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Bill Could Mean Jail for Justin Bieber, and Not for Crimes Against Music

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Forget American Idol, The Voice, or X-Factor -- in the hyperfast Youtube-dominated media landscape, anyone has a shot at Internet fame, and even a recording contract, by recording and uploading to Youtube a video of themselves covering a popular song. That was how teenage superstar Justin Bieber began his quest toward pop supremacy.
But, if Senators Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, and John Cornyn have their way, Bieber and others like him who post videos of themselves singing covers will be facing five years in jail. The three senators introduced a new bill that would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony this May. Called the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, or S.978, the bill could be introduced in the House of Representatives tomorrow.
The bill has plenty of big-name backers like the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America. But it has also sparked fierce opposition from progressive groups like Fight for the Future, which advocates freedom in technology.
Fight for the Future launched a new campaign website today in its battle to prevent the bill from getting passed. It’s called, and it’s a compilation of Photoshopped images of a forlorn-looking Biebs, who landed a recording contract after his takes on Chris Brown songs went viral on YouTube, in prison.

Image courtesy of
“Any law that could give Justin Bieber 5 years in jail for singing covers on YouTube goes way too far,” reads the front page of the website.
According to Sens. Klobuchar and Coons, the bill would not affect future Biebers or anyone who posts amateur videos like high school dance recitals. Instead, “the bill is only intended to target Web sites or people who profit from illegally streaming copyrighted material,” reports The Washington Post.
Well, whether or not the bill gets through Congress, the Free Bieber campaign has already become a success -- last we checked, it had already garnered 30,000 Facebook “likes.” That’s the power of Beliebers for you.
In the meantime, would-be YouTube stars, maybe it’s time to start working on some original tunes.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.