Two major film unions are urging the US government to criminalize it streaming. Two of the largest film unions describe streaming as today's preferred viewing experience and argue that all those involved are infringing copyright and should face prison terms.
Please note that under US law, streaming and file sharing are considered as two different offenses. Not only from a technical point of view, but also from a criminal standpoint.
The streaming is classified as public display, rather than distribution, and is treated as a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Lawmakers have already tried to change that with the Commercial Felony Streaming Act 2011, according to TorrentFreak, but also with the upcoming SOPA and PIPA bills.
Recall that the bills were shelved after public outcry, as many feared that even uploading a copyrighted video από το YouTube θα μπορούσε ενδεχομένως να τους στείλει φυλακή.
So the confusion between streaming and traditional file sharing still remains today, and it seems as if big film companies will try to put it on the political agenda very soon.
This week Managers and Guild of America, Inc. (DGA) and the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees (IATSE) responded to a public consultation conducted by the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), where Daniel Marti asked them to comment on the new Intellectual Property Plan.
"Our members have clearly been affected by copyright infringement and digital theft," the unions said.
"Digital theft erodes the ability of those involved to earn a living and support their families, drains the vitality of their pensions and healththem."
Traditionally much more emphasis was placed on piracy via P2P file-sharing, and soon after streaming. The problem, according to the unions, is that the law still sees it as smaller offense.
"While the illegal uploading of our members' works remains the best known method of stealing on the Internet, illegal streaming has actually become the preferred audio and video experience on the Internet," they say.
"Unfortunately, the law has not kept pace with these new consumer habits. While the illegal downloading and distribution is a felony, the illegal, intentional, and commercial streaming of movies, television programs, and music remains a misdemeanor.”
"We believe that the law should reflect the reality of the digital world. Quite simply, streaming is a criminal offense and has not been criminalized. "