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Retailers association endorses enhanced penalty for infringement

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) endorsed legislation pending in the US Senate to ensure that copyright infringement by streaming over the Internet can be punished as a felony in certain cases.

The bill, S.978, would declare that infringement by an unauthorized public performance over the Internet of a “pre-release” version of a copyrighted motion picture, music, computer software, or other audio-visual work, or a copyrighted motion picture that has been released in theaters but not on home video, is a felony, subject to certain threshold levels of streaming activity. S.978 was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.)

In a letter to Klobuchar, Bo Andersen, President & CEO of EMA, compared infringement by unauthorized reproduction or distribution and infringement by unauthorized streaming and noted, “From the perspective of video retailers, a sale or rental lost because a potential customer already viewed the motion picture or television program from an infringing copy is just as damaging as a sale or rental lost because the customer viewed the motion picture or television program from an infringing public performance.”

S.978 is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) is the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of their member companies that operate some 35,000 retail outlets in the US and 45,000 around the world that sell and/or rent DVDs, computer and console video games, and digitally-distributed versions of these products.

Story filed 24.06.11

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