Remember this guy?
Well, his name is Gary Brolsma, and, depending on your opinion of his ear-worm lip-synching video, you may or may not be pleased to hear that he might end up on the Copyright Office’s “Most Wanted” list. That’s right: the United States Senate wants to change unauthorized “public performances” of copyrighted works from a civil to a criminal infraction. A bill that would wreak this change has been introduced by Senators Christopher Coons, John Cornyn and Amy Klobuchar. Sadly, too, this bill has garnered support from Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel.
Apparently, the law is meant to target “real pirates”—those who enable streaming of large amounts of copyrighted content without paying royalties for the use of that content—but there’s nothing in the bill that would expressly exempt the “Numa Numa” kid from prosecution: he might just get off with a light sentence. Oh, and maybe he’s safe because the song he uses, “Dragostea Din Tei” is by a Moldovan pop group, sung in Romanian. Moldova is not a member of the Berne Convention, so the US has no real obligation to respect its intellectual property rights. Maybe Gary Brolsma is smarter than that video might suggest. Let’s hope so: I don’t give him great odds in prison.