Justin Bieber going to jail? Not so fast
Justin Bieber, pop icon and the star of the documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (right), has come out against the Commercial Felony Streaming Act (S.978), which would make unauthorized online streaming of copyrighted material a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Some have been (jokingly) concerned that Bieber could end up behind bars because he has uploaded copyrighted songs on YouTube.
Bieber, however, doesn’t see S.978 as a joke. As reported by Asawin Suebsaeng in Mother Jones, at a Friday morning radio interview on Washington’s Hot 99.5 FM, the 17-year-old singer said S.978 co-sponsor Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Minnesota senator, should herself be sent to jail.
“Whoever she is, she needs to know that I’m saying she needs to be locked up – put away in cuffs. People need to have the freedom. People need to be able to sing songs. I just think that’s ridiculous… I check YouTube all the time and watch people singing my songs. I think it’s awesome.”
Suebsaeng adds that the Commercial Felony Streaming Act – endorsed by the Obama administration, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and dozens of other such organizations – is indeed “terrible legislation and even worse politics.” He asserts that as a result of the bill’s vague language, it theoretically could signal the demise of YouTube amateurs (or professionals-to-be).
Fight for the Future, whose stated goal is “to make the public’s interest vividly clear, so clear that not even the most powerful lobbyists and smartest monopolies can destroy it,” has created the website Free Bieber, featuring a picture of the singer behind bars and the tagline: “Justin faces 5 brutal years in prison.” The website then asks, “Didn’t Justin Bieber get famous by posting YouTube videos of himself singing copyrighted R&B songs? Yep.”
At Copyhype, Terry Hart takes a radically different view of the Bieber-in-Jail issue. “The individuals behind the ‘Free Bieber’ campaign are either completely ignorant about how copyright law works or being deliberately disingenuous to stir up opposition against a minor, albeit judicious, piece of legislation,” Hart wrote. “Anyone who uploads video to YouTube faces no increased risk of criminal penalties if this bill passes. Justin Bieber is not going to jail.”
However, not every one agrees with Hart about the merits of the Commercial Felony Streaming Act. As quoted in Mother Jones, Howard University law professors Lateef Mtima and Steven Jamar state the bill “supports the one-sided perspective of copyright in the digital age held by some corporate rights holders, as opposed to embracing the ecumenical perspectives of all copyright stakeholders, including users, the public at large, and those who would create new works from pre-existing material.”
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never image: Paramount Pictures
Lars von Trier: Nazi Remarks vs. French Judicial System
France is on financial brink. In fact, so is much of Europe. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Iceland have all gone Third World. Racism and xenophobia are not only a fact of life throughout the continent, but they’re frequently official government policy as well. How to deal with those humongous problems? Well, just go after a notorious filmmaker who made a stupid joke while chatting with reporters at a Cannes Film Festival press conference earlier this year.
Back in Mid May, while plugging his latest effort, Melancholia, von Trier told reporters gathered at the film’s press conference:
I… I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, absolutely, but … but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end … No, I’m just saying that I think I understand the man. He’s not what you’d call a good guy, but I … but I understand much about him and I sympathize with him a little bit. But, c’mon, I’m not for the Second World War! And I’m not against Jews — Susanne Bier is. No, not even Susanne Bier! That was also a joke.
Following an uproar, von Trier apologized: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not antisemitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a nazi.” Even so, he was banned from Cannes and discovered that Melancholia‘s Argentinean distributor had canceled their contract to release the film. Later on, the filmmaker retracted his apology as well.
According to an Agence France-Presse report, French prosecutor Jean-Michel Cailleau says von Trier hasn’t yet been charged with anything, though both French and Danish authorities are using taxpayers’ money to investigate his Nazi remarks. Additionally, Cailleau raised the possibility that charges may eventually be pressed against von Trier, affirming that “we are not staying with our arms crossed after what he said at the Cannes Film Festival.”
In case the Breaking the Waves, Dogville, and Antichrist filmmaker is eventually charged in France, he’d be accused of “defending a war crime.” That’d mean one of two things: a) M. Cailleau is one of those countless ambitious, self-serving district attorneys or facsimile desperate for publicity b) no one in the French judicial system understands English (the language von Trier used while at the Melancholia press conference).
Governments’ disregard for an individual’s freedom of speech occur just about everywhere you go. One can be charged for being obscene, for drawing a Swastika, or for what’s loosely referred to as “hate speech.” In France, where Muslim students have been expelled for wearing veils and head scarves, and where popularly elected right-wing politicians routinely attack immigrants, Islam, and gays at every opportunity they get, former sex icon Brigitte Bardot was fined for “inciting racial hatred” after badmouthing Muslims in 2008.
Well, at least Johnny Depp and Kristen Stewart weren’t arrested after using the word “rape” in interviews – the former while recently discussing photo shoots; the latter last year while making an analogy to paparazzi harassment. Both Depp and Stewart, however, had to issue official statements apologizing for their remarks. (Next time, when trying to get a point across, instead of “rape” they should use words/expressions such as kicked in the balls, stabbed in the back, murder, decapitation, war zone, dropping bombs, cataclysm, or any other ultra-violent – but non-sexual – metaphor so as not to unleash the rabid p.c. crowd.)
As a result of the French and Danish police investigations, von Trier has released a public statement claiming he’ll never talk to the media again. I’m not sure that’s to be believed … but do check it out on the next page.
