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June 17, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

John Fithian

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved The Commercial Felony Streaming Act that would make streaming copyrighted material online a felony. In effect, the bill provides the same penalty for streaming as current law already does for illegal downloading. Presently, streaming is considered “public performance” under the law and is punishable only as a misdemeanor. In a statement, John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, said, “It is high time that the punishment fit the crime. Illegal streaming of stolen content is growing and poses a threat to the profitability of movie theaters and to the jobs of our 160,000 employees in the U.S.” The law must still be voted on by the full Senate and be approved by the House and the President before becoming law, a lengthy process. And, even then, many question its potential effectiveness since most pirate websites operate outside the United States.