony

rip remixJust when you thought maybe the United States was ready to take a leadership role in modernizing copyright laws for the digital age of mashup and remix culture, the White House takes a massive step backwards, with harsh proposals including felony status for illegal streaming of audio and video. Declan McCullagh reports for CNET:

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

In a 20-page white paper (PDF), the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix “deficiencies that could hinder enforcement” of intellectual property laws.

The report was prepared by Victoria Espinel, the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator who received Senate confirmation in December 2009, and represents a broad tightening of many forms of intellectual property law including ones that deal with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and overseas royalties for copyright holders. (See CNET’s report last month previewing today’s white paper.)

Some of the highlights:

• The White House is concerned that “illegal streaming of content” may not be covered by criminal law, saying “questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works.” To resolve that ambiguity, it wants a new law to “clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.”

• Under federal law, wiretaps may only be conducted in investigations of serious crimes, a list that was expanded by the 2001 Patriot Act to include offenses such as material support of terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction. The administration is proposing to add copyright and trademark infringement, arguing that move “would assist U.S. law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate those offenses.”

• Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it’s generally illegal to distribute hardware or software–such as the DVD-decoding software Handbrake available from a server in France–that can “circumvent” copy protection technology. The administration is proposing that if Homeland Security seizes circumvention devices, it be permitted to “inform rightholders,” “provide samples of such devices,” and assist “them in bringing civil actions.”

The term “fair use” does not appear anywhere in the report. But it does mention Web sites like The Pirate Bay, which is hosted in Sweden, when warning that “foreign-based and foreign-controlled Web sites and Web services raise particular concerns for U.S. enforcement efforts.” (See previous coverage of a congressional hearing on overseas sites.)

The usual copyright hawks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, applauded the paper, which grew out of a so-called joint strategic plan that Vice President Biden and Espinel announced in June 2010…

[continues at CNET]

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  • grooveboss

    ill move

  • grooveboss

    ill move

  • DeepCough

    So much for Net Neutrality.

  • DeepCough

    So much for Net Neutrality.

  • http://bluetwothree.blogspot.com cybergabi

    There’s money behind it. Particularly in sports. Think Superbowl. We were only able to watch it for free here in the Netherlands via some inofficial streaming channel. I bet there’s a lot of lobbying going on.

  • http://bluetwothree.blogspot.com cybergabi

    There’s money behind it. Particularly in sports. Think Superbowl. We were only able to watch it for free here in the Netherlands via some inofficial streaming channel. I bet there’s a lot of lobbying going on.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The Great Pirate Party will not stand for this!

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The Great Pirate Party will not stand for this!

  • Hadrian999

    I’m so glad we have Obama and the democrats protecting us from the big bad corporations

  • Hadrian999

    I’m so glad we have Obama and the democrats protecting us from the big bad corporations

  • Anonymous

    protecting the common man

  • Anonymous

    protecting the common man

  • hypnos

    Steal intellectual property from a corporate person: Felony imprisonment
    Steal real estate property from a real person: Get a multi-million dollar bonus

  • Anonymous

    Steal intellectual property from a corporate person: Felony imprisonment
    Steal real estate property from a real person: Get a multi-million dollar bonus

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Note the speed with which they’ve already segued from merely enforcing newly strengthened intellectual property laws…which made civil and financial penalties easier to assert against copyright offenders…and shifted it to a criminal matter for with jail time instead of cash penalties.

    I know that to a certain degree copyright laws make sense and protect created material. I know that linking sites and illegal download sites are pretty flagrant frauds that freely distribute copy righted material…

    …but its also true that the value of the streamed material isn’t as great as described. A TV/movie exec will announce that every minute of material is worth thousands of dollars and that his company is losing millions every day. Complete bullshit. The truth is that this stuff is being plucked from online sources by people who wouldn’t be in the market at all if they couldn’t get it free. Most people will do what I do…and get the DVD/CDs as soon as they can if they really like something…at price or as soon as they’re on sale. The tiny fringe of super-downloaders won’t change suddenly and buy millions of dollars worth of stuff just because they’re scared…they just won’t buy stuff at all…which is what they do now.

