The COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Would Make Illegal Streaming a Felony

In looking to provide relief to small businesses and U.S. citizens, this bill includes some legislative priorities for the entertainment industry.

Over two weeks ago, Sen. Thom Tillis released his proposal to increase the penalties for streaming unlicensed works. Illegal streaming of movies and music tracks could carry a penalty of up to 10 years in jail. Another part of the bill is an extension of Section 181. This is a tax provision that allows for an immediate deduction of television and film production costs up to $15 million. On Monday, lawmakers voted in favor of the package.

The Motion Picture Association of America noted in a statement: “We are encouraged that this legislation includes an expanded employee retention credit, a grant for movie theaters and an extension of the federal film, television, and live theatrical incentive. We are also pleased that the package includes the Protect Lawful Streaming Act, which protects creators, innovators, and consumers by ensuring that operators of commercial pirate streaming services face meaningful criminal penalties in appropriate circumstances.”

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