back to article Make streaming a felony: Obama

The US government is proposing that "infringement by streaming" be made into a felony. That is one of a number of proposals contained in a white paper published (PDF/917KB) by the White House. The proposals also include allowing the Department of Homeland Security (that's right, intellectual property offences are now, …


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  1. Andrew Jones 2

    re: iPlayer etc?

    I wonder if this will be extended so that people gaining unauthorised access to streaming networks will be said to be breaking the law too?

    eg - tricking iPlayer into believing you are in the UK when you are not - and tricking Hulu to believe that you are in the states - when you are not.

    Also - I am thoroughly enjoying watching Ghost Whisperer on <a_streaming_site> since Sky removed Channel One from freeview - it is now the only place I can get it.

    and I enjoy watching Brothers and Sisters on <a_streaming_site> about 25 minutes after it has aired in the states - with some 78 links available to watch it on - and no hope in hell of Channel 4 actually running it.

    1. The BigYin


      You just prove the point at how ridiculous this is. Applying geographic territories to a network that doesn't give two damns about geography is an exercise in futility. If using a VPN or similar, then you *ARE* at that end point.

      I too have used "illegal" source from time to time, often because I cannot find the media on the legitimate source (due to bad UI) or the legit source is such terrible quality.

      Only two models work; 100% ad supported, 100% subscription supported (third-way being a mixture of both). That's it, nothing else will work. You know that, I know that but it does not fit the existing business model of Big Media, and rather than change that model they would rather change the world.

      Their attempts are just seen to the Internet as a blockage, and we all know what the Internet does to blockages, don't we boys and girls?

      Footnote: There is a fourth way, and it has been tried before with various degrees of success. Get the viewers t fund the show directly. At the moment the amounts are small, but this could be away for people to get what they want direct from the creators with some media exec snorting most of the profits up their nose.

      1. Miek



        I too have used "illegal" source from time to time, often because I cannot find the media on the legitimate source (due to bad UI) or the legit source is such terrible quality.


        I'm totally with you on that one, personally I am a fan of Malcolm in the Middle which has never been released for home use (except for a NTSC DVD of series 1). Even though I am prepared to pay for DVDs of this title, I cannot and have had to download copies from the internets in order to watch them.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Let's cut to the chase

    The simple answer is to give The Vote to companies, as well as (or instead of) individuals. Let's set the stakes at one vote in any election for every employee. That way the politicians can at last "come out" and start publicly courting the corporate agenda - instead of having to do it illegitimately through bribes (sorry, I meant: campaign donations), bribes (ooops: charitable works), bribes (err, that should read: a seat on the board) and corruption (dammit: ... nope, that would just be straight corruption).

    At least that way, we could see who we, ordinary people, were really up against in an election. I'm sure that if all agendas were out in the open, the traditional right-vs-left of personal politics would get kicked out of sight, when we saw where the real threats to our freedoms were.

    1. Demosthenese

      Like the City of London

      Precisely the situation at the heart of our 'democracy'.

  3. The Alpha Klutz

    what a streaming pile

    that is all

  4. Arctic fox

    The authorities tried to do the same with........

    .........printing when it was invented (in Europe at any rate) in the mid-fifteenth and of course we all know how successful that was do we not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but

      they had significantly lower number of ways of mass invigilation at that time.

  5. Cameron Colley

    Well, Obama's certainly nailed his colours to the mast.

    I can't believe that the Nobel Peace prize was given to this imperialistic corporation-owned liar.

    I had hoped that his election would make the US a place I would consider visiting again -- seems not.

    All I can say to our American chums is sorry and I hope that you have a democratic* government again one day.

    *small 'd'

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      You better believe it ....

      He hasn't fixed a *single* problem from the Bush era, just made things progressively worse. He's a progressive, after all.

      In other news:

      "Suprise! You can’t stop the flow of media piracy with every-more-draconian measures. This stunning conclusion was recently published last week by the Social Science Research Council, as a report called “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies”. The study focused on emerging economies, where media piracy is rampant, like Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia. The report argues that efforts to enforce copyright law have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets. Of course, without the state-granted monopoly on copyright, the media commodities being traded on the black market would quickly find the price the market is willing to pay."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      RE: Well, Obama's certainly nailed his colours to the mast.

      We(in the USA) are supposed to have a republician form of government not a democratic form.... there is a difference.

      1. despairing citizen
        Big Brother

        Re: Republican form of Government

        Which is usually sold to the highest bider

        Guess we now know where the $1Bn (USD) for the relection campaign is coming from!

        For further details see how the US politicians blocked recomended improvements to airport security measures being introduced prior to 9/11, because the airline whined to their bought and paid for sentators and congressmen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh please

        The USA is supposedly a liberal representative democracy, as well as being a republic. The GP was hinting that US is actually an oligarchy controlled by corporations.

