New COVID-19 Stimulus Package Makes Illegal Streaming A Felony

Congress has passed a massive new COVID-19 relief package. Besides providing funding to help Americans, it also includes a law that bumps up the designation of illegal streaming from a misdemeanor to a felony. 

Deadline describes the rule as “felony streaming” which could land someone in prison for as long as 10 years. The publication wrote that it “establishes criminal penalties, including prison time, for those who “willfully, and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, offer or provide to the public a digital transmission service” that offers unauthorized movies and TV shows.”

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The legal penalties for this, as outlined by Deadline, “include fines and sentences of up to three years, or five years if the offense involved one or more titles, and “the person knew or should have known that the work was being prepared for commercial public performances.”

The increases to the streaming penalties were proposed by Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina less than two weeks ago. A similar proposal was made 10 years earlier, but Tillis’ version differs because of how specific it is that it targets operators of commercial sites. 

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The bill also includes spending to create a special small claims court for people who have copyrights to pursue legislation against alleged infringers.

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