    Zero sum game. Theres no extra money of significance to be made…except from wild lawsuits by company lawyers who have realized that they’ve found Montezuma’s Lost Gold in the process of raping the shit out of any song downloader by assessing a value of 10,000 bucks to every shitty single ever copied illegally. Fuck…anyone who goes to court and has the balls to suggest that a Vanilla Ice track from twenty years ago is worth 10Gs in fines…should be disbarred and checked into a mental institution.

    • Ironaddict06

      Some one will have to go down to show that the FEDS are serious.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Note the speed with which they’ve already segued from merely enforcing newly strengthened intellectual property laws…which made civil and financial penalties easier to assert against copyright offenders…and shifted it to a criminal matter for with jail time instead of cash penalties.

    I know that to a certain degree copyright laws make sense and protect created material. I know that linking sites and illegal download sites are pretty flagrant frauds that freely distribute copy righted material…

    …but its also true that the value of the streamed material isn’t as great as described. A TV/movie exec will announce that every minute of material is worth thousands of dollars and that his company is losing millions every day. Complete bullshit. The truth is that this stuff is being plucked from online sources by people who wouldn’t be in the market at all if they couldn’t get it free. Most people will do what I do…and get the DVD/CDs as soon as they can if they really like something…at price or as soon as they’re on sale. The tiny fringe of super-downloaders won’t change suddenly and buy millions of dollars worth of stuff just because they’re scared…they just won’t buy stuff at all…which is what they do now.

    Zero sum game. Theres no extra money of significance to be made…except from wild lawsuits by company lawyers who have realized that they’ve found Montezuma’s Lost Gold in the process of raping the shit out of any song downloader by assessing a value of 10,000 bucks to every shitty single ever copied illegally. Fuck…anyone who goes to court and has the balls to suggest that a Vanilla Ice track from twenty years ago is worth 10Gs in fines…should be disbarred and checked into a mental institution.

  • http://twitter.com/sabrebIade Sabre

    So copyright and trademark infringement are in the same category now as material support of terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction?
    Am I reading this right?

    • Ironaddict06

      Yep. The FBI will have the power to tap your lines and sieze your computers for copyright infringement-because there could be a link to terrorism.
      Hopefully people are starting to realize that it is not the evil Republicans: Or the liberal Democrats.
      It is the entire Federal Govt and the Elite: THE OLIGARCHY

  • http://twitter.com/sabrebIade Sabre

    So copyright and trademark infringement are in the same category now as material support of terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction?
    Am I reading this right?

  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    The full headline should read “Media Conglomerates Want To Make Illegal Video Streaming a Felony and They Helped the Obama Administration Get Into Office So They’re Forcing Obama to Take Their Stance.” Okay, so that’s pretty long. You get the point. We’re only seeing half of the story. Obama himself probably supports p2p file sharing. Corporations now sway every major development in our national government.

  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    The full headline should read “Media Conglomerates Want To Make Illegal Video Streaming a Felony and They Helped the Obama Administration Get Into Office So They’re Forcing Obama to Take Their Stance.” Okay, so that’s pretty long. You get the point. We’re only seeing half of the story. Obama himself probably supports p2p file sharing. Corporations now sway every major development in our national government.

  • Guest

    I wonder how long people are going to take this before kicking those greedy bastard corporations, that dont like to share, out of a position to make biased laws that protect greed..

    what next ? i cant share a napkin with anyone because it lowers the speed of consumption which effects their possible sales ? gawd…

  • Guest

    I wonder how long people are going to take this before kicking those greedy bastard corporations, that dont like to share, out of a position to make biased laws that protect greed..

    what next ? i cant share a napkin with anyone because it lowers the speed of consumption which effects their possible sales ? gawd…

  • Ironaddict06

    Yep. The FBI will have the power to tap your lines and sieze your computers for copyright infringement-because there could be a link to terrorism.
    Hopefully people are starting to realize that it is not the evil Republicans: Or the liberal Democrats.
    It is the entire Federal Govt and the Elite: THE OLIGARCHY

  • Ironaddict06

    Some one will have to go down to show that the FEDS are serious.

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