Internet Censorship: S.978 Could Put Bieber in Jail

If there’s one bill in Congress that pits people of all political stripes against big corporations and the politicians they fund, S.978 is it. The word around the campfire is that the bill is set to be introduced in The House of Representatives this Wednesday (October 26, 2011). The bill would make web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a prison sentence of up to 5 years. That means you could go to jail for posting a video to YouTube with the wrong background music, all in the name of protecting big media companies that don’t want to update their old business models for the age of peer-to-peer sharing.

Fight for the Future, a new organization from some of the folks who helped built OpenCongress, are launching today with a pretty hilarious, but also very serious, take on the bill. As they explain, if this bill is enacted even big-label pop stars who launched their careers doing covers, like Justin Bieber, could face jail time. From their 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.

Thing is, this isn’t some fringe bill with no chance of passing. It has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, word in the intellectual-property scene is that a companion version is about to be introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21], the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House. Add to that the millions of dollars that corporate backers of the bill are donating to Congress and it becomes even easier to imagine this thing being pushed through.

Fight for the future is collecting signatures on a petition to Congress in opposition to this bills. Of course you can also use the OpenCongress Contact-Congress platform to email your members of Congress about it.

The Money Trail, Supporters and Opposition

Interests that support this bill:

  • Book, newspaper & periodical publishing
  • Printing and publishing (printed & online)
  • Recorded Music & music production
  • Movie Theaters
  • Entertainment Industry/Broadcast & Motion Pictures
  • Commercial TV & radio stations
  • TV production & distribution
  • Telecommunications
  • Computer software
  • Attorneys & law firms
  • General business association
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Professional sports, arenas & related equip & svcs
  • Teamsters union
  • Entertainment unions

Top recipients for ALL supporting interest groups:

Name Amount Received
Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $2,335,183
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $2,016,955
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $1,650,251
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $1,163,223
Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $767,772
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $737,110
Sen. Robert Portman [R, OH] $714,176
Sen. Mark Kirk [R, IL] $471,721
Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR] $423,313
Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA] $413,000
Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] $454,598
Rep. Bruce Braley [D, IA-1] $360,989
Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8] $320,580
Rep. Patrick Meehan [R, PA-7] $249,800
Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13] $243,319
Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $239,300
Rep. John Barrow [D, GA-12] $218,080
Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9] $216,748
Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] $213,550
Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14] $209,610

Specific Organizations Supporting S.978

  • American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
  • Directors Guild of America
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States
  • Screen Actors Guild
  • Motion Picture Association of America
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Independent Film and Television Alliance
  • National Association of Theatre Owners
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • American Federation of Musicians
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • NBC Universal
  • Viacom
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Association of Independent Music Publishers
  • American Photographic Artists
  • Broadcast Music, Inc.
  • Business Software Alliance
  • CBS Corporation
  • Church Music Publishers Association
  • Entertainment Software Association
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
  • National Association of Broadcasters
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • National Music Publishers’ Association
  • National Basketball Association
  • News America Holdings
  • Newspaper Association of America
  • Picture Archive Council of America
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Professional School Photographers Association
  • Reed Elsevier
  • PPL & VPL
  • SESAC
  • Software & Information Industry Association
  • Universal Music Group
  • Magazine Publishers of America
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Writers Guild of America, West
  • U. S. Chamber of Commerce
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Entertainment Merchants Association
  • Global Intellectual Property Center
  • Time Warner
  • AT&T

Interests that oppose this bill:

  • Human Rights
Name Amount Received
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $2,200
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $600
Sen. Al Franken [D, MN] $500
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $500
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $250
Sen. Kay Hagan [D, NC] $0
Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN] $0
Sen. John Isakson [R, GA] $0
Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] $0
Sen. James Risch [R, ID] $0
Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] $250
Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1] $250
Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $250
Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5] $0
Rep. Susan Davis [D, CA-53] $0
Rep. John Dingell [D, MI-15] $0
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6] $0
Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5] $0
Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6] $0
Rep. Xavier Becerra [D, CA-31] $0
  • Militias & Anti-Government Groups
  • Consumer groups
Name Amount Received
Sen. Richard Burr [R, NC] $0
Sen. John Isakson [R, GA] $0
Sen. Robert Casey [D, PA] $0
Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] $0
Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN] $0
Sen. Kay Hagan [D, NC] $0
Sen. Mike Johanns [R, NE] $0
Sen. James Risch [R, ID] $0
Sen. Mark Begich [D, AK] $0
Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA] $0
Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D, OR-3] $0
Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5] $0
Rep. Xavier Becerra [D, CA-31] $0
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6] $0
Rep. Susan Davis [D, CA-53] $0
Rep. John Dingell [D, MI-15] $0
Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6] $0
Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5] $0
Rep. John Duncan [R, TN-2] $0
Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1] $0

Top recipients for ALL opposing interest groups:

Name Amount Received
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $2,200
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $600
Sen. Al Franken [D, MN] $500
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $500
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $250
Sen. Kay Hagan [D, NC] $0
Sen. John Barrasso [R, WY] $0
Sen. John Isakson [R, GA] $0
Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN] $0
Sen. James Risch [R, ID] $0
Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] $250
Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1] $250
Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $250
Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5] $0
Rep. John Dingell [D, MI-15] $0
Rep. Susan Davis [D, CA-53] $0
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6] $0
Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5] $0
Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6] $0
Rep. Xavier Becerra [D, CA-31] $0

Specific Organizations Opposing S.978

 

Information provided by Open Congress, and used under the Creative Commons license.
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Posted in Corporate Censorship, Human Rights, Internet Censorship
14 comments on “Internet Censorship: S.978 Could Put Bieber in Jail
  1. […] more here: Internet Censorship: S.978 Could Put Bieber in Jail « Censorship in … var AdBrite_Title_Color = '000000'; var AdBrite_Text_Color = '000000'; var […]

  2. […] by the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, but has not yet seen any further action. According to reports, however, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, will unveil a companion bill to S. 978 on […]

  3. […] action. according to reports, however, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, will unveil a […]

  4. […] Senate Judiciary Committee in June, though has not nonetheless seen any serve action. According to reports, however, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, will betray a messenger check to S. 978 on […]

  5. Nicole says:

    I don’t think you guys should pass this law because SOOOO many people do covers with different back ground music SO WHAT!! Their covers they are technically not stealing the song. They just want people to know that they sing! Beliebers (like me) don’t want Justin to go to jail for something stupid like putting a cover by a famous artist on youtube. If you ask the artist they are probably honored to have a legend such as Justin singing one of their songs! PLEASE DONT PASS THE LAW!!!

  6. […] Senate Judiciary Committee in June, though has not nonetheless seen any serve action. According to reports, however, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, will betray a messenger check to S. 978 on […]

  7. […] CensorshipAmerica.com settled that a check could be introduced into a House of Representatives on Wednesday, Oct. 26. […]

  8. […] CensorshipAmerica.com settled that a check could be introduced into a House of Representatives on Wednesday, Oct. 26. […]

  9. […] by the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, but has not yet seen any further action. According to reports, however, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, will unveil a companion bill to S. 978 on […]

  10. Natka says:

    Julian Assange is a very good man. Many people would bitch spilled with H2SO4.
    This indictment is a mockery of the real victims of rape. Because of this boycott all products of Sweden.

  11. […] CensorshipAmerica.com stated that the bill could be introduced into the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Oct. 26. […]

  12. […] an IP rightsholder (vaguely defined – could be Justin Bieber worried about his publicity rights) thinks you meet the criteria and that it is in some way harmed, it can send a notice claiming as […]

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