Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bill S.978 and My Message To Congress

As my friends and family know, I am not very politically active. At all. It goes over my head. “Swoosh!” You hear that? There goes politics. But this is something I couldn’t ignore. Bill S.978 has been proposed to make it a criminal offense to stream copyrighted content in any electronic form. This is primarily backed by the television and film industries, and rightfully so if I may add. But the way the bill is worded states “public performances by electronic means” which includes video game let’s plays, reviews and the like. People could face 5 years in jail for uploading simple karaoke videos of their friends singing on YouTube. That’s how poorly worded this bill is. I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, so like many others, I acted and sent a message to congress via Demand Progress. Please note, you need to be making money off of your streams. I am speaking out for video game streams. My message is as follows:

“Hello my name is Jared Cyhowski and I study video production at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. I have researched the S.978 bill for some time now, and I believe it to be too vague in its meaning. Most specifically, the majority of us understands that this bill is being supported by large television and film corporations. Streaming television and film is wrong, but this bill will affect so much more than that. What of people singing or instrumentally involving themselves with their favorite music? Can an artist now not replicate their favorite pieces into their own and express themselves?

And what of the video game industry and the massive number of people who utilize game footage in positive nature? Many people capture digital footage to provide personal commentary and then share it with their many followers. Game companies have realized that this can very much help sales in the long run. Each time a human being plays through a video game the experience will be there's only. This is why the most important genre in gaming today is first-person, where one can obtain their own experience and create a sense of individuality from other players' experiences. Video games offer choices, and everyone makes different decisions if they so choose to.

Uploading a movie or television episode for illegal streaming is different in that the experience is crafted to be set in stone. It is solid. Every viewer will see the same thing happen on screen. Their reactions may be different to the media at hand, but the presentation is identical to each individual.

The exact opposite can be applied to gaming, where each experience differs in the player's personal choice. I ask you to please reconsider bill S.978 and take a much needed, further in-depth look into what exactly the bill will affect.

Thank you.

-Jared Cyhowski"

Time will tell what will happen to online streaming of copyrighted content beyond what laws have already been set in place, but if this bill is passed in its current state, internet culture could change significantly.

-Jared C.

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