An update on proposed bill S.978 from congress

Earlier today I checked my email and happened to notice that I received a reply (automated) from my state’s senator, regarding the proposed S.978 bill. While the real reason for the bill is to stop unauthorized streams of items such as movies, music, etc… we also feared that it would cut into video gaming and eliminate such things as combo videos, game play videos and much more.  However congress is seeing that’s not going to happen…… Here’s the reply, for your reading pleasure!

Thank you for writing to express concerns about S. 978, a bill that would provide felony criminal penalties for individuals engaged in particularly egregious acts of streaming copyrighted material to other users over the Internet. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this legislation.

The goal of S. 978 is modest: to treat the distribution of copyrighted material via streaming the same as the distribution of copyrighted material by other methods. This bill would provide that those who engage in piracy willfully and for profit will be held to the same standards — including potential felony charges — regardless of whether they engage in that piracy by selling bootlegs on the street corner or providing access to the streaming of copyrighted material over the internet.  It is a way of strengthening the intellectual property laws we already have, not expanding them to cover new material.  

The online streaming bill does not criminalize any conduct that is not already illegal.  Using or imbedding YouTube videos is not against the law, and anybody who is acting legally today will not be in violation of the law after the bill is passed. S. 978 also does not apply to the individuals who view streamed content—only to the individuals and sites providing the streamed content. Those who may violate copyright incidentally and without intending to profit from it will also not be affected, as this bill provides for felony liability only if the violation of copyright is willful, for a commercial purpose, where great harm results to the copyright holder. This bill is designed to protect American intellectual property and stop the illegal dissemination of copyrighted material.Preventing the theft of American intellectual property is an important part of our strategy for making our nation more competitive in the global economy.

So there it is folks. Take it for what it is and make your decision.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. You can find him on Twitter as @Shadowhaxor or you can email her at keith.mitchell@theouterhaven.net.