COVID stimulus bill cracks down on illegal streaming

Payton Zagacki, Staffer

The most recent COVID-19 stimulus bill aims to make illegal streaming of movies, TV shows and music a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

The bill targets companies that make money off of illegal streaming.Congress specifically  avoids criminalizing users of these streaming platforms, including casual internet surfers and individuals who upload onto platforms such as YouTube. This was originally reported wrong by “The Hollywood Reporter” who stated that this bill would apply to those who post parts of pirated movies, TV shows and music causing some panic in the YouTube community.

The office of Senator ThomTillis put out a statement saying, “The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act will apply only to commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services. The law will not sweep in normal practices by online service providers, good faith business disputes, noncommercial activities, or in any way impact individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Individuals who might use pirate streaming services will not be affected.”

It is estimated that illegal streaming costs the United States economy nearly $30 billion a year. The money the economy might save by making illegal streaming a felony goes towards the new $900 billion stimulus bill.