COVID-19 relief bill includes new law that would make illegal streaming a felony
Congress’ 5,000-page COVID-19 relief bill holds promise for US citizens, small businesses, and independent music venues alike, but below the surface, it carries a hefty penalty: a 10-year prison sentence for illegal streaming.
Included among the pages of the bill is the “Protecting Lawful Streaming Act,” which seeks to dispel “commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services” from illegally streaming copyright material, a practice that costs the US economy an estimated $30 billion annually. Of note, the law, introduced by Senator Thomas Tallis (R-NC) in early December, does not affect individuals who use illegal streaming services or those “who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.” Rather, it only applies to those who make such illegal means of streaming available. If prosecuted, violators could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; they could also be fined up to $30,000.
The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act would go into effect with the signing of the COVID-19 relief bill. However, the fate of the legislation hangs unsteadily following President Donald J. Trump’s December 22 announcement that he asked Congress to amend the bill. “I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter.
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