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

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 28 Oct 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).

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.