New measure for criminal streaming is aimed at piracy services, not Twitch streamers


Yes, Congress on Monday approved a new bill that would classify illegal streaming as a crime, but the feeds will not go to your favorite Twitch streamers, YouTubers, or their subscribers. They are more interested in services dedicated to sending pirate content.


Monday night, Congress approved a government worth more than $ 2 billion spending and coronavirus relief package that included a handful of controversial copyright and trademark measures. A crime stream bill, written by Senator Thom Tillis (NC), was included as part of the massive package. The news spread all over the internet; in a poor heading Hollywood Reporter article, tweets and YouTube videos. Content creators and their followers are rapidly becoming increasingly concerned that the bill could threaten their livelihoods or their favorite means of entertainment.

But according to a press release from Tillis’ office and statements by technology advocacy groups such as Public Knowledge, streamers and their fans have no cause for concern.

“In general, we do not see the need for further criminal penalties for copyright infringement,” Meredith Rose, senior policy adviser at Public Knowledge, said in a statement. statement earlier this month. ‘However, this bill has now been amended and avoids criminalizing users, who can do nothing but click on a link or upload a file. It also does not criminalize streamers who may include unlicensed works as part of their streams. ”

The text of the bill confirms this reading. On its fourth page, sketch the bill which would qualify under the law as criminal conduct. Currently, the flow of unlicensed content is an offense. Previously, organizations like the NFL would sue sites like NFLBite that recreated games, but if approved, the Tillis measures would open the door for the FBI to prosecute those website owners with the prison sentence. But while the fines and their enforcement are intensifying, the bill does not change what is legal and what is not. More importantly, there is nothing in the text of the bill to suggest that platforms’ moderation of everyday copyright infringement should change.

Here is a statement of Tillis’ office describing the purpose of the legislation:


The Legal Stream Protection Act only applies to commercial, lucrative streaming piracy services. The law will not use normal practices by online service providers, good reputable business disputes, non-commercial activities or in any way affect individuals gaining access to pirate streams or unauthorized copies of copyright of works protected by copyright, does not flow. People who may be using pirate streaming services are not affected.

Yet it is quite understandable that YouTubers and streamers will worry themselves about a bill whose final text was released a few days before it was approved. Social video platforms have in the past not done the best job with copyright, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claims and strikes. YouTube’s algorithm frequently flags content as copyright infringement, even if it is not. Copyright owners like Universal have long been able to claim videos without explicitly indicating where the copyrighted material appears in the content. Copyright is messy.

On Dec. 16, Twitch discussed this proposal in its city hall, saying the company does not expect the bill to affect its platform or users. YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment The edge Tuesday.

This does not mean that copyright activists can rest easy. The $ 1 million package does contain a copyright measure that civil liberties activists fear could have dramatic consequences. The CASE Act was also approved in the package and would create a quasi-judicial court for copyright within the Copyright Office. Copyright holders can receive up to $ 30,000 in damages if they share their creative work online.

There is also more bad copyright news from sen Tillis in the next term. The senator plans to propose additional copyright changes next year that have already put the tech and creative industries off. National Magazine report On Tuesday, Tillis distributed a draft bill of a bill that would completely reform the DMCA. The bill will be a “notice and stay behind“Provision that could make copyright conflicts, such as YouTube’s Content ID, more stringent. National Magazine said Tillis’s office would limit this provision to ‘complete or near-complete works’ and focus on larger businesses rather than small platforms or creators. Still, current technology in terms of copyright is a hit or miss.


‘This proposal [the incoming DMCA reform] would result in major legal uncertainties for small businesses, start-ups and new creators; harm competition and consumer choice for next-generation platforms such as TikTok and Parler; and leads to significant blocking of everyday content on the platforms that Americans use every day to work, communicate and have fun, ”said Joshua Lamel, executive director of the Re: Create Coalition, in a statement. statement Tuesday.


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