Covid relief bill to make illegal streaming a felony with up to 10-year prison sentence, in landmark victory for Hollywood studios

Covid Relief Bill to Increase Penalties for Piracy in Victory for Hollywood.
The entertainment industry is facing another huge hit from the pandemic with the proposed Covid-19 relief bill, including increased penalties for companies that illegally stream copyrighted material.
Since the failed Stop Online Piracy Act of 2012, the studios have been trying to pass copyright laws to curb piracy for nearly a decade.
If the 5,000-page Covid-19 aid package is passed, penalties for illegally streaming movies and music, which can last up to 10 years in prison, will be increased, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The latest win for Hollywood Studios comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom declared those in the entertainment industry are essential workers and are therefore exempt from the state's strict stay-at-home orders.
The increased penalties for streaming were introduced by Senator Thom Tillis, who said in a statement that the law targets commercial piracy "and does not apply to internet users."
"The shift towards online content streaming has resulted in criminal streaming services illegally distributing copyrighted material that costs the US economy nearly $ 30 billion each year and producing creative content that Americans love , handicapped, "said Tillis.
Mr Tillis' comments came as news of the determination prompted observers to wonder what online streaming had to do with a global mutant coronavirus pandemic.
The bill provides criminal penalties for companies who intentionally offer a digital removal service for "commercial private financial gains", including fines and imprisonment.
The Covid bill also includes the creation of a small claims court so that copyright owners can assess their claims within the U.S. Copyright Office outside of the federal court system. The Senate previously blocked the CASE Act, which set up external dispute settlement systems.
The bill also includes an extension to Section 181, a tax provision that allows for up to $ 15 million in TV and film production costs to be deducted immediately, reports THR.
Veteran GOP pollster and strategist Frank Luntz responded to the bill on Twitter and asked what it had to do with Covid-19.
Public Knowledge, an advocacy group for an open internet, supported the definition of "crime streaming" as not targeting individuals.
"In general, we see no need for further criminal penalties for copyright infringement," Meredith Rose, senior policy counsel, said in a statement.
"However, this bill is tightly tailored and prevents users from being criminalized for simply clicking a link or uploading a file. Nor does it criminalize streamers who may include unlicensed works in their streams."
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