While Americans await the next round of financial relief from the federal government as the COVID-19 pandemic bolsters on, more information on the nearly 5,000-page stimulus relief bill is being uncovered. One part of the bill receiving attention is the "Protecting Lawful Streaming Act," which will make it illegal under federal law to stream things illegally. Violating this law could result in the offender facing up to 10 years in prison. 

The law, which was introduced by Republican Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina, will not target casual internet users, but instead will target “commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services” that make a profit from streaming copyrighted material.  

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Sen. Tillis, who proposed the bill in early December, claimed the legislation "would punish large-scale criminal streaming services that willfully and for commercial advantage or private financial gain offer to the public illicit services dedicated to illegally streaming copyrighted material."

In an official statement on Sen. Tills' website, he notes that the act "would apply only to commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services. The law will not sweep in normal practices by online service providers, good faith business disputes, noncommercial activities, or in any way impact individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Individuals who might use pirate streaming services will not be affected."

The $600 stimulus included in the relief bill continues to be a hotly debated subject, with many finding the amount ridiculous considering how long the pandemic has lasted