COVID-19 Stimulus Package Has Shockingly Severe Penalty for Illegal Streaming

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The COVID-19 stimulus bill is not getting good reviews to say the least.

President Trump has called it a “disgrace” and Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii called its $600 payouts to struggling Americans a “slap in the face.”

The bill, which is over 5,000 pages of legal-talk mumbo jumbo that was forced on Congress at the last minute and full of lobbyist garbage, also has some shocking laws hidden in it that could penalize ordinary Americans in various ways.

One of them is a crackdown on illegal streaming.

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Jail Time for Illegal Streaming?

If you’re a streamer who uses copyrighted material you could be facing up to ten years behind bars, according to the law which is nestled in the massively long stimulus bill.

The law is called the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act. While it sounds like something about going to the bathroom, the bill was drafted by Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina earlier in December.

It won’t be targeted at people who unintentionally stream copyrighted content a few times or access a pirated stream, Thillis says, but is supposed to punish businesses who make their profits from “streaming piracy” of copyrighted shows and material.

According to Thillis, streaming pirates cost the American economy about $30 billion per year.

‘Criminal Organizations are Punished’

According to Thillis, regular streamers can relax, since the legislation will only hit big streamers who make money. But if you are a business who makes money streaming material that’s under copyright you could face up to ten years and have severe fines.

“This commonsense legislation was drafted with the input of creators, user groups, and technology companies and is narrowly targeted so that only criminal organizations are punished,” Thillis wrote, adding that “no individual streamer has to worry about the fear of prosecution.”

The bill is backed by a number of groups including a consumer advocacy group called Public Knowledge. They say that normal streamers don’t have to worry since the bill only goes after streaming businesses who make a lot of money from using content that isn’t theirs.

The National Association of Broadcasters also stated strong support for the law.

Charging Streaming Pirates

Going after streaming pirates is a growing focus of law enforcement. Last year the Department of Justice filed charges against two individuals who took thousands of hours of shows and movies from paid platforms Hulu and Netflix and posted them on two websites that users had to pay a fee to sign up for.

One of the men said he made over $1 million from doing this business.

What Happens Next?

President Trump recently came out against the stimulus bill for paying out too small an amount to Americans and being full of pork barrel garbage spending on completely irrelevant things that don’t help working families. He also criticized how long and complex the bill is and how that doesn’t give any lawmakers time to read through it all to actually check the details of what they’re potentially putting into law.

However, if Trump’s threatened veto of the COVID stimulus bill is overturned and it does become law along with this piracy streaming crackdown there are serious questions about priorities.

At a time when progressive states like California are giving lockdown exceptions to Hollywood and big movie and TV show studios is streaming piracy really the biggest thing we have to worry about in this country?

Are you really concerned about cracking down on some lowlife making money off pirated Netflix shows in his mom’s basement when we’re in the middle of a national pandemic and law enforcement has much more serious things to worry about such as illegal immigration, drugs, gang violence and sexual assault?

If Congressional approval ratings could get any lower they would go below zero.