Hear about this? The world's gone mad!
Rickrolling bill passed in US senate
by Sheila Primula
US senators voted in favour of a bill outlawing the increasingly popular internet practice of "Rickrolling" yesterday.
Rickrolling, an internet meme that has become widespread in recent months, involves using disguised hyperlinks to direct unsuspecting internet users to YouTube videos of Rick Astley singing his 1987 hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.
But now Congress has outlawed the practice, those found directing others to Rick Astley videos must explain the exact nature of disseminated links to the intended recipient – or face a five-year prison sentence.
It is thought the law came about partly as the result of a cross-party report claiming productivity in Capitol Hill had decreased by nearly 50% in February because congressmen were falling for the prank so often. The investigation also revealed that a number of the senders were senators themselves.
"It was getting ridiculous," said Senator Richard Hamlin. "It reached the stage when even links to important briefing documents turned out to be Rickrolls. Even when you suspected a fake, you had to entertain the possibility that you were receiving something genuine. And most of the time, that wasn't the case. In the end I had to employ a second secretary whose sole job was to filter out the Rickrolls."
Some slammed the new legislation as a violation of their constitutional rights. "Freedom of speech is at stake here," said Doris Legg, president of the Society for Rickrolling Rights, a lobby group set up to combat the anti-Rickrolling drive. "Jokingly sending links to Rick Astley videos to people is perfectly harmless. The next thing you know, they'll be burning books and invading Poland."
Senator Hamlin rejected Legg's argument. "This new law is an important step forward in internet safety," he said. "We need to protect the American people from themselves – and Rick Astley."