S.978" is a new bill that would make web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a prison sentence of up to 5 years. It's set to be introduced in The House of Representatives this Wednesday (October 26, 2011) and if it passes, people can go to jail for posting a video to YouTube with the wrong background music. In other words, if someone edits a video using copyrighted material, or records themselves singing or dancing to a copyrighted song, they could end up in trouble. Translation: Media companies don’t want figure out how to adapt their business model for peer-to-peer sharing and so they'd rather irrationally punish whoever they can, inculding celebrities like Justin Bieber, for the losses they've been taking since the music industry tanked,
Here's a snippet from the press release:
Music and film companies are pushing a law that would make streaming any copyrighted material a felony with a five-year jail sentence. The irony is, if they succeed, even their own stars would face jail time.
Teen pop star Justin Bieber himself got famous posting videos of himself singing unauthorized covers of popular R&B songs to YouTube. Totally jail-able. The law is S.978, and it’s a real threat: The bill has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we expect introduction in the House soon.
Of course, if Bieber could go to jail, almost any aspiring singer could too. So could any fan singing or dancing along with their favorite song, or posting a video of a performance (say, a kids’ school play), as long as it got enough views and brought some measurable benefit to the person posting.
We’ve already seen the music and movie companies use civil penalties written for large-scale commercial piracy to sue 14-year-olds and their families into bankruptcy, so the idea of this one day being used to jail ordinary users is hardly far-fetched.
Did anyone else laugh a little at how ridiculous this release sounds? Anyway, the Belieber wrath is like none other so if they do send Bieber to jail, they better get ready for apocalypse.