Back in May 2011, AFTRA and other labor unions proudly announced their desire to make using copyrighted material without permission a Federal felony with a 5 year prison term. That proposal is Senate 978, which has been reported out of committee and is waiting to be placed on the Senate’s calendar.
This bill was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a first term Senator from Minnesota.
Amy has an interesting list of major contributors
Dorsey & Whitneyis a well connected law firm closely aligned to the Democratic Labor Party – former VP Walter Mondale is from the firm. In September, the Minnesota Attorney General terminated the state’s contract with the firm, citing the firms conflict of interest during the State Shutdown.
Other contributions undoubtedly because she has a Judiciary Committee assignment include money from Time Warner and Disney, as well as law firms involved in Intellectual Property lawsuits (one of which filed the patent infringement case against Microsoft because Windows Media Player could automatically start playing without having to press the Play button)….
Being risk averse, I stay as far away as I can from infringing copyrights – all this web site does is launches the same player that it would if you visited a station’s own web site, as well as providing a link to the station web site if you prefer to launch the player there. Any station that wishes to not be listed or link only to the station’s website will quickly be accommodated. I don’t circumvent registration requirements (almost no stations do that any more), subscription fees or advertisements.
One of the considerations of whether an infringement has occurred is if the infringer has a financial motivation for infringing – that they are selling advertising or otherwise benefiting their own interests by infringing on the copyrighted material. You will note there is not now nor has there ever been a single advertisement on this site, nor a request for donations. I’ve refused requests for companies that want to “partner” with me for profit.
Taken to its extreme, people have suggested that if someone with a Youtube channel that derives an income from it (Shaytards come to mind) posted a video of their children having a birthday party and singing “Happy Birthday”, this law could send them to jail for 5 years.
The EFF discussion mentions this provision was requested by a task force headed by Victoria Espinel, one of the many “czars” within the Obama Administration.
Ms. Espinel has worked for about 10 years, mostly on the issue of global protection of Intellectual Property. Her education is a BS from Georgetown University’s school of Foreign Service (training ground for future US State Department employees), a law degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from the London School of Economics.