This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Streaming Film Illegally May Soon Be a Felony

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The federal government has taken the war against digital piracy to the next level by cracking down on websites that stream copyrighted videos without permission.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would amend existing copyright law to make it a felony punishable by jail time for a website to stream (or broadcast) movies without permission.

A Senate moves means streaming movies illegally could soon be as much of a crime as downloading them.

Until now, it has been considered a felony to illegally reproduce or distribute copyrighted works by downloading them, but streaming has been classified as a "performance" rather than distribution and has therefore been exempt from this rule.

The bill, which must still be approved by the full Senate, would change the standard to include those websites that make a business out of streaming video. If a website streams 10 or more videos in a six-month period, and if the value of the broadcast is worth more than $2,500 and the value of the copyright licenses are worth more than $5,000, the owners would be subject to as much as five years in jail.

"Make no mistake: The illegal streaming of content for commercial or financial gain is a crime, and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act places the appropriate criminal label on the activity," the Screen Actors Guild said in a statement in conjunction with the American Federation of Musicians and several other entertainment groups after the bill was approved. "This legislation is an important step forward in our efforts to stem the rising tide of Internet theft that threatens our members' very livelihoods."

Illegal downloading has been on the decline, but as has been reported, much of this can be attributed to the rise of streaming services -- many of them legal -- such as Netflix and Pandora that allow users to get much of the same entertainment for free or through a small subscription fee.

In recent months, legislators have become more aggressive in trying to police the streaming market and choke off what may be one of the last strongholds for digital piracy. The Obama administration released a lengthy wish list of intellectual property regulations in March, which included a recommendation to make streaming copyrighted videos a felony.

While supporters of the measure emphasize its potential impact on websites that stream movies for commercial gain, if the bill is passed, ordinary consumers who play the movies at home could also be at risk.

At the very least, this measure will likely provide a boost in demand for the already growing number of sites that stream videos and movies legally.

>To submit a news tip, email:


Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs