Friday, June 3, 2011

REGULATE: Embedding YOUTUBE Videos May Soon Be a Felony...

Techdirt reports that Senate bill 978 – a bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes – may be used to prosecute people for embedding YouTube videos.

According to Mark Masnick, if a website embeds a YouTube video that is determined to have infringed on copyright and more than 10 people view it on that website, the owner or others associated with the website could face up to five years in prison.

Read Masnick's article here. He explains how the new law would expand copyright violations from reproducing and distributing to performing – including streaming video over the internet.

As readers of know, many videos are removed from YouTube after copyright owners complain about infringement. This happens with thousands of news clips every year. Most people are familiar with the now common black box replacing a video that says the video has been removed for copyright reasons.

If enacted, this law will go one step further and turn people who embed a copyrighted video into criminals. It will also set the stage to criminalize linking to copyrighted information — like corporate media news sources — and shut down the alternative media.

It will also make people think twice about putting up all kinds of videos, from news reports to clips from documentaries and other educational material.

It does not take a vivid imagination to realize the political implications of this legislation.

Here is the full text of the bill.