Senate Judiciary Committee OKs another anti-piracy bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee has signed off on a bill that would criminalize websites that profit by streaming bootleg movies to consumers.
The committee approved legislation, expected to be taken up by the full Senate later this year, that would make it a felony offense for operators of websites to profit from delivering pirated movies to consumers via online streaming.
Current anti-piracy laws, which were developed in the 1990s, target the downloading of movies from so-called peer-to-peer sites but do not address the growing problem of online streaming of pirated content. That has made it difficult for prosecutors to obtain criminal convictions against operators of such sites.
The Commercial Felony Streaming Act is intended to address that. The bill follows a similar anti-piracy measure, the Protect IP Act, approved by the committee three weeks ago that gives the Justice Department more tools to crack down on rogue websites engaged in theft of intellectual property.
An entertainment industry coalition representing theaters, studios, producers and various Hollywood unions applauded the legislation.
"Stealing is stealing, regardless of the means in which the product is received,'' said Jean Prewitt, president of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. "This legislation is a critical step forward in the piracy fight and we commend the Committee for their support."
-- Richard Verrier