Revive SOPA: Obama Administration Wants To Criminalize Streaming Content

Revive SOPA, or at least a part of it.

That’s the message the Obama Administration is sending with a recent move to criminalize the streaming of content, according to an August 5 article from the Washington Post.

The news site’s Andrea Peterson based her article on the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force’s call to move streaming content from misdemeanor standing to felony as with those who reproduce and distribute copyrighted material.

The full report was issued from the agency last week.

Cameron F. Kerry, the group’s general counsel, and co-authors Teresa Stanek Rea and Lawrence E. Strickling wrote that “there cannot be meaningful protection [of copyrighted works] without enforcement of rights.”

The report continued: “There is no single solution to the problems of online infringement. Rather, it takes a combination of approaches, including not only legal mechanisms, but also technology, public education, and collaborative efforts among stakeholders.”

Of course, this effort to revive SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, would likely make criminals out of YouTubers, such as Justin Bieber, who rose to prominence doing covers of other artists’ work.

Bieber hated this legislation — known officially as section 201 of SOPA, “Streaming of copyrighted works in violation of criminal law” — the first time around, stating Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) should be “locked up — put away in cuffs” for even recommending it.

He also said it was “awesome” when he saw fans covering his material on YouTube.

While it may seem odd quoting the Biebs on a news story relating to possible legislation, this does bring up a good point. What about artists like him and Louis C.K., who use unorthodox ways of spreading the word about their content?

Would fans of these artists be criminalized against the rights holder’s will? That’s yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain.

The federal government and Hollywood aren’t above taking off the gloves when it comes to protecting content copyright. In May, US attorneys representing the entertainment industry called for the legalization of various forms of malware that would allow them to root into user computers, search for illegally obtained content, and, if found, lock individuals out of their own computers.

Here’s a refresher on what SOPA was:

So do you agree with the Obama Administration on the move to revive SOPA, or is this an example of the White House playing fast and loose with privacy laws?

[Image via ShutterStock]