Justin Bieber Says Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) Should Be “put away in cuffs” for Her Sponsorship of Extreme Copyright Bill


OCTOBER 28, 2011


 CONTACT: Holmes Wilson - press@fightforthefuture.org - 508-474-5248


In an interview this morning on Washington DC Hot 99.5 Radio, Justin Bieber affirmed that Internet users should have the right to reuse and remix music on YouTube and said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) should be “put away in cuffs” for sponsoring a bill that would make posting copyrighted clips a felony.  


Bieber made several comments during the radio appearance regarding the proposed legislation, co-sponsored by Klobuchar, "Whoever she is, she needs to know that I'm saying she needs to be locked up -- put away in cuffs."  He added, "People need to have the freedom...people need to be able to sing songs. I just think that's ridiculous."  

And finally, when asked if he is comfortable with people posting videos singing his songs, he replied, "Are you kidding me?  I check YouTube all the time and watch people singing my songs.  I think it's awesome."

Audio from the radio show is available here - http://bit.ly/uJZwkS

Bieber’s comments came in response to the Free Bieber campaign against the proposed bill (http://www.freebieber.org).  S. 978 and its House version the “Stop Online Piracy Act” would make streaming copyrighted work a felony with a 5 year jail sentence.  Because of copyright’s breadth, cover songs, short clips, and even incidental background music could qualify users for felony charges.  


As S.978 co-sponsor Chris Coons (D-DE) has put it, the legislation would criminalize both "individuals and sites providing the streamed content."


Confusingly, some other politicians who have cosponsored the bill in the Senate and House on behalf of the copyright industry have claimed that the bill would not affect people who post songs on YouTube, as Justin Bieber himself has done.  However, copyright experts who have reviewed the legislation disagree, asserting that the legislation could have grave consequences for the Internet and its users.

“Unless an individual has a good faith reasonable belief that his streaming is lawful,” says intellectual property lawyer Jonathan Band, “he arguably is willfully infringing, and is subject to felony penalties, even if he had no commercial purpose.”  (Contact information for Jonathan Band is below.)

On SOPA, “imposes criminal penalties for public performances by means of digital networks with a retail value of more than $1,000.  Felony penalties will be available if the retail value is more than $2,500.  So, it sweeps in non-commercial streaming... unless an individual has a good faith reasonable belief that his streaming is lawful, he arguably is willfully infringing, and is subject to felony penalties, even if he had no commercial purpose”

Said Lateef Mtima, director Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice at the Howard University School of Law says, “Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Bill is that the conduct it would criminalize  is so poorly defined. While on its face the bill seems to attempt to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial conduct, purportedly criminalizing the former and permitting the latter, in actuality the bill not only fails to accomplish this but because of its lack of concrete definitions, it potentially  criminalizes conduct that is currently permitted under the law.”

The Senate version requires that a video has more than “10 performances”, which legal experts say is equivalent to “views”.  In the House version, only 1 view is required.  In the House version, the market value of licensing the work only needs to be $1,000 (a merely nominal licensing fee for any popular music) or greater to qualify as a criminal offense.