Monday, 20 June 2011

Embed a YouTube video? Get ready for felony charges

In the past, it wouldn't have been a big deal, but now the British government operate a policy of handing over anyone the US authorities, or more exactly the criminal scum who have seized control of the US authorities, desire, maybe I'll end up visiting the USA after all.

I'm referring to this story from Tech Dirt (hat tip: Max Keiser):
Senators Unconcerned About Massive Unintended Consequences Of Criminalizing People For Embedding YouTube Videos
This is really no surprise, but the same Senate Judiciary Committee that unanimously approved the PROTECT IP Act, despite worries from internet experts and major media about how it would break the internet, has now also unanimously approved the anti-internet streaming bill that makes it a felony to stream certain videos online -- potentially putting people in jail for embedding YouTube videos or just putting up YouTube lip synching videos.
What's really troubling here is that the media and plenty of concerned citizens have directly raised the issues about the unintended consequences of this law. And while Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn and Christopher Coons continue to insist that (of course) the law is not intended to be used against such people, they have made no move to fix the bill. Even supporters of this bill, who insisted that we were wrong about what the bill allowed, eventually conceded that our argument was accurate and that this bill could be used to put people in jail for embedding a YouTube video or doing a lip synch video.

And that's a huge, huge problem. Of course, no one thinks the bill is for that purpose directly or that it's going to be widely used for such purposes. However, the bill, as written, clearly allows law enforcement to charge people with a felony for that, assuming it meets a few other conditions. But those conditions are pretty minimal (ads on your page? you're in trouble...). The risk here of abuse is a serious risk, and it's incredibly troubling that Klobuchar, Cornyn and Coons failed to change or adapt the bill, and worse that the rest of the Senate Judiciary Committee allowed the bill to move forward in such a broken state. They were clearly made aware of problems with the bill, but directly chose not to make any changes. How do you explain that other than incompetence or corruption?
As Max says:
The MPAA and RIAA – the lobbying groups responsible for rewriting the Constitution to the detriment of artists and citizens – has erred on the side of extremism. Today, we are told that extremist ideologues plague our existence, and yet nothing is being done about the most extreme ideologues of all, the copyright cartel monopolists in the movie and music business.


Dick Puddlecote said...

I read something about this a few days ago elsewhere which made an argument that you could, possibly, even be committing on offence just by linking to one of these videos!

Laws will cease to be relevant soon - there'll be so many of them it will be impossible to not break one. We'll all be criminals.

Trooper Thompson said...

There's a guy being trussed up for extradition to the US right now for doing just that, and of course no need to show any evidence and immaterial that the supposed offence took place 3000 miles from the USA.

Marc Sheffner said...

Laws will cease to be relevant soon - there'll be so many of them it will be impossible to not break one. We'll all be criminals.

You're using the wrong tense.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Marc: I stand corrected.

TomTom said...

If you want to see an analogue look at RICO designed to take on the Mafia this Act has been used for everything but...