Please Stop Using Justin Bieber in Your War Against Internet Censorship
When he's not allegedly coming on to women decades his senior or using Twitter as a weapon, tween-pop icon Justin Bieber rages against the machine of congressional Internet censorship. During a radio interview in late October, Bieber forcefully opposed the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, or S. 978, a bill that would make unauthorized online streaming of copyrighted material a felony punishable by up to five years in the slammer.
The legislation, which could theoretically apply to people who remix or cover pop songs on their YouTube channel, is currently backed by the Obama administration and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)—whom Bieber singled out as someone who "needs to be locked up—put away in cuffs" for supporting S. 978.
"People need to have the freedom," Bieber said. "People need to be able to sing songs. I just think that's ridiculous... I check YouTube all the time and watch people singing my songs. I think it's awesome." (Here's an audio clip of the interview.)
Minus the call to have an extraordinarily popular lawmaker imprisoned for having an opinion, Bieber makes a decent point: The Commercial Felony Streaming Act is, at its core, terrible politics. Its vague phrasing—supposedly intended to target websites that rake in huge profits by illegally streaming copyrighted content—could potentially leave the door wide open for prosecuting this Korean kid for copyright infringement. Taken to its logical extreme, you'd have a new law that, in a digital era of viral videos and overnight crazes, is excessive (given laws already on the books) and completely unenforceable.