A political website – “FreeBieber.org” that launched a campaign in opposition to the U.S. Senate’s proposed “Commercial Felony Streaming Act” or “illegal streaming ” bill, offered a petition to stop the bill from passing, and as a part of the campaign, the site uploaded edited pictures of Justin Bieber behind bars and fake images of him being arrested.
The organization called Fight For the Future is trying to draw attention to the bill S.978, which was proposed by Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, and John Cornyn on May 12, 2011. The bill states that any unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material for the purpose of “commercial advantage or personal financial gain” would be a felony with penalties up to five years in prison.
In simple words, one could be convicted of a felony just for singing copyrighted songs and posting them on YouTube or elsewhere.
The reason to include Justin Bieber’s name is because Bieber became popular when a viral video of him singing the cover song by the artist Chris Brown – “With You” was posted on YouTube, which gained huge popularity. This directly goes against the bill S.978.
Along with the edited and fake images, the site had the following message – “A new bill in Congress makes posting a video containing any copyrighted work a felony– with up to 5 years in prison. But wait… didn’t Justin Bieber get famous by posting YouTube videos of himself singing copyrighted R&B songs? Yep. If this bill passes, he could get 5 years in jail.”
The site has been hugely effective with more than 43,000 people “liking” it on Facebook and has registered over 500,000 petition signatures already. This irked the lawyers of Justin Bieber, and issued a cease and desist letter to the site’s owners, claiming the site violates the pop star’s intellectual property rights and publicity rights.
In response to Bieber’s lawyers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated that the legal threat imposed was entirely baseless. That being said, the site was protected by the fair use doctrine and deserved most protection of all –
The kind of important political speech that is the core of the Free Bieber campaign deserves the most protection of all, and we are glad that the folks behind it are willing to stand up and defend their right to Free Justin Bieber whether he likes it or not,the EFF said.
It’s pretty illogical of Bieber’s lawyers being bothered about the situation. The only extent they can go up to is striking the Streisand effect, and in the process of taking down the contents of the site, they’re just going to draw more attention to it.