Streamers of illegal content on the Internet, be aware: the government really wants to punish you for your malfeasance.
2012 was all about the common people of the Internet banding together to protest the possible enactment of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA). Faced with mounting opposition from voters and—more importantly—big business donors like Google, Congress back-pedaled the legislation.
But a new report from the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force wants to revive one key element of the former SOPA bill that's sure to raise eyebrows among copyright watchers: streaming copyrighted works on the Internet would be considered a felony.
Copying and distributing copyrighted material (i.e., bootlegging or ripping) is already considered a felony. and streaming copyrighted material is punishable just as a misdemeanor, since it's seen a violation of public performance rights.
This was a provision in the original SOPA bill, and now the Department of Commerce is exhuming it again, demonstrating for the umpteenth time the influence of Hollywood in the halls of Washington.
No legislation has been proposed from this report yet, but it will be something for which to keep an eye out in upcoming months.