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Obama Admin Wants to Make Illegal Streaming a Felony

Obama Admin Wants to Make Illegal Streaming a Felony

Intellectual Property Czar Victoria Espinel recommends that “Congress clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances,” and that law enforcement be given wiretap powers for intellectual property crimes.

Ever since Vice President Joe Biden, a former member of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, convened a “first of its kind” piracy summit with Hollywood CEOs, music industry execs, and legal experts in attendance back in late December 2009, the Obama Administration has been working overtime to find ways to “combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age.”

Intellectual Property Czar Victoria Espinel, whose cabinet-level position was created by the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act back in 2008, first outlined what those priorities should be in her June of 2010 “Joint Strategic Plan On Intellectual Property Enforcement.

That plan included taking a harder stance against sites that stream copyrighted material, but US law currently considers streaming a “public performance.” A “public performance” is a licensing issue and not a felony.

The Obama Administration plans to remedy the situation as outlined in it’s “White paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement Legislative Recommendations” it recently submitted to Congress.

“Existing law provides felony penalties for willful copyright infringement, but felony penalties are predicated on the defendant either illegally reproducing or distributing the copyrighted work,” it reads. “Questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works (and thereby is a felony) and/or performance of those works (and thereby is a not a felony). These questions have impaired the criminal enforcement of copyright laws. To ensure that Federal copyright law keeps pace with infringers, and to ensure that DOJ and U.S. law enforcement agencies are able to effectively combat infringement involving new technology, the Administration recommends that Congress clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.”

Espinel also asks that law enforcement be given additional authority to seek a wiretap in intellectual property crimes.

“Title 18, United States Code, Section 2516 contains an extensive list of offenses for which the U.S. Government is authorized to seek wiretap authority from a court to obtain evidence of those offenses, including for economic espionage (18 U.S.C.§ 1831) and theft of trade secrets (18 U.S.C. § 1832). See 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1)(a) (listing offenses under chapter 90),” she writes. “Omitted from this list are criminal copyright (17 U.S.C. § 506(a)(1), 18 U.S.C. § 2319) and criminal trademark offenses (18 U.S.C. § 2320). Wiretap authority for these intellectual property crimes, subject to the existing legal protections that apply to wiretaps for other types of crimes, would assist U.S. law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate those offenses, including targeting organized crime and the leaders and organizers of criminal enterprises.”

This last demand would likely make it easier for the Feds to inspect an Internet user’s traffic for sign of infringement like data packet sniffing.

It’s not clear how much of an effect any of these additional tools would have, especially considering that most infringing sites are located overseas. What good is a felony conviction for an admin of an illegal streaming site based in the Ukraine or China?

Expanded wiretapping powers could help discover and prosecute intellectual property crimes, but aren’t current laws already well-suited for those committed within the reach of US law enforcement?

Apparently no law is ever strong enough for US copyright holders.

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Kyle Murphy
Kyle Murphy

Why would anybody want to stream copyrighted material that isn't theirs? Don't you people understand that people have to earn a living by selling the products they create? If you're duplicating and streaming and giving away for free, the things people work hard to create, you are robbing them of money from their pocket! What's so hard to understand? If it's not yours, don't upload it for other people to watch/listen to/use etc. I mean, what is so hard to understand? It's stealing. Stealing has been against the law for a long, long time.

Nerd Uno
Nerd Uno

Ironic: Correct me if I'm wrong but Time Warner's streaming of unauthorized content to iPads would be a felony under this newly proposed bill.

me
me

capitalism a love story

jeez
jeez

So much for that "hope and change" lol.

nWo
nWo

Ron Paul 2012

governmenz r teh slow
governmenz r teh slow

meh, whatever. theyre so slow and dumb. usually i curse em for it. in this case ill just LOL tho. at this rate all the laws in the world wont stop anything. they get an order of magnitude further behind every day. takes what, a few days to learn a new technique, while they take over a decade to do squat? not that i like all this BS, but it could b worse. and whoever said they arent subject to the same transparency, thats why u need to support anonymous and wikileaks and whistleblowers and hackers all around. no they wont ever GIVE us transparency, but we can TAKE it, as shown by anonymous and wikileaks and lots of other examples. the web is special, it lets us unite against the gov. crooks, keep fighting

Anonymous
Anonymous

Someone better Jared Loughner that stupid cunt.

Heironymouse
Heironymouse

If there's one thing we can learn from crime, it's that the more actions you criminalize, the more crime there is. Duh! Lets deregulate and go back to the roots! No more victim-less crimes! Steal a CD, then you have a victim -the former CD-owner. Rip a CD, then you have no victim. The CD is still there. Information is free, even in the digital world. Here's something that you can't steal: Live performances. Sure I could try to perform it, but only the original artist will sound right.

