Justin Bieber Sends Cease & Desist To FreeBieber Campaign

from the bieber-fever dept

Apparently Justin Bieber has no interest in being kept out of jail. You may recall that the Fight for the Future folks recently started a satirical campaign against the felony streaming bill (S.978 in the Senate, and a part of the SOPA bill in the House) by jokingly launching a campaign to "free Justin Bieber", noting that the bill, as written, could be interpreted to mean that Justin Bieber could have been guilty of committing a felony with his early videos that he put up on YouTube, which helped to really create Justin Bieber. Those videos meet the standards set in the law for criminal copyright infringement, which drives home just how ridiculous the bill is.

Apparently, Justin Bieber (or, at least, his lawyers) apparently would prefer not to be used to defend against draconian, overreaching copyright legislation. They sent Fight for the Future a cease and desist letter, claiming that such a use infringes on a variety of his rights, including (of course) publicity rights and his privacy rights.

Of course, as the EFF writes in its response (embedded below), it appears that Bieber's lawyers are clearly stretching the interpretation of various laws... likely hoping that by sending the legal nastygram, it would cause the FreeBieber team to stop. But that's not what's happening. They're standing behind the use of Bieber and the entire effort:
With respect to the privacy claims, we cannot fathom how this political campaign in any way intrudes on any privacy right your extremely public client might assert. As for the purported right of publicity violations, state laws have long recognized that a celebrity's interest in his or her image must be balanced against the public interest in free speech.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    The video in question can and does create the impression that Beiber supports the cause - which he apparently does not. That by itself should be more than enough to get it pulled.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:06am

      Re:

      Simply because his image appears in the film? The standard must be higher than that otherwise it would be impossible to reference a person to make a point ever.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re:

        It isn't only that his image appears, rather that his name and likeness are used as the "front" for the campaign. "Free Beiber" suggests that the Beebs is somehow locked up and wants to be freed, which from the legal nastygram suggests is just not true.

        Using his name, his likeness, and such as the front of the campaign crosses the line. I am actually sort of disappointed in the EFF on this one, because really they should be about fighting the fight, and not about creating new issues to deal with.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's your argument, that someone might actually think Beiber is in jail? That's pretty weak, certainly not the open and shut you make it out to be. Even if there was actually a significant risk of confusion over Beiber's status that wouldn't be the end of the debate. It's not automatically a right of publicity violation to say 'Biber is in jail' even if he's not just because he's famous.

          I don't think 1st amendment issues are 'new issues' EFF is 'creating' as much as they've always been an issue with copyright and publicity right enforcement that the EFF addresses when they are created by others, in this case Beiber's lawyers.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            EFF is creating an issue (with Beiber) that didn't exist before their campaign. They shouldn't be the ones creating the problems, should they?

            As for Beiber, if he doesn't want his name associated with the campaign, why should he be forced to do so? Can we use him to sell used cars too?

             

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              Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The EFF didn't create the issue, they're just continuing the issue created by the SOPA bill.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yawn. Let me add this: If the campaign was called "free corey smith" would it be as successful or high profile? If the answer is no, then you know they are trading of Beiber's good name, and you know that the EFF lawyer is being somewhat less than honest about it.

                 

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                  Jay (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  *Yawn*

                  He made money off of success on Youtube, and has come out openly against the antistreaming bill. Obviously, Bieber's good name is not being damaged by pointing out how the way he paved for success is being taken away for others.

                   

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it was being called Free Me by Justin Beiber you may have a point. Free Beiber suggests that there is a group of people who wish to free Justin Beiber from something. It doesn't imply in any way that he's supporting it or wants to be freed.

           

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          Gwiz (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It isn't only that his image appears, rather that his name and likeness are used as the "front" for the campaign. "Free Beiber" suggests that the Beebs is somehow locked up and wants to be freed, which from the legal nastygram suggests is just not true.

          Yeah, I know what you mean there. I thought that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement was an advertising push from the New York commercial real estate folks who wanted to fill all those empty office spaces.

          But, then again, I might just be a moron in a hurry.

           

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          btr1701 (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Using his name, his likeness, and such as
          > the front of the campaign crosses the line.

