Tucked away in Congress’ new Covid-19 stimulus bill is an amendment that would make illegal streaming a felony. What does that have to do with coronavirus relief? Not a whole lot. But it would make the act of illegally streaming content online punishable by “up to 10 years in jail.”

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

That’s the word from The Hollywood Reporter, which writes that Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced a similar proposal called “The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act” just a few weeks ago. Thillis claims he intends his proposal to apply to “commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services” and not to “individuals who might use pirate streaming services.”

Here is what the text of the bill available online reads regarding illegal streaming:

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 for the purpose of publicly performing works protected under title 17 by means of 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 by means of 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 by means of a digital transmission without the authority of the copyright owner or the law.

According to THR, the stimulus bill also includes language to create “ a small claims adjudication system within the U.S. Copyright Office” that would make it easier for copyright owners to seek recourse in cases where they believe their copyrights have been violated.

Gallery — The Best Netflix Movies of 2020: