I guess that I’m going to have to change my format. Up to now I’ve linked to you tube for videos under the understanding that being available on you tube makes it a public domain property with respect to streaming and so accessible for bloggers. The current law says that “reproducing” and “distributing” copyrighted works are felony charges and cover web downloads and P2P transfers. I agree that movie makers would want to ban illegal copies. They deserve compensation for the money they spent producing their products. Streaming from you tube is a “public performance” and not a “distribution” so holding a public performance without a proper license is not a felony. This new bill S.978 adds this to the felony list and online streamers who are convicted of 10 or more “public performances” i.e. 10 folks watch the video through your blog which is linked to the you tube video that is under copy write and that means most things on the Internet in any 180 day period and the total retail value of these performances exceeds $2500 or the cost of licensing these performances is more than $5,000 then they could face up to 5 years in prison and a fine.
This is a very quiet and underhanded way of squeezing bloggers from competing with mass media so that only officially sanctioned news will be allowed on the Internet. From the ars technic website:
Michael O'Leary, who heads up the MPAA's government affairs (read: lobbying) work, said in a statement that "criminals are stealing, trafficking, and profiting off the investment that our workers devote to creating the quality films and TV shows that entertain a worldwide audience and bolster the American economy... We thank Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn for introducing this important legislation to standardize the legal treatment of online content theft and helping ensure that federal law keeps pace with the changing face of criminal activity."
The bill as written is so vague as to the material which may be deemed a felony that everyone is at risk unless you only write your own material and quote in writing other sources under a fair use clause. Both the house and the senate are in support as well as the white house. While everyone is talking about the debt ceiling this is one of those under the radar anti-democratic thrusts with which “progressive” Obama agrees.