5252373460_30fba1be3aCould hoards of teenage girls suffering from “Bieber Fever” soon be felons? Last week, heart-throb Justin Bieber’s new flick, “Never Say Never,” climbed to an impressive #2 at the box office, furthering the star’s climb to the pop culture stratosphere. At an Orlando, Florida premier of the movie, however, things were not all rainbows and kittens. A group of young adoring fans were caught recording portions of “Never Say Never” on their cell phones (query what thirteen-year-olds were doing with cell phones in the first place). The young ladies claim to have had only the purest of intentions (I mean who wouldn’t want to record a recording of Justin Bieber for their own digital diary?!?). Copyright curmudgeons, however, feel differently. What the girls didn’t know was that by taping parts of the film with their phones, they ran afoul of the Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005 and committed a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. And, as anyone reading this blog knows, ignorantia juris non excusat. If any of the girls do face charges, it wouldn’t be the first time a doting young fan suffered legal ramification for such adoration. In 2009, a Chicago woman was charged with a felony for recording parts of “Twilight New Moon” on her cell phone. Once the case drew national attention (and, of course, outrage from the hoards of vampire supporters world-wide), the charges were dropped.

Whether you think the girls deserve a mere slap on the wrist or a more serious trip to the slammer, I think we can all agree on one thing: Parents, teach your kids the F-word and the P-word, and do it soon, please.  (That’s “felony” and “piracy” for those of you whose minds were in the gutter…).

— Lauren Jacques

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