-_-
-_-

This is redonkulous. If the Obama Administration gets its way there will be no privacy anymore. They want to inspect your data packets? The next person who runs for any office better be perfectly clean, that means no porn or ordering hookers online (LoL). The point I am trying to make here is that they are taking your right to do whatever you want on the internet away. Why can't they just leave it unregulated and mind their own business. Its not like its possible to stop piracy, its just not. This would just create the need for "the annual meeting of the hard drives" where people leave their houses to get copies of other peoples TB hard drives at "pirate" meetings. If there is something we can learn from history is that crime evolves, you just cant stop it. Every right you sign over to the government is a right that is permanently lost. All the government does is take and take your rights. When was the last time government gave up its right to do something. President Obama even signs legislation that omits his office from following whatever laws he passes. You should look them up, they are called "signing statements." Stop giving our rights away! Take back that which you have given to them. I want the patriot act repealed and my rights to privacy and anonymity. If they can make us transparent, why can't we make them transparent. The government does not follow the same laws as its citizens.

Michael Roessler
Michael Roessler

If its so hard for them to pass the law for infringement then why are they trying so hard. the only people who are losing out on the money from this is the music artists and film makers and people who already have enough money but for someone who is poor and cant pay for the movie maybe this is the only way that they can get the movie and then were gonna turn around and slap them in the face with a felony for something so small. thats just ridiculous in my mind

Ron MacD
Ron MacD

Vote Republican, Obama has to repay the Hollywood types that got him elected.

Yup.
Yup.

The DMCA is from 1998 and there hasn't been a significant update to IP law since. What did you expect? Pirates are sowing the seeds for these laws with their self-righteousness and sense of self-entitlement to other peoples' work. Is it really so hard not to willfully, repeatedly, illegally stream a Hollywood movie or song you don't own? I've been online since the 90s and can't say I've ever done it. If I can manage to not do it, why can't you? Do I have special powers you do not?

Heironymouse
Heironymouse

They 'hope' we don't notice the 'change' of power from our hands into theirs, and most of all they 'hope' we don't realize that we can 'change' things much better without them!

suomynonA
suomynonA

That would not help this one bit, they would only use such an act as an excuse to take more of our rights away.

Republicrat
Republicrat

So go from one arm of the nWO to the other arm? No thanks, for me it's going to be third-party this time. At the very least my 'lost' vote (and thousands, if not millions of others) will inject real issues into the debates, and force the two-party system to at least address those. Which will in turn alert more people to the democracy-deficit we have in America. And at the most we will finally see some real change (read: back to the roots true republican not that liberal-neocon-bs change). Constitution&Bill of Rights FTW!

Yammo
Yammo

You DO realize that this has NOTHING to do with piracy, right? The scribes were mostly controlled by churches... The presses were controlled by kings... Radio & Television IS regulated by governments... This is the first time in HISTORY that people have the ability to express themselves freely across borders. This is the first time in HISTORY when a beggar can be heard just as loud as a king. If you were playing a table-top game... and you realized that a form of media was about to nullify your influence over the country, what would YOU do? The publishers and media have just awoken and realized they no longer control the flow of information. Laws will be passed, (as they have in Canada), forcing people to pay a heafty sum per kilo/mega-byte... Then packages will be introduced, where you can surf freely on sites like BBC, FOX, etc... And voilá, Control has once again been ceased. Copyright is only a distraction which leaves people like you and me arguing over trivial matters, while we miss the real issue... Which is way bigger than whether Brittney Spears lost some sales or not due to Piracy... //Don't run on automatic

LOLz
LOLz

"If I can manage to not do it, why can’t you? Do I have special powers you do not?" Yes, it's called being a copyright holder (apparently).

Scary Devil Monastery
Scary Devil Monastery

"...Pirates are sowing the seeds for these laws..." Interesting. So if enough people abuse the right of free communication it'll be all right to abolish that quirky "free speech" amendment? It's your wife's fault for being beaten because she was being annoying? That's a nice way of missing likely consequences. When someone breaks into your house, beats your kid and burns your car i think i can rightly assume the LAST argument on your mind will be "Maybe it's because i was being such a prick and deserved it?"

oreilly
oreilly

don't you ever get tired of licking copyright holders' asses? seriously, your statement is such an extreme example of capitalist brainwashing, it seems like it's fake.

jd
jd

Your an idiot.



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