Honestly, you can’t even make this up. The not-for-profit group, Fight for the Future, has stirred up a mini-controversy of their HILARIOUS portrayal of pop singer, Justin Bieber, and the fate that could await him if Congress passes the “illegal streaming bill.” The law offices of Myman, Greenspan, Fineman, Fox, Rosenberg & Light LLC have taken issue with the use of Bieber’s “trademark, privacy, and publicity rights” in the clearly satirical site’s very serious message.
For those unfamiliar, Senate Bill 978 would make it a felony to “perform [publicly] any copyrighted material,” like say R&B cover songs on YouTube. If passed, the proposed bill would make any willful infringement of copyright punishable by up to 5 years in prison. I’m sure that’ll go over well while in prison.
Not a group to just keel over, the EFF has stepped up and answered the complaint against Fight for the Future and would like to remind the good lawyers at Myman, Greenspan, and-the-whole-bunch-of-you, that the use of a public figure in the context of a political campaign is protected under fair use and a little thing called the First Amendment. But the money quote actually comes in response to the complaint that this campaign would somehow affect Bieber’s privacy:
[box_dark]With respect to the privacyclaim, we cannot fathom how this political campaign in any way intrudes on any privacyright your extremely public client might assert[/box_dark].
The complaint filed against Fight for the Future clearly seems baseless and without merit; hopefully this will be the end of the frivolous suit but somehow, I highly doubt it. Whether or not Bieber’s agrees with what Fight for the Future is trying to accomplish here, it’s pretty clear that they are within their legal rights to use his “likeness” in this way. But hey, maybe Bieber’s fans are the type to never illegally perform copyrighted material… right?
EFF Letter: https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/Letter_EFF_to_Rosenberg_10.27.11.pdf
EFF : https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/10/free-freebieberorg-fight-future-faces-bogus-legal-threats
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