          The law seems to find differently than you:

          As for the purported right of publicity violations, state laws have long recognized that a celebrity's interest in his or her image must be balanced against the public's interest in free speech. For example, the Caifornia Code explicitly immunizes uses made with the celebrity's consent "in connection with any news, public affairs, or sports broadcast or account, or ANY POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. (emphasis added) Cal. Civ. Code 3344(d). Moreover, fair uses of Mr. Bieber's likeness-- such as those on display at the freebieber.org website-- are subject to the fullest 1st Amendment protections. Hoffman v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., 255 F.3d 1180, 1186 (9th Cir. 2001); Comedy III Prods., Inc. v. Saderup, 25 Cal. 4th 387, 134 (Cal. 2001) ("the very importance of celebrities in society means that the right of publicity has the potential of censoring significant expression by suppressing alternative versions of celebrity images that are iconoclastic, irreverent, or otherwise attempt to redefine the celebrity's meaning"). This is especially true where, as here, the images are transformative and obviously do not impinge on the celebrity's market for his own image. Id. at 405; Gionfriddo v. Major League Baseball, 94 Cal. App. 4th 400, 415 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001).

           

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          FuzzyDuck, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If this sort of campaign weren't allowed to refer to public figures, than you wouldn't be allowed to make any clip about any public figure. If you make a clip to criticize the president, you're using his name and appearance, violating his "privacy" and "publicity rights"...

           

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      Designerfx (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      Just because you state this, doesn't mean it's fact. Quite the opposite. also, hello bieber lawyer and/or someone on that legal team! we know how this works.

      "keep bieber free from copyright" doesn't mean bieber has anything to do with the cause other than being affected by it.

       

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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Do as I say, not as I do

    Maybe Justin is a belieber in the old phrase "do as I say, not as I do"?

     

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    AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    LOL... Dude's balls haven't dropped, and he's already sending cease and desist letters. America's funking up faster than an out-house at a chili cook off!

     

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    Doubletwist (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    I don't know, this is a law that could have prevented the Justin Beiber phenomenon. That's a pretty strong argument in favor of it if you ask me. :)

    /sorry I just couldn't resist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Apparently little rich boy forgot where he came from. He needs to come out against this law. He owes this to future reiterations of himself.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    Beiber and his managers are now insiders who benefit from the existing system. Now their first instinct is to pull up the ladders to keep others from climbing aboard.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Dear Beebs,
    Please show us all how serious you are. Retire from the public eye and regain your precious privacy.

    kthksbai
    TAC

     

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    Overcast (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    haha, it's like the RIAA fighting itself.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    This is awesome. Fuck Shaw, Lessig et al. for their cynical attempt at using artists to further their own selfish agenda.

    Some people are so blinded by greed that can't tell when karma has finally arrived to slap them in the face.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Teh Man?

    Proof perhaps that living in a police state sucks!... right up until you become one of the people who benefit from said police state.

     

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    The Logician (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    The term "Beiber" may come to be known to refer to the act of attacking in some fashion those who are attempting to support you. Much as the legacy entertainment industries do to their customers. They choose to Beiber them rather than address their needs and concerns.

     

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    iamtheky (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Dear Ms. Mcsherry,

    I realize you are a lawyer and located on Wilshire Blvd. But it is in California, where putting 'Esquire' after your name makes you look as douchetastic as the person you are responding to.

    Unless of course you are Bill S. Preston, Esquire.

     

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    Hannah B. (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Bieber's views

    "Whoever she is, she needs to know that Im saying she needs to be locked up, put away in cuffs." - Justin Bieber on Senator Amy Klobuchar's efforts to pass the copyright bill.

    Somehow, I don't think he minds this parody all that much, but the suits in charge of him very well might.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/justin-bieber-amy-klobuchar-needs-to-be-locked- up-audio.php

     

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    Digitari, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    RE

    I hope it passes, and is made retro active as well, then toss Biebers butt in the slam, and forget about him....

    "well, we tried to help, however.........

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Although his music makes my ears bleed, I have some newfound respect for this kid:

    http://arstechnica.com/#!/tech-policy/news/2011/10/justin-bieber-streaming-bill-author-shoul d-be-locked-up.ars

     

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