Video Streaming As Illegal As Pirated P2P Downloads?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 in the US, which is mirrored by Australian Copyright law because of trade agreements, gives copyright infringement leeway to streaming sites like YouTube as long as they promise to take down infringing content.
Users may not be given that same leniency.
The US Senate is proposing legislation, dubbed the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, which would effectively raise the stakes for anyone caught streaming copyrighted material without permission.
The new laws would ban illegal streaming for commercial purposes (for instance, condemning websites that make money from hosting videos illegally), with violators facing up to five years in prison if caught more than ten times in half a year.
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) honed its eye on streaming earlier this year as a big loss for their industry and as a potential legal means of gaining back some revenue.
The MPAA, essentially the US version of AFACT, launched a lawsuit against a DVD-rental company called Zediva that was bypassing its strict copyright rules regarding online streaming.
While the film industry enforces physical DVD before streaming content is available to push up DVD sales, this company would allow users to rent videos online, almost like an ordinary streaming service, which would play on a physical DVD player at their data hub.
“Zediva claims it is like a brick-and-mortar DVD ‘rental’ store and therefore not obligated to pay licensing fees to copyright holders. But the DVD ‘rental’ label is a sham. In reality, Zediva is a video-on-demand service that transmits movies over the Internet using streaming technologies in violation of the studios’ copyrights,” said the MPAA.