This is about corrupt ineffective government, not evil mastermind government.
So, if, say, some media companies lobby some members of Congress to put forth a bill because piracy is inconvenient for them, and the rest of Congress passes the bill because they think it helps enforce what they think are property rights, and the President signs it because it appears to be the solution to a growing problem, and the FBI or whatever (apparently DHS has taken an interest in these cases) makes a vague effort toward enforcing it (it is hard and resource-intensive to enforce thoroughly)... and then a dictatorial-minded president gets elected, and makes a practice of enforcing this law very stringently upon political opponents... then it's the same result as if the whole thing were planned beforehand by a conspiracy of evil masterminds.
(I'll take the opportunity to mention how Al Capone was convicted and put to justice... for income tax evasion. Whatever Congress or the public had in mind when passing the 16th amendment, I'm sure it wasn't this.)
It's simply helpful as a way to predict the potential consequences down the road of a piece of legislation to imagine that the government is composed of evil masterminds. I don't care whether there is such a conspiracy; arguing with that premise misses the point. It's like treating a mass of jiggling particles as an ideal gas for purposes of physical calculations; the argument is that that will--most likely, eventually--happen.
I've spent a fair amount of time around left/right libertarians and anarchists, and it bothers me that they spend so much time debating this. One side will say "The problem is the evil corporations," and the other will say "The problem is that the government has too much power," but the argument is pointless because they are both correct.
For instance, as anyone who's studied the financial crisis knows, there are plenty of people in the SEC who used to work for big wall street firms or got very cushy high paid wall street jobs after they leave the SEC. Thus, the wall street firms were not prosecuted for their possibly illegal practices during the financial crisis.
The government vs the private sector is just a false conflict to divert your attention away from the individual actors with lucrative ties to the entertainment industry in the public and private sector who are driving this.
Murder, criminal sexual conduct, manslaughter, criminal vehicular homicide, assault, robbery (simple or aggravated), kidnapping, neglect or endangerment of a child, solicitation of juveniles, prostitution, arson, and burglary.
And, if these senators (and their media industry supporters) are successful, unauthorized streaming of 10 or more copyrighted works in a 180-day period.
You can't really argue that unauthorized streaming doesn't impact the entertainment industry negatively, but it should be obvious to everyone that the impact is not significant enough to make it a felony.
If you're referring to the use or threat of force, that's a completely different crime.
As you are apparently aware, being classified a 'felon' requires that one be convicted of a crime for which the punishment is either a year+ in prison or death. How can you justify that type of punishment, including the attending permanent consequences, as being meaningless in the context of this conversation?
If it can be used against people watching movies, it would be, sooner or later. So the question is: can it be used that way?
Yes you can.
It's probably not a bad thing that this stuff would go to criminal court. I think criminal courts would be far less enthusiastic about claiming 1 song is worth thousands of dollars.
Really, the amount of effort to prove something like this is off the charts. It's not like searching a car and finding a bag of weed. How many prosecutors are going to put together the logs to show this actually happend and it was worth more than 5k?
Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor:
As is disturbing the peace:
disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct have a felony versions when weapons or drugs are present.
The point is, stealing $5000 is a big deal. Streaming $5000 dollars worth of unlicensed music for public performance could be a big deal too. However, i have a hard time believing a criminal court would value a streamed song at much more than a few cents each. You'd literally be streaming thousands of songs a day.
This isn't (afaik) streaming your stuff to your family, it's cloning pandora and not paying license fees.
I think that this is a big "if".
How it works: They claim the cost of licensing the song you've streamed is 5,001$, and you're jailed. And it's not obvious that they can't name an arbitrary sum as cost of licensing.
I don't know how much it applies to USA, but otherwise this scheme has already been used thru the world.
To elaborate, unauthorized copying and distributing has long (decades) been a felony if you are doing it for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and in any 180-day period this involves copies worth more than $1000.
Look at the language Ars quotes. It talks about streaming a certain number of copies in any 180-day period, and puts a threshold ($2500 retail value or $5000 licenses) you have to meet in order to run afoul of the new provisions.
It sounds likely, based on the similarity to the existing felony provisions, that these new provisions fit in with those, and thus are only covering people who are doing illegal streaming AS A BUSINESS (and doing a good amount of business...if the retail value of a streaming move is $5, they have to have 500 customers over six months to hit the threshold). They are not nailing people who consume the streams (just as the felony copying and distribution provisions don't nail the customer).
Are there similar precedents when other disruptive technologies started eating into traditional markets (maybe the introduction of tapes or CDs, or the telegraph and radio)?
Sadly, it's true.
Basically, if you download an episode of a TV show for free, common sense would tend to say that something is fishy: you end up with a file on your drive forever. However, in the case of streaming, I feel like it's much less clear.
Two scenarios: I want to watch an episode of The Office, I google "The Office season 6 episode 3" and end up watching the episode with ads on Hulu. I can also pay a subscription to watch any episode I want.
I then want to watch an episode of Dexter and google "Dexter season 5 episode 3" and end up watching the episode on MegaVideo with ads (for MegaVideo, MegaUploader… mostly) and a daily limit that can be waived with a subscription.
The first one is legal, the second one is not but a non-savvy user couldn't really tell the difference. I don't really have a way to know that MegaVideo doesn't pay the copyright holders with the subscriptions and ads.
Republics actually represent the public at large not just the wealthy and connected.
"Draconian is an adjective meaning great severity, that derives from Draco, an Athenian law scribe under whom small offences had heavy punishments."
Things like this come from people who don't understand why intellectual property was enshrined into law in the first place.
Streaming a video without authorization? Felony.
A woman claims a man (IMF chief Strauss today) forced her into some sex acts: mere accusation causes him to be led off a plane and put into a jail cell pending a full trial. Before a fair trail, he's now in jail. Based on one person's accusation. (Which may or may not be legitimate, or may have been a honeypot setup, we don't know yet, and may never know.)
Several men and women claim a man (and his administration) did (the things I claimed in my first paragraph): neither Bush or Cheney or any other top leader ever spent time in jail to this day, nor even charged in the first place. (Libby doesn't count, he was charged with something else, a formality.)
What's broken here?
Google doesn't help (suggests maybe resorting to piracy, but that wouldn't result in you getting kidnapped/murdered), so would you explain that idiom?
Sorry, just had to laugh. Anyway, vote for Ron Paul and at least you might get something.