Big media companies and the Obama Administration have been asking Congress to change the copyright laws so that people who stream copyrighted content on the internet, whether intentionally or not, can be put in jail or charged massive fines.
The bill in question is S.978, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D, MN], to “amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.” Specifically, it would raise illegal streaming from a misdemeanor to a felony by changing its legal status as a “public performance” to the same level as a “reproduction” or “distribution.” That would seem to mean that someone who unknowingly embeds a YouTube video on their site that contains material that is determined to be protected by a copyright could potentially face the same penalty as someone who runs a large-scale DVD bootlegging operation.
And thus begins the remix/rehash culture versus the corporate copyright fiefdoms. Or, as I see it, an incredibly good case for encouraging the use of Creative Commons for all sorts of mediums. For the artists and authors who want their fans to use and play with their creations, this law does everything opposite to it.
While I can understand and respect the right of creator to profit from their labors, it cannot be at the expense of fair use and its accepted derivatives.
(h/t: Alaskan Librarian)