Publishers in the US have welcomed a new law passed by Congress giving the Department of Justice (DoJ) power to go after criminal streaming services.
The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act was passed after being tacked on to a Covid-19 relief bill and was expected to be signed off by President Donald Trump. However, its immediate future was cast into doubt overnight after Trump refused to sign off the coronavirus package, saying it was full of "wasteful" items.
Under the act, the DoJ is given authority to pursue illicit commercial services that stream copyrighted content and could see illegal streaming punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Maria A Pallante, president of the Association of American Publishers, said the act closed a “streaming loophole” in current US law.
She said: “Piracy is a perpetual challenge that affects every kind of creative work: it does not happen by accident and it inflicts serious economic harm on the legitimate interests of copyright owners and lawful markets for creative works.
“We applaud this major modernising amendment, which gives prosecutors the tools and discretion that are necessary to combat streaming piracy in the digital age, including bringing felony charges when felony charges are appropriate, much as they are able to do when pursuing large-scale, illegal reproduction and distribution under the law. As many have concluded, this narrowly crafted bill is a common sense measure that goes a long way toward protecting the valuable, vibrant, and ever-evolving copyright economy.”