Like some kind of anti-piracy zombie, a piece of the previously slain Stop Online Piracy Act — or SOPA — has risen from the grave it was shoved into in 2012 to once more shamble about creating trouble. Instead of gnawing on people’s limbs, however, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Police Task Force wants a little bit of it to simply live on and make streaming copyright works a felony.
The task force endorsed that piece of SOPA in the report on digital copyright policy, which some experts argued in the past would criminalize cover songs and the like on YouTube.
The Commerce Department report recommends “[a]dopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution,” adding that “[s]ince the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online.”
“But wait!” you are thinking, as someone who at least once in your life has clicked on YouTube link of a dog singing a popular song or similar fare. “I like watching cover songs sung by pets on the Internet!”
Yep, that kind of thing would likely be considered a violation of the public performance right, punishable with felony charges instead of as a misdemeanor as it is now, reports the Washington Post. That means no reproducing or distributing copyrighted material, even if you are a very talented parakeet or a twee little Adele wannabe.
Even Justin Bieber spoke out in the past about a similar stand-alone piece of legislation. He thinks it’s “awesome” that fans cover his songs, and said that the senator who proposed the bill, Amy Klobuchar, should be “locked up — put away in cuffs.” So now we know how Bieber feels about it.
SOPA died in 2012, but Obama administration wants to revive part of it [Washington Post]