Longtime North Carolina Republican House member Howard Coble has died at age 84, according to various news reports.
Coble, who decided not to run for re-election in 2014 after three decades in Congress, had been the chairman of the Judiciary Internet subcommittee, where he advocated for protecting online content and presided over making illegal streaming a felony.
Currently, streaming pirated content is still treated as an illegal performance, which is a misdemeanor, in contrast to illegal downloads, which are treated as illegal reproduction and distribution, a felony.
In 2013, Coble joined with Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) to form the Creative Rights Caucus to "educate members of Congress and the general public about the importance of preserving and protecting the rights of the creative community."
Coble had indicated his concern that some young people treated online content, legal or not, as an entitlement.
Coble's defense of content creator rights, particularly online, was not lost on the Motion Picture Association of America.
“Throughout his tenure, not only was Congressman Howard Coble known for his gentle soul and good humor, but he also built a long legacy of strong leadership, standing up for the rights of creators," said former Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, who served with Coble in Congress. "Filmmakers, musicians, artists and the entire creative community hold deep admiration and respect for his distinct and committed public service. He will be sorely missed.”