Illegal Internet Streaming of Copyrighted Content: Legislation in the 112th Congress [August 29, 2011] [open pdf - 246KB]
"Technological developments related to the Internet benefit consumers who want convenient ways to view and hear information and entertainment content on a variety of electronic devices (such as televisions, radios, computers, mobile phones, video game consoles, and portable media players). New technologies offer the potential to help copyright holders promote their creative works for artistic, educational, and commercial reasons. However, new technologies may increase the risk of infringement of the copyright holders' rights because they often provide faster, cheaper, and easier means of engaging in unauthorized reproduction, distribution, and public performance of copyrighted works than previous technologies. The widespread consumer use of high-speed Internet connections as well as increased reliance on data storage offered by 'cloud computing' services may also contribute to infringement problems. […] Following this recommendation, S. 978 was introduced in the 112th Congress. Commonly referred to as the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, S. 978 would authorize a maximum five-year prison sentence for those who, without authorization, willfully stream commercially valuable copyrighted material for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain. It also expands the current felony offense of unauthorized distribution of a pre-release commercial copyrighted work to include 'public performance' of such work as an additional basis for prosecution. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on June 16, 2011, by voice vote, and Senator Leahy reported the bill on June 20 without amendment."
CRS Report for Congress, R41975