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Justin Bieber Faces Five Years In Prison Under Proposed Law?

10/20/2011
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(Opinion) We typically stay away from politics, especially partisan politics unless it directly affects music and this issue does just that. We were sent an announcement from an advocacy group which presents one side of the argument over a proposed law.

We encourage you to investigate the issue for yourself to learn the pros and cons (also visit opensecrets.org and find out how much money the politicians and your representatives were given by the entertainment industry which supports this bill. The sponsor of this bill's 4th largest special interest/industry group contributions for the 2012 cycle has come from TV/Movies/Music industries, up from 10th place for 2010. See the records here. We provide this link to illustrate how proposed laws like this may have been purchased encouraged. Contacting your representatives if you oppose this bill might not work if they too received large contributions from the organizations supporting the proposed law.) But for now, we do have one organization's con argument (and call to action) for you that uses Canadian pop star Justin Bieber to make their point, which is obviously biased against the bill (they also provided the text of the proposed law in question):

Fight for the Future (FFTF), a new organization vowing to fight for Americans' tech freedoms, warns Justin Bieber and his fans that the teen pop sensation could suffer five brutal years in prison if a bill pending in the Senate becomes law.

S.978 by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) would make it a felony for Internet users to stream unlicensed content 10 times in 180 days. The bill is being pushed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others who seek to crush to Internet freedoms for the sake of higher corporate profits. The legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this summer; introduction of a House version is expected in coming weeks.

S.978 would criminalize precisely what Bieber (and his mom) did to gain global renown: Posting videos online of the young singer covering pop songs. Those videos are still on the Internet, so if Bieber doesn't pull them all down right away, he could be prosecuted and sent to the slammer for five years on felony charges. The legislation applies to an incredibly broad swath of normal social media activity: It would become a felony to post cover band songs, karaoke videos, footage of people dancing to music, videos with music playing in the background, and on and on.

FFTF encourages Internet users to visit www.FreeBieber.org to urge their Senators to oppose S.978. The site collects Photoshop renditions of Justin Bieber in jail, and urges visitors to record a video of themselves "behind bars" to post to their YouTube and Facebook accounts.

According to FFTF co-founder Holmes Wilson, "What's genuinely troubling is that this bill applies to a massive slice of social media activity. And if you doubt that the RIAA and MPAA (lobbies for the music and film industries) would push the government to go after teenage Facebook users, remember: these are the same people who used $7,000-per-song civil penalties designed to punish large-scale commercial piracy to sue 14-year-old p2p users and their families."

More information may be found at www.FightForTheFuture.org

The Bill

S.978 -- To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes. (Reported in Senate - RS)

S 978 RS

Calendar No. 77

112th CONGRESS

1st Session
S. 978
To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 12, 2011
Ms. KLOBUCHAR (for herself, Mr. CORNYN, and Mr. COONS) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

June 20 (legislative day, June 16), 2011
Reported by Mr. LEAHY, without amendment

A BILL
To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT OF A COPYRIGHT.

(a) Amendments to Section 2319 of Title 18- Section 2319 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in subsection (b)--

(A) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

(B) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

`(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if--

`(A) the offense consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and

`(B)(i) the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, would exceed $2,500; or

`(ii) the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000;'; and

(2) in subsection (f), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

`(2) the terms `reproduction', `distribution', and `public performance' refer to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner under clauses (1), (3), (4), and (6), respectively of section 106 (relating to exclusive rights in copyrighted works), as limited by sections 107 through 122, of title 17;'.

(b) Amendment to Section 506 of Title 17- Section 506(a) of title 17, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1)(C), by inserting `or public performance' after `distribution' the first place it appears; and

(2) in paragraph (3)--

(A) in subparagraph (A), by inserting `or public performance' after `unauthorized distribution'; and

(B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting `or public performance' after `distribution'.
Calendar No. 77
112th CONGRESS

1st Session
S. 978
A BILL
To amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.

June 20 (legislative day, June 16), 2011
Reported without amendment

Political contributions from TV/Movies/Music industries for the Senators listed in the bill above as co-sponsors:

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) Campaign Cmte has received $195,707 from the TV/Movies/Music industries contributors for the 2012 cycle according to opensecrets.org.

Senator Chris Coons (D - Delaware) Campaign Cmte has received $93,450 from the TV/Movies/Music industries contributors for the 2012 cycle according to opensecrets.org..

Senator John Cornyn (R - Texas) Campaign Cmte shows no contributions from the TV/Movies/Music industries for the 2012 cycle on opensecrets.org.

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