The US government is proposing that "infringement by streaming" be made into a felony.
That is one of a number of proposals contained in a white paper published (PDF/917KB) by the White House.
The proposals also include allowing the Department of Homeland Security (that's right, intellectual property offences are now, apparently, terrorist offences) to share information with customs to help determine whether a product is an infringing product, or a device is an infringing device; and permitting wiretaps for investigating "criminal copyright and trademark offenses".
The streaming-as-a-felony proposal is based on questions as to "whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works (and thereby is a felony) and/or performance of those works (and thereby is not a felony)".
The wiretap provisions are justified by the large number of offences for which law enforcement is already able to seek wiretaps.
The Obama administration's white paper seems, however, to be in line with the stringent enforcement regimes it wants other countries to adopt under the so-far-secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement process. ®