With North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis’ DMCA bill gaining traction, a slew of social media users, alongside Twitch and YouTube content creators, have gotten ‘#StopDMCA’ trending on Twitter in a testament to mounting backlash.
On December 10, it was revealed to the public that Tillis had snuck an aggressive Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) proposal into the latest omnibus bill expected to be passed by Congress. While the full proposal can be read here, the brunt of its impact can be summarized simply: DMCA violators will be met with felonies and possible jail time.
As such, the proposal has been the subject of obvious scrutiny. Twitch streamers, YouTube content creators, and other online figures are all already at the heart of DMCA uncertainty, and this proposal, if passed, could turn former losses of livelihood into losses of literal freedom.
With backlash amping up, the #StopDMCA hashtag has erupted across Twitter as users share various critiques both of the proposal and of Tillis himself. Most notably, users have pointed out that Tillis may have a bias, given the thousands of dollars in donations he has received from entertainment industry donors.
Republican Senator @ThomTillis wants you to go to prison for copyright strikes.
— TheQuartering (@TheQuartering) December 16, 2020
For months now, Twitch streamers have been reacting to sudden waves of DMCA bans. One of the platform’s most popular personalities, TimTheTatMan, went on a colorful rant about the issue, while many have complained the bans could ruin the entire IRL streaming category.
Being banned from the platform means a loss of revenue and a tighter leash on future transgressions, accidental or not, but Tillis’ proposal would amplify the consequences. With many already upset about bans, it’s unsurprising that social media has become frenzied at the thought that channel bans could be replaced with prison bars.
Aside from simply pushing discourse about the proposal, one of the chief ways that people have reacted is by calling for direct action. Users are popularly asking for concerned citizenry to contact Tillis by email and his office’s phone number to protest the unsavory proposal.
Senator @ThomTillis is pushing a new bill that would put YouTubers/Streamers in actual jail for streaming copyrighted music.
Here's his email – https://t.co/s8LXeO8Zae
and below is his DC Office (including phone number)
— KreekCraft (@KreekCraft) December 16, 2020
At the moment, Tillis has yet to respond to the massive outpouring of concern and his proposal has yet to become law. With creators across Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram all affected, it’s likely that discussion of the DMCA felony proposal will be lengthy.
We will continue to update as details emerge, but if Congress is curious about public opinion, the internet has most certainly made its voice heard.