Streaming often escapes piracy laws

People who illegally stream copyrighted movies, music, and TV shows online should face stricter punishment, the US register of copyrights and industry representatives told a House subcommittee. Current laws are insufficient to successfully prosecute some online copyright infringement, said Maria Pallante, the acting registra.

Laws often target those who download or copy content, and websites that stream materials may fall through the cracks, Pallante said at the hearing of the House Judiciary Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee.

“Under current law, an unauthorizsd public performance is at most a misdemeanor, even where that conduct is undertaken purposely and with a profit motive,” Pallante said. “Moreover, if it was not committed for purposes of commercial and financial gain, it cannot be prosecuted at all, regardless of the scope of the economic impact on copyright owners.”