The White House Says the Law Should Be ‘Modernized’ to Make Illegal Streaming of Music a Felony

One of the nation’s top cybersecurity and intellectual property officials says he knows how to make sure artists and musicians reap all the benefits from their works – by making illegal streaming of music and movies a felony.

“[W]e believe that federal criminal law should be modernized to include felony criminal penalties for those who engage in large-scale streaming of illegal, infringing content in the same way laws already on the books do for reproduction and distribution of infringing content,” Alex Niejelow, an intellectual property and cybersecurity official, wrote in response to an online White House petition.

Protesters in New York demonstrate against controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation. The proposed legislation was aimed at preventing piracy of media but those opposed believe it will support censorship, January 18, 2012 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Protesters in New York demonstrate against controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation. The proposed legislation was aimed at preventing piracy of media but those opposed believe it will support censorship, January 18, 2012 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Niejelow said one of the key parts of preserving the creativity, free expression and innovation of the Internet is to ensure that there are legal tools to counter anyone who seeks to harm creators and users of online content. And in doing so, he added, it is “essential” to preserve the openness, privacy, security and creativity of the Internet and its users.

The law should deter the large-scale willful reproduction, distribution, and streaming of illegal, infringing content for profit, Niejelow said, because it has a negative impact in diminishing the drive and economic incentive to produce movies, sporting events and music that account for millions of American jobs and billions of dollars contributed annually to the economy.

“This is a rational, straightforward update to our criminal laws – and it’s necessary because online piracy hurts some of our nation’s most creative artists and innovative entrepreneurs and companies, and if left unchecked, runs the risk of threatening the health of the economy and American jobs,” Niejelow said.

(H/T: The Hill)

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