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The new COVID-19 stimulus bill sneaks in felony charges and jail time for illegal streaming

Also, creates a small claims court for copyright issues.

the capital building where stimulus bill passed included streaming rules
Image: Unsplash

As you know, the new stimulus bill passed this week, but if you thought the bill only pertained to US COVID-19 relief, you’d be mistaken.

You see, people try to stuff in a bunch of new laws into these things in an effort to sneak something in. It’s a stupid system, but here we are. One of the things stuffed into the stimulus bill pertained to illegal streaming.

Not on the individual’s end, but it looks to target companies that profit off the act. The change would take it from a misdemeanor to a felony, which can lead to 10 years in jail.

“The shift toward streaming content online has resulted in criminal streaming services illegally distributing copyrighted material that costs the U.S. economy nearly $30 billion every year, and discourages the production of creative content that Americans enjoy,” says Thorn Thillis, one of the senators behind the proposal.

In addition to the for-profit streaming proposal, the bill includes the CASE Act, which could have drastic implications for copyright claims in the future. This proposal would create a new Copyright Claims Board. It would be part of the U.S. Copyright Office and basically act like a small claims court for copyright issues.

The new system looks to address the ever-growing issue of copyright infringement on the internet. In theory, this isn’t a terrible idea, but as the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, it’s yet another system that will be abused by those with money towards those without the time, money, and resources to fight claims against them.

That said, with Donald Trump calling the $600 given to Americans “a disgrace,” while hinting that he would not sign the stimulus bill, things could be delayed or changed.

What do you think? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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