If this legislation (S.978) passes through the U.S. Senate, House, and subsequently signed by the President – who wants it to pass, that YouTube video of yours with more than 10 views in the last 180 days will suddenly put you at serious risk of a prison term of five years. You could be wearing a random T-shirt from your closet with a logo on it while doing a game review or share a gameplay video so other people can see if they want to buy the game. Or, my personal favorite, posting speed runs of video games. It doesn’t matter – ANY material under copyright (which is basically anything) that is streamed over the Internet and watched by more than 10 people in 180 days makes you/me/whoever liable for criminal prosecution or an insane fine of thousands of dollars.
Throw children in the mix and you’ve got disaster in the making. That innocuous cat video could land you in prison too. Showing your friends gathered around a display someone else’s video could be construed as constituting a “performance”. EVERYONE is at risk.
The Entertainment Consumers Association has a nice little form letter on their website you can use to send your scathing reply to this abomination of a proposed law to Senator John McCain and Senator Jon Kyl.
S.978 is one of those bills that seems to be quietly passing without much press. Let’s make this into a massive uproar of disapproval. Send a big fat NO to Congress!