Bieber wades into piracy debate

Bill makes profit from illegal streaming a felony

Opponents of new anti-piracy legislation are turning to a music sensation to make their point that the proposed law would be an overreach: Justin Bieber, who weighed in during an interview with a Washington, D.C., music station.

Bieber said that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) should be “locked up” for sponsoring a bill that would make profiting from illegal streaming of copyrighted content a felony.

“People need to have the freedom…people need to be able to sing songs. I just think that’s ridiculous,” he said.

But there’s some question as to how much the 17-year-old Canadian knows about the legislation. Bieber appeared to have been informed about the bill by the radio show host and had to be told that one of its chief sponsors is a woman, not a man.

The advocacy group Fight for the Future has been using Bieber’s name and image on a website called FreeBieber.org, claiming that even user-generated videos of fans covering songs, which helped skyrocket Bieber to fame, would risk felony charges. Although Bieber was on the radio blasting the proposed legislation, his lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fight for the Future, claiming that they were violating his trademark, publicity and privacy rights in their campaign against the bill.

Advocates of the legislation, pending in the Senate and introduced in the House, say that Bieber and Fight for the Future are mischaracterizing what the bill would do.

A spokeswoman for Klobuchar told the StarTribune in Minneapolis, “Justin Bieber must have been misled about the content of this bill. It’s not about people posting their personal work to the Web. The bill only covers the intentional commercial theft of things like books, commercial music and movies, including foreign piracy.”