Illegal Streaming Could Be A Felony Offense Thanks To The COVID-19 Relief Bill

Nine months after the first pandemic lockdowns began across the US, Congress is finally voting on a second relief bill. Most of the negative attention has gone towards the modest $600 stimulus checks, which got Nancy Pelosi slammed online after she called it “significant.” But because the bill is thousands of pages, there are some peculiar clauses politicians that people didn’t catch on first glance. One provision includes a statement on the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation process and another addresses the punishment for illegal music streaming.

The “Felony Streaming” provision was first presented by Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. According to Consequence Of Sound, Tillis’ proposal suggested to increase the penalty for those found guilty of streaming unlicensed works, whether it be music, television, or film, making it possible for them to face up to ten years in federal prison.

Along with making illegal streaming a felony offense, the bill would help those looking to file copyright infringement claims. Rather than forcing copyright holders to go through the costly process of taking an infringement claim through federal court, the proposed system would make it possible for them to settle cases in a more streamlined manner.

Tillis isn’t the first senator to propose harsher action against illegal streamers. Nearly a decade ago, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who ran for president this year, made a similar proposal similar. That one did not pass, as people were concerned that the increased restrictions may end up sending Justin Bieber to jail.