February 16, 2011 / 8:37 PM / 8 years ago

Justin Bieber fans accused of pirating concert film

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Justin Bieber fans might have gone a little too far in worshipping the teen idol.

At a recent VIP screening in Orlando of Bieber’s new film, “Never Say Never,” a bunch of his fans apparently recorded portions of the movie while documenting the big event on their cellphones.

A local columnist for The Examiner took the opportunity to scold their parents for not teaching their kids the commandment, “Thou Shall Not Steal,” which led to a suggestion that some of those law-breaking teenage girls should get three years in prison for committing copyright infringement.

The light-hearted suggestion drew a serious-minded response.

“The Bieber fans aren’t stealing anything,” says Mike Masnick at Techdirt, a technology blog. “What they’re doing is sharing with their friends... What they’re sharing is the experience of going to see the film.”

But if Bieber’s teenage pirates had been led away in handcuffs from the Orlando theater, it wouldn’t have been the first time that someone was arrested for sharing/stealing the “experience” of a movie.

In late 2009, a Chicago woman was briefly charged with a felony for using a digital recording device during a screening of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” at her sister’s birthday party. The charges were dismissed after it became a national sensation, but then the woman turned around and sued the movie theater for emotional distress. Late last year, after the theater answered the complaint by saying the woman was contributorily negligent in the ordeal, the case settled.

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