  6. Nigel Whitfield.


    Just as worrying is the little note at the end about the Trans-Pacific agreement; such agreements, including some under the auspices of the WTO, often contain some rules and regulations that seem deeply at odds with fairness to the consumer, or any pesky environmental and safety rules that might get in the way of big business.

    Politicians often seem far to ready to impose these potentially binding agreements on countries, with little public discussion. While people in the UK rail against the various failings of the EU, it is at least a somewhat more democratically grounded institution than organisations like the WTO, which plenty of free market fans seem quite happy to support.

  7. Avatar of They

    Not shocked.

    Qi explained that the only way America can compete with cheap imports from Mexico is by having large parts of their manufacturing done by prisoners who can be paid around 1.50 an hour.

    They make something like 36% of washing machines and nearly all licence plates, armoured vests etc.

    Perhaps they need to boost their workforce by arresting anyone they can. Afterall the three strikes and your out if it is a felaney applies.

    The US really are retarded.

    1. me n u
      Paris Hilton


      @Avatar: U REALLY knead to git a edukashun! reterd

      Paris-cause even she can spill and form sintinses bitter.

  8. MonkeyBot

    Distribution vs Performance

    I'd have though that argument was cut and dried. If I stream a TV show, I don't have anything at the end of it - no file, no disc etc - so what has been distributed?

    If streaming is distributing, then so is every TV and radio station broadcast.

  9. Chad H.

    I get it

    Not only do the MegaCorps not want to pay tax and want to be bailed out each time they make a mistake, now they want the government to do the job of in-house council.

    I'd get my coat, but the Megacorp was feeling a bit cold so it repossessed it.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it's just the higly compressed streams that are the problem, 'cos

    "Anything less than the best is a felony".

    Yo VIP let's kick it, etc. etc., so on and so forth, yours faithfully,

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Land of the fr...move along, nothing to see here

    You know things are bad when you look at a place like Afghanistan and think "you know what, compered to the bull shit that's going on in England and America, at least they are honest with them instead of the "Hey this is best for all of you and not at all because my mates who own <insert record label> are doing badly" and by badly I mean they've had to not buy their 6th, 100 billion £ yaught they where hoping for this year

  12. fLaMePrOoF

    The title is required, and must contain stuff...

    So, Obama has turned out to be just anothert facist wanker who would ligislate against thought crimes if he could.

    Roll on the fall of our current 'civilisation'

  13. Cerberus666
    Black Helicopters

    Pack your bags BBC

    So, the directors of the BBC had better watch out. The iplayer tech will be breaking a US law and allowing copyrighted material across their borders, and so expect men in suits to appear and escort them across a US border for arrest.

    What? They don't do such things...?

  14. Anonymous Coward


    He would never have been allowed to get on the ticket if he had no already been bought and paid for.

    BTW, isn't digital TV "streaming" ?

  15. Daniel B.


    At least the COICA crap bill came out from a couple of very dumb representatives. This turd is coming out of the White House!

    I live in a country where selling pirated stuff now means that the Policia Federal will crack down with assaut rifles upon you and basically treat you as a terrorist. Looks like the US is following our Third-World methods...

  16. Herby


    Look, it is very simple. When they get spam cleaned up, then they can go after the other stuff. Spam costs REAL money (bandwidth, human resources, etc...).

    First things first!!

  17. asdf

    Jimmy Obama Carter

    has one term written all over him. Dumb and dumber describes our political partys. At some point the sheeple will wake up and realize a dozen people owning %99 of the wealth of a country is not smart. We had the same problem under the robber baron trusts (Getty, Carnegie, etc) a century ago. Where is Teddy Roosevelt to bust up the current trusts?

  18. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Team America

    Why did the Team America Theme song play in my head when I read that article?

    Trademark (F*** Yeah..)

    Copyright (F*** Yeah..)

    DMCA (F*** Yeah..)

    Wiretaps (F*** Yeah..)

    FBI (F*** Yeah..)

    Guantanamo (F*** Yeah..)

    Streamers your game is through cause now you have to answer too,

    America, F*** Yeah

  19. E 2
    Thumb Down

    I really would like to comment

    ...but perhaps some corp site has already said what I want to say. In that case I'd be liable for some form of theft.

    Better to stay silent.

  20. Martin Usher

    I'm rapidly becoming an ex-Obama supporter

    Its not that I've suddenly discovered the camaraderie of the local Tea Party but I'm getting about as fed up with Bush-lite as you lot must have been with Thatcher-lite (a.k.a. B'liar). I think what's pushed me over the edge is the treatment of Bradley Manning but things like this 'Bend over and spread 'em' attitude to corporate media (or corporate anything else come to think of it) is just too much to stomach.

    Remember that the difference between Libya and Iraq is that Libya has our boys in there working the wells but Iraq didn't (...and we don't want to up set our majors, do we?). Freedom only applies to the flow of oil - and profits.

  21. Helloworld

    Any questions?

    Who benefits from this?

    - lawyers and the entertainment industry.

    Who were the largest contributors to the Obama campaign?

