That’s the message being promoted by a new website, FreeBieber.org, which claims that the teen pop sensation would face criminal charges under proposed changes to US copyright laws. The statement is in reference to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill designed to remove copyright-infringing websites from the internet which was recently debated by the US House of Representatives.
SOPA would make it a crime to upload any video containing copyrighted material. Bieber, who rose to fame as a result of posting Youtube videos of himself singing copyrighted R&B songs, apparently would have run afoul of the new restrictions. He isn’t alone. Fan-created audio and video content is a common fixture on Youtube.
Controversy has been brewing for months over the government’s piracy proposal.
Supporters of the law include both the National Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters. In a letter written in September 2011, the Firefighters association claims: “Legislation targeting these foreign rogue Web sites will encourage Internet users to find legitimate sources for goods and content (and) will ensure that counterfeiters and pirates can no longer profit from this clearly illegal activity.”
Opponents, including progressive group Demand Progress, are calling the legislation a “new internet blacklist.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the bill “disastrous” also claiming the bill will compel the Domain Name System to create a “blacklist” of suspected copyright violators.
With bi-partisan support for the bill in both the Senate and the House, opponents are clearly outnumbered.
For his part, Bieber has been taking the news in stride. On a media tour this week promoting his new Christmas album, Bieber stated he thinks the legislation goes too far. Asked about Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, he replied: “Whomever she is she needs to know that I’m saying she needs to be locked up, put away in cuffs…I just think that’s ridiculous.”
If the folks over at FreeBieber.org are any indication, he’s got nothing to worry about. If Bieber ever were arrested for uploading videos of himself singing copyrighted music, his fans, who happily diagnose themselves as having “Bieber fever,” would surely plan his escape.
The other tens of thousands of violators on Youtube may have to serve their time.