As MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bill to amend U.S. copyright law to make it a felony to stream copyrighted material online heads for a vote on the Senate floor, more attention is being paid. The nonprofit government transparency group MapLight notes that backers of the measure — which includes the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, NBC and CBS, among others — have given more than $85 million to sitting senators in the last six years. And the progressive group Demand Progress is challenging Klobuchar’s assertion that the bill will only target “criminals” hoping to make big money from copyright infringement.
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A bill introduced last month by Sen. Amy Klobuchar could make it a felony criminal act to stream copyrighted “performances” online without permission. The bill — “To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes,” or S. 978 — assigns a maximum 5-year prison term for those convicted of streaming “10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works” and in cases where the “total retail value” of those performances to its owner exceeds $2,500 or the value of licensing of the works exceeds $5,000.