An article on the Washington Post reports that the Department of Commerce’s internet division has published a document that wants to revive part of the legislation that was wiped away last year. The document recommends that section 201, the streaming of copyrighted material should be a felony.
To put this in context, this means that anyone posted a cover of a copyrighted song on Youtube would face felony charges.
This would mean that someone like Justin Bieber, who achieved fame with covering copyrighted songs, would have been a made a criminal by this very legislation.
Apparently the reasoning is that since streaming has become to easy to do with the amount of audio and video sharing online, protecting copyright owners is very important. Not to mention there are many paid streaming services out there that are legal, for example Netflix, so consumers should just use that.
It’s yet another attempt by the music and film industries to try and criminalise behavior that doesn’t really affect them, and probably actually helps them. The number of times I’ve personally listened to songs on Youtube and then bought them from iTunes is a lot, it’s a great marketing mechanism for these industries. They don’t seem to realise that the world is changing, business always changes, and if you don’t adapt, you will eventually die. And of course it yet again shows how the US government is influenced by big old industries.
Bieber himself spoke out against the bill, saying he personally thinks it is “awesome” when he sees fans uploading their own covers of his songs.