New COVID-19 relief bill would make for-profit illegal streaming a felony
Commercial platforms, not individual users, would face hefty charges under the new bill
A new draft of the COVID-19 relief bill contains a provision that would bring felony charges to companies that illegally stream copyrighted material, as The Hollywood Reporter points out.
The text of the provision was spearheaded by Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Crucially, individual users who stream pirated works will not be targeted for prosecution, according to internet advocacy group Public Knowledge.
"[T]his bill is narrowly tailored and avoids criminalizing users who may do nothing more than click on a link, or upload a file," writes Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel for Public Knowledge. "It also does not criminalize streamers who may include unlicensed works as part of their streams."
The relief bill faces a vote in Congress today (December 21). If passed, operators of illegal streaming platforms would face up to 10 years in jail.