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S.978: Will it harm artists?

S.978 would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony

S.978, also known as the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, was proposed by three senators in May and may be introduced by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The Washington Post reports that S.987 would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony, causing offenders to spend as many as five years in jail.

Some organizations say that the open-ended language of the bill could affect YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Google+, iPhone, Android, AmazonCloud, Pandora, Grooveshark and email accounts.

The organization Fight for the Future, which fights for freedom in technology, says that because of the expanisve nature of copyright law, “it applies to lots of completely harmless and common things: like singing a song, dancing to background music, or posting a video of a kids’ school play.”

But two of the senators who introduced S.978 say it won’t affect artists or harmless videos like those described by Fight for the Future. Those who “stream videos without intending to profit” will not be subject to prosecution.

Read more about S.978 here.

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