Justin Bieber Behind Bars Campaign Opposes New Copyright Law

By Brent Randall 2011-10-20 20:37:17
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Imagine a world where Justin Bieber is behind bars for five years. OK, maybe that’s something you wouldn’t mind. But one group of people is considering this – sort of real – possibility that the Biebs could be put in jail for violating a proposed American copyright law.

The site, FreeBieber.org, considers how the teen pop idol would cope with life in jail, including photoshops of Bieber with a tear drop tattoo in an orange jumpsuit, and having a visit from Selena Gomez. The site encourages those who support its cause to similarly edit photos and videos of Bieber to feed the absurdity.

The cause that FreeBieber.org is championing is a petition against a bill that would see potential prison sentences for those found guilty of streaming copyrighted material. Bieber, of course, was discovered after he covered several popular songs and posted them to YouTube.

Currently, the United States has criminal penalties for those who download or reproduce copyrighted material. The amendment would see the addition of “public performance” to the possible offences, which we can only assume would include streaming on the Internet. The FreeBieber site has posted a video of Bieber performing Chris Brown’s “With You” and wonders why such a seemingly trivial thing could send the singer to the big house. As an aside, isn’t it kind of crazy that there is a situation where Justin Bieber could be more likely to go to jail than Chris Brown?

The law hasn’t been passed yet, but let’s just think about what would happen if it was. Would Justin Bieber be doing five years? I think it’s just too ridiculous to ever actually happen. Obviously, I’m not a politician or a judge. But my sense when it comes to the aims of copyright protection is that it is largely meant to make sure the creator of work doesn’t miss out on profits from their art, or have someone else exploit it for their own personal gain. Performing a cover during a paid performance is one thing. Performing a cover and posting it on your YouTube account in hopes that it will attract the ladies is different. That’s why downloading and reproduction are already on the list – they deprive the creators of profits that they would otherwise be entitled to if their listeners/viewers had legitimately obtained their work. So even if this did get passed, I don’t know if we’d be starting a Free Bieber Campaign soon after. What a strange, strange protest that would be.
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