(Apologies if someone already made a topic about this, since it is about 2 months old).
The administration is interested in re-introducing aspects of the failed SOPA bill. The Department of Commerce issued an Internet Policy Task Force report in July to Congress, encouraging them to modify the current Copyright Act to factor in the increasing prevalence of streaming as a means of viewing copyrighted content. The proposals include making it a felony to reproduce or distribute at least 10 or more views with a total retail value of at least $2,500 (of the infringed copyrighted content).Links:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/unauthorized-streaming-felony_n_3720479.htmlhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/05/sopa-died-in-2012-but-obama-administration-wants-to-revive-part-of-it/Report itself:
(long and wordy)http://www.uspto.gov/news/publications/copyrightgreenpaper.pdf
Currently, this is considered a misdemeanor, and punishable by a fine or, rarely, a short stint in jail. However, by making it a felony, someone could effectively face years of jail time for such an offense. The report states that many users are using streaming as an alternative to access copyrighted content, and thus, they want to make streaming fall under the category of "public performance" of copyrighted material - the kind of crime that courts can punish with years of prison time.
Personally, I find this to be a very dangerous proposal, since it effectively permits the government to target individuals at will, if they utilize even a shred of copyrighted content. For example, if someone else were making a similar thread on this topic, and linked to a YouTube video showing coverage on this issue, the government could come after that individual with felony charges if they wanted. Obviously it would be impossible for the government to crack down on ALL instances of this, which only raises the question of whom they may choose to target. Perhaps more importantly, if someone creates a video providing a very eye-opening, educational, but harshly critical commentary about the government, which just so happens to feature a small clip of a commercial or even just a McDonald's logo on a guy's shirt, the government would be entirely within their legal right to imprison that individual.
I consider this recommendation to be a severe breach of our rights, and it is a shame this isn't receiving as much media coverage as the 2011 initiative.