Congress rescues television services in coronavirus stimulus package

The US congress’s new coronavirus stimulus bill is more than 5,000 pages long. Within the labyrinth of legalese is a new law that levies heavy penalties against those who pirate content during this time of unprecedented upheaval and economic stress.

Those pirating content could end up with a 10 year prison sentence. However, the law generally doesn’t apply to individuals who use occasionally use underground streaming services or who unknowingly stream unauthorized content.

The law targets organized groups (organized criminals) who deliberately pirate content and make money off of it. According to US Senator Thom Tillis, large-scale organized pirating costs the US economy nearly $30 billion annually.

Online streaming Image courtesy of ABC 10

Did this online streaming legislation receive bipartisan support?

Yes. The bill is also backed by a consumer advocacy group called Public Knowledge and the National Association of Broadcasters.

Illegal pirating and the US Department of Justice

In 2019, the US Department of Justice filed charges against two US citizens on account of illegally pirating thousands of hours of television shows. At least one of the two individuals made more than a million dollars from this endeavor. It is expected that this powerful new law protecting against serious unlawful streaming will be signed in conjunction with the stimulus legislation this week.

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