TECH NEWS – There was already a relief bill this year, providing a stimulus check to many people in the United States. Now, round 2 would be a bit different.
The bill hasn’t passed yet. A House amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 would extend unemployment benefits by 300 dollars a week through mid-March 2021, which sounds good, but it also incorporates elements of recent legislation proposed by a Republican Senator Thom Tillis, which would establish a small claims Copyright Claims Board, and it would specifically make the digital transmission of copyright-protected works a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison for a second offence!
Let’s quote the bill (which is a whopping 5593 (!!!) pages long): „It shall be unlawful for a person to willfully, and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, offer or provide to the public a digital transmission service that- (1) is primarily designed or provided to publicly perform works protected under title 17 using a digital transmission without the authority of the copyright owner or the law; (2) has no commercially significant purpose or use other than to publicly perform works protected under title 17 using a digital transmission without the authority of the copyright owner or the law; or (3) is intentionally marketed by or at the direction of that person to promote its use in publicly performing works protected under title 17 using a digital transmission without the authority of the copyright owner or the law.”
This quote raises questions for YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Gaming. The games that streamers/influencers broadcast have a lot of copyrights, including the music used in the games. And in August 2017, there was also a copyright lawsuit over a Take-Two sports game for it using certain tattoos. And remember, earlier this year, Twitch got a ton of DMCA claims by music labels, resulting in the wipe or mute of many archived broadcasts.
The Copyright Claims Board has also been a point of contention. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that it would „re-ignite the nationwide problem of copyright trolling,” just as federal courts have started to demand stricter standards of evidence in such cases. This board would be limited to issuing rulings of no more than 30 thousand dollars plus legal fees in favour of claimants. All information about the claims board proceedings except for the final determination and records would be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.
This doesn’t bode too well.