I’d be willing to bet you didn’t see this news story in the past week. And further I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t really think about all the ramifications. So allow me to educate you. Then, go write a letter to your U.S. Senator. Last week the Commercial Felony Streaming Act passed the House and is headed to the Senate. It is endorsed by all of the recording industry and film and television spokespeople. It is also supported by nearly every senator I can find a quote from as well as the Obama administration.
I believe that piracy of copyrighted works is a bad thing, but this law is much worse. So why do I oppose it? Because it says that even embedded video is eligible for prosecution. So let’s think this through. Say for example I embed a You Tube clip on this blog from a movie that I enjoy, or maybe I put something I find amusing in “Best Web Junk” for some particular week, and it is copyrighted. If only 10 people watch that video over a 180 day period I could go to prison for up to 5 years. Now let’s face it, my blog is not that popular, but every post gets substantially more than 10 views on the day it is posted. So, even if I was not aware that the video was copyrighted, I could be headed to prison. I didn’t intentionally steal anything, I didn’t promote, “come watch an illegal video for free at my site,” I didn’t profit in any way from the video and I didn’t prevent anyone from watching the clip in the full movie or TV show. I am, however, legally liable and eligible to go to prison for 5 years.
I hope that is clear enough. I wish I believed that any politician could understand this, but I don’t. I am certain that even if they understood, the graft lobbying efforts from the recording and movie industries would outweigh opinions of constituents.
I am writing a letter to Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, but have almost nothing but cynicism as I do it. In the mean time enjoy this classic, but copyrighted clip from Monty Python. I probably won't go to jail for a few months. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eYSuPKP3Y]
*I know. This title is kinda link-baitey, but I haven't posted in a few weeks and I could use the eyeballs.