    - lawyers and the entertainment industry.

  22. Andy Enderby 1

    you'd think ....

    legislators would have more on their mind, such as odd patterns of share trading during the crash of the banks, and getting the taxpayer some bail out money back..... but hey, why not just criminalise some more youths at the behest of the usual hollywood suspects......?

  23. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Alternative Maladministrative State of the Union Address

    This appears to be Uncle Sam's Intellectually Bankrupt and Bankrupting Policy ........ ....... a Recipe for Dollar Disaster and Market Meltdown could not be better written by either Fool or Idiot Savant.

  24. Manu T

    Land of the free?

    Untying the shackles of dictatorship everywhere else in thew world and becoming a corporate dictatorship in itself. The Hypocrite States of Obama!

    And I thought the US was supposed to be the land of the free?

  25. paulc

    Streamer or streamee?

    Who's the offence written for... cos it looks to me like it's the person who is serving up the material who will be committing the felony, not the person who's watching it online...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    The last gasp...

    ... of a dying empire.

  27. Oliver 7

    Yo, Obama!

    Fuck that shit, homie!

    Amazing that everyone hailed this boy as some kind of saint simply because a) he's not Bush and b) he's the first black president. He was bestowed with the Nobel prize - for doing what exactly, I can't even recall. It became clear long ago, though, that he's a busted flush!

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  28. Eddy Ito

    And people wonder

    Anyone who wonders why we have severe political shifts in the House and Senate every few years only has to actually look at actions taken by either party. Yes, the people of the US want change but they aren't really looking to merely trade Halliburton for Time Warner. I'm certain the Tea Party will do well in the next few years, at least until they are in power and decide that more legislation has to be written to benefit... if I had to guess now, the Evangelical Chu... wait, doesn't everyone already know this is just astroturf laid down by the religious right under the banner of excessive gov't giveaways to corporations that don't get automatic tax immunity?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You knew this was coming

    Some folks have to learn the hard way that there is a price to pay for piracy. Almost weekly we read of people being convicted for piracy yet people continue to pirate. Sending these people to prison will certainly drive the message home that piracy will not be tolerated. We have a small segment of society who just can't live within the law and that's why they build prisons. The bottomline: Be stupid, go to prison.

    1. Oliver 7

      Get back under your bridge!

      If no one ever broke the law we'd all be living under the yoke of oppressive regimes. Many people seem to be fooled into thinking that because we get to vote every few years that we actually have a choice and live in a 'free' society. IP and copyright laws need a serious overhaul and Obama's pronouncement has nothing to do with democracy.

      In the UK people who carry knives or assault people don't even go to prison these days, can we seriously contemplate converting yet more civil misdemeanours into crimes?

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Okey dokey

      So you've never so much as copied an album to tape or a CD to MP3s and put them on another playing device? You've never turned up your music a little too loud so it constitues a public broadcast? You've never so much as parked your car in a no parking zone, just for 5 mins, while you wait for a friend to finish in the shop over the road?

      So when they've caught the pirates and locked them up, prisons fit to bust, what next?

      Giving that DVD you don't want to a charity shop? YOURE BUSTED SON!

      Selling that unwanted PC game on eBay? YOURE BUSTED SON!

      Less people out working, less money in the economy, country heads down the tubes...

      There is such a thing as being reasonable you know? No I don't agree with piracy, it's illegal and yes there should be punishments, but simple fining and warning is sufficient for something that does not injure or hurt anyone isn't it? So you ripped of a CD of music tracks and gave them to your mate, next thing your life is fucked for good while you do 12 months inside, lose your job, house, wife and kids!

      So it's bring on the Big Brother state with you, yeah? I can't wait! Thinking bad thoughts that go against what the corps tell you you must think!

  30. Richard Porter

    @dave 93

    "It really isn't theft if you don't deprive the owner of anything, and streaming is even more ethereal as there is no copy left on the receiving machine"

    Not necessarily. If data are sent to your computer there is no reason why they can't be stored. On one machine I can't watch youtube videos so I'm forced to download them first and then convert them to MPEG. Of course it would be simple just to record the audio (or analogue video for that matter) whilst streaming.

    But the point has been made that people only have so much disposable income that the entertainment corporations can get their mitts on, so if they're forced to pay for one thing they won't be able to afford another, like live gigs.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Cameron Colley

    "I can't believe that the Nobel Peace prize was given to this imperialistic corporation-owned liar". the corporation-owned Nobel Prize Committee, you mean? What a shock that was. Don't forget they are the people who forced Tom Lehrer into retirement by awarding their bloody [sic] Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger. "It was at that moment that satire died," said Lehrer. "There was nothing more to say after that."

  32. Tom 13

    Copyright isn't a matter of National Security,

    but the national agencies that are responsible for enforcing also have national security functions, so the copyright bits just got folded in with everything else when Congress unthinkingly glommed all the National Security functions into one incomprehensible and unmanageable Department.


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