Well, obviously. But Bieber has become one of the flashpoints in a debate in the US about new legislation that could make unauthorised web streaming of copyright work a felony offence, punished by jail terms of up to five years. One of the groups campaigning against the proposed bill, Fight for the Future, seized on Justin Bieber as a case study in how the legislation might be misapplied. Its Free Bieber site points out that “Didn’t Justin Bieber get famous by posting YouTube videos of himself singing copyrighted R&B songs? Yep. If this bill passes, he could get 5 years in jail… The maximum sentence would be five-years, just for singing a cover! Other online video “crimes” could include: videos of a school play, a professional baseball game, or videos with incidental background music (even just a ringtone). Nuts, right?” However, industry lawyer Terry Hart has debunked the claims, pointing out that “someone who uploads a video to YouTube is not performing the video – YouTube is”. Source: Billboard

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  1. So if YouTube is criminally liable for “performing” Bieber’s videos, then the result is just as bad: to protect themselves, YouTube will censor all such videos. The objection to this law comes not primarily from the jail term but from the incredible restrictions on freedom of expression that will occur as a result of imposing criminal liability on user generated content sites. Let’s see Mr. Hart debunk that.

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