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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just A Bill, Just A Regular Bill

So apparently, there's a new bill that's going around the Senate called S.978, which would basically make streaming copyrighted content illegal:

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that could have far-reaching implications for users of YouTube and other streaming-video sites, including fans and producers of “let’s play” style game videos. Senate bill S.978 would change the way copyright laws are enforced online, adding the possibility of criminal penalties, including jail time, for people who stream copyrighted material without prior authorization.

The bill, sponsored by Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. People who stream content valued at $2,500 or more online 10 or more times during a 180-day period face up to five years in prison. The bill, which can be read here, is broadly worded. As Shoryuken points out in a great editorial, the current version of the bill could include such YouTube staples as kids lip-synching to popular music or even karaoke performances in a bar. More troubling is the possibility that the act of embedding someone else’s video onto a page could be considered a violation, according to the bill.

Copyright holders currently have legal means to pull unauthorized content from sites, including cease and desist orders and fines. The thought of adding criminal penalties to these cases, including jail time, is a new spin on the issue.

Naturally, the entire internet is up in a tizzy about this, claiming foul over various amounts of things like "I bought the game; I can do with it as I please" and stuff like that.  Hate to break it to you, folks, but you guys are dumb.

I was watching ChrisSmoove's channel the other night, and he basically surmised my entire argument:  it's pretty much already illegal to put it on the Internet.  Granted, it doesn't really apply to video games; it's mostly for that content with those FBI warning labels on it (movies, music, and the like).

Since 90 percent (a guesstimate) of Youtube is made up of gameplays/music/movie excerpts and so on, it would practically implode from nonuse.

And at anytime someone who owns that music or movie or whatever can see what you put on Youtube and ask the website to take it down.  It happened with Rockstar Games and all of their videos, and I know Disney has asked to remove videos before.

The inherent problem is that a large number of companies (not everyone, granted) that like their stuff getting views online.  The example I go back to always is Phineas and Ferb.  The creators like the exposure that their videos get, and I'm sure it contributes somewhat to people actually watching the new episodes on TV.

But the people who put movie stuff online know there's a giant-ass FBI WARNING thing on the DVD/tape and yet they upload it anyway.

Even if this bill was to get passed (and I don't think it will), the government is going to have to prosecute a lot of people, which would make a lot of money for the gov't, I'm sure.  But that would totally cripple a lot of websites.

Plus there are games that allow you to post videos that you make onto Youtube.  Glad they thought of that before writing up this bill, huh?

Anyways, it's too premature to be thinking of any of this.  The bill will probably get bogged down in the Senate and not even pass at all.

And Liebermann's against it.  The same guy who was rampaging against Mortal Kombat back in the day.  Crazy world, huh?

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