One of the more curious aspects of US lawmaking is the way in which proposals for pieces of legislation can be added onto completely unrelated other pieces of legislation making their way through the process. This is why the recently passed COVID-19 aid bill included money for renewable energy and a tax break for the “three-martini lunch”.

Lawmakers can use a bill as a vehicle for whatever pet project they have had on their minds in return for their fealty when asked to vote on it.

One other thing added to this bill concerns illegal streaming. U.S. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis released a proposal to increase the penalties for those streaming illegally.

According to The Hollywood Reporter that proposal has been added to the COVID-19 aid bill. This version of the often attempted, frequently not passed, beefed-up legislation focusses on commercial operators. If they serve no other commercial purpose besides the illegal streaming of copyright material then it will be a felony.

This means illegal streaming of TV, movies or music would carry a penalty of up to ten years in jail.

Also within the proposal is the creation of a small-claims adjudication process at the US Copyright Office and improved tax deductions for films and TV shows produced within the USA.

Considering most commercial streamers base themselves outside US territory in non-extradition countries it is unclear what impact this would have on commercial streaming of copyrighted material.