Friday, July 8, 2011


So, there's been a lot of recent hype about Bill S.978.
I wrote this up in response to a Buzz post, and thought I might as well repost to here, to spread this. Oversensationalism, eat your heart out.

Bill S.978 is meh. Oversensationalized. Not a problem. Why?

- You are only liable to be sued if:

1. You willfully commit copyright infringement. This means that you can claim "I didn't know there was copyright!" and not be held liable. This is also why movies have that screen in the beginning you can't skip past, telling you that copying the movie is copyright infringement.

2. You infringe on copyright for financial gain. This means that if you're not making money, you can't be held liable. I'm not sure if you can protest this by saying, "I didn't mean to make money!" but it seems that you could. And if you try to make money but fail, you can't be held liable either. Though in that eventuality, you probably have bigger problems than S.978. Like bills.

Oh, in addition:

3. You have to have more than 10 stream views in a 180 day period. This is probably the easiest clause to fulfill. 10 views on one video or 1 view on 10 videos both fulfill this. Oh well. The next one is damn hard to fulfill.

4. You have to make $2,500+ off the streams/videos/whatever or cost the company $5,000+ in licencing fees. Again, if you're not a major streamer, you're unlikely to be restricted by this at all.

Note that these four points are ANDs not ORs.

So you have to know you're infringing, infringe for financial gain, post more than 10 vids in a half year, and make more than $2.5k or cost the company more than $5k. Pretty damn hard if you ask me. And in conjunction with point 3, if you're making more than $2.5k off of 10 views, stop complaining. I would buy licensing fees if I was making that much.

And before you ask, "What about the major streamers? You added caveats for them!"

Well, they can buy licences from the companies. I doubt it would cost much, given that if you had to get a licence, you're making $2.5k off of that every half year, or $5k yearly. Some companies, like Mojang, will even allow streaming in their ToS. And what company would seriously go after a game streamer? "Oh no, he's streaming our game! We can't have that! Stop letting him publicize our game and promoting it! We need our game to stay UNDERGROUND!"

Whether you think S.978 should be blocked or not is up to you. Just don't buy into the sensationalism. Read the bill yourself.

And that's my spiel.

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