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Why Is Justin Bieber Behind Bars?

Free Bieber, Justin Bieber freebieber.tumblr.com

We could hardly belieb our eyes when we saw pictures of Justin Bieber all locked up with nowhere to go. (Don't even get us started on the facial tattoos.)

There had to be an explanation as to why the 17-year-old was all of a sudden in prison and, in case he's wondering why too, we have the answer.

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A free-speech and fair-use advocacy group called Fight for the Future has launched the Free Bieber campaign to fight congressional law S.978, which would make streaming or otherwise using copyrighted music in an online video punishable by up to five years in prison.

And, lest you forgot, Bieber blew up after impressing Usher (among others) with his homemade YouTube videos of himself singing hit R&B tunes, aka copyrighted material.

So, Fight for the Future is asking people to imagine young Bieber going to jail instead of to the upper echelons of fame for strutting his stuff—but using someone else's song to do it—on the Internet.

Free Bieber, Justin Bieber freebieber.tumblr.com

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"Tell Congress to get a clue and stop trying to jail people for singing," the group states in encouraging folks to sign its online petition. "Congress has no business making ordinary Internet users criminals for expressing themselves online."

People are also free to post their own photos and videos featuring Bieber in various lockup scenarios. So far, they've got a range of disturbing images, ranging from Bieber boarding a bus in striped prison duds, Bieber sporting massive teardrop tattoos, Jon Stewart talking about Bieber's jail sentence on The Daily Show and Bieber sharing a cell with Lil Wayne.

This is all starting to sound a little too real.

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(Originally published Oct. 19, 2011, at 7:45 p.m. PT)

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