Below is a very Lars von Trier-esque note (via Empire Online) the filmmaker has released in regard to his being questioned by Danish police:
“Today at 2pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges [sic] made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes.”
“The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.”
Lars von Trier
Avedøre, 5. October 2011
The doomsday drama Melancholia, which earned Kirsten Dunst a Best Actress Award at Cannes, opens via Magnolia Pictures in Los Angeles and New York on Nov. 4. Depending on how well her performance is received on this side of the Atlantic, Dunst may turn out to be a contender for the 2012 Oscar. (Back in early 1997, Emily Watson was nominated for her work in von Trier’s Breaking the Waves.) Also in the Melancholia cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, and Jesper Christensen.
‘Harry Potter’ DVDs to Be Removed from Stores
Shortly after Christmas, Warner Bros. will be pulling a Disney. According to MTV.com, all the Harry Potter movies will be removed from stores on December 29 – a mere 45 days or so following the November 11 DVD/Blu-ray release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Also becoming unavailable is the eight-film collectors edition boxed set.
Disney is notorious for keeping its animated features in vaults for several years, until it rereleases them in a new format and/or with added bonuses on home video. Warner Bros. is clearly about to emulate that business strategy.
Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is currently the biggest box office hit of 2011 both in North America and abroad, having taken in $380.54 million. Worldwide, the film’s take stands at $1.32 billion. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes star.
At this stage, it seems highly unlikely that any other movie will dethrone Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Despite the countless Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner fans out there, even The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will have trouble surpassing Deathly Hallows’ take.
Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 photo: Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros.
Janus Metz’s Armadillo
Controversial Afghanistan War Documentary ‘Armadillo’ on DVD
Janus Metz’s acclaimed and controversial war documentary Armadillo will be available on DVD via Kino Lorber on October 18. Set among Danish troops embedded in Afghanistan, Armadillo caused quite a stir in Denmark due to its less than flattering portrayal of Danish soldiers at war.
Armadillo received the top prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival’s International Critic’ Week sidebar. Additionally, it won the Danish Film Critics Association’s Bodil Award for Best Documentary, and was nominated for an European Film Award in that category.
From the Kino press release:
Armadillo is a raw and unforgettable journey into the war in Afghanistan. Mads and Daniel are Danish troops joining the NATO mission in Helmand Province. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, with Taliban fighters a stone’s throw away. Filmmaker Janus Metz is deeply embedded with the platoon, documenting first-hand the daily grind of modern warfare, tense waiting followed by intense flurries of bloodshed.
During gunfights his camera is right at the front line, recording the mortal dangers the troops face daily. Unable to tell Afghan civilians apart from combatants, the platoon’s skepticism of the humanitarian effort grows, as well as their yearning for the black and white morality of battle. Ethical lines are blurred, and a sense of besieged paranoia sets in to their warrior mentality. Armadillo is a harrowing journey into the minds of soldiers during a war without end.
The Adventures of Tintin: Thumbs Down from Several British Tintin Fans
Despite a number of positive reviews and solid box office receipts, some in the United Kingdom, where Tintin is apparently a cultural icon, haven’t been at all pleased with the way director Steven Spielberg and screenwriters Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish have brought Hergé’s intrepid reporter to the big screen. See below a couple of remarks about The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (actually featuring elements from three books: The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure).
“Coming out of the new Tintin film directed by Steven Spielberg, I found myself, for a few seconds, too stunned and sickened to speak; for I had been obliged to watch two hours of literally senseless violence being perpetrated on something I loved dearly. In fact, the sense of violation was so strong that it felt as though I had witnessed a rape.” Literary critic Nicholas Lezard in “How could they do this to Tintin?” in The Guardian.
“In one superbly executed sequence, Tintin, Haddock and Snowy the dog must steal into the cabin to pluck the keys from the hand of a sleeping sailor as the ship rolls and pitches in a heavy sea. … Yet while the big set pieces are often exuberantly handled, the human details are sorely wanting. How curious that Hergé achieved more expression with his use of ink-spot eyes and humble line drawings than a bank of computers and an army of animators were able to achieve. On this evidence, the film’s pioneering ‘performance capture’ technique is still too crude and unrefined. In capturing the butterfly, it kills it too.” Xan Brooks in The Guardian.
Distraught, Nicholas Lezard adds that “the forces of marketing, and of global idiocy, will see to” Tintin never being the same again.” And that we should all check out Tintin and the Secret of Literature author Tom McCarthy’s “subtler, but just as outraged, denunciation of the film in this Saturday’s Guardian.”
Now, unlike Kristen Stewart and Johnny Depp, Lezard won’t have to publicly apologize to the p.c. crowd for using the word “rape” in connection to his reaction to a movie. Lezard’s rape analogy had to do with a South Park episode in which the local kids accuse Spielberg and George Lucas of raping Indiana Jones in the last movie of the series. Lezard should, however, publicly apologize for referring to infantile trash like South Park in connection with a brilliant literary creation like Tintin.
The Adventures of Tintin opens in the US on December 25. Jamie Bell stars as Tintin; others in the cast include Daniel Craig, Toby Jones, Andy Serkis, Cary Elwes, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Daniel Mays.
The Adventures of Tintin picture: WETA / Paramount Pictures.