Ladies, yes -- Cracked.com and its awesome team set me onto this interesting post, via the likewise fabulous Buzzfeed.com, because the viral goodness always comes from somewhere! That being said, laws are there to help us, to keep us safe, to make us behave, and for lots of other good reasons – but some of them are lame. Worse, some of them are so vague that there's absolutely no way to keep from breaking them. I've got six of them right here, and I can safely say that I'm guilty of every single one of them. Please don't turn me in, because I'll have to turn around and rat on you, too – and I don't want to be the jailhouse snitch. It's a way better idea just to take a look at some of the laws you've probably broken, be aware of them, and go on offending – but secretly!
All right, technically you've only broken this law if you've done this in public. So … show of hands – all of you, am I right? Public performances of the song are illegal due to the fact that it's copyrighted. Technically it's only a problem if someone's making money on it, so – oh, but wait, what about servers? Wait staff? The animals at Billy Bob's Wonderland, Chuck E. Cheese, and Disneyland? What about clowns? Considering that a bunch of Girl Scouts got sued for singing it around a campfire, not even the clowns are safe. Personally, I think someone had a grudge because of the price of Samoas, but that's just me.
If you use cell phones, tablets, or laptops to connect to the internet in myriad places, you are breaking the law. Any time any of these devices connects you without asking for a password while you're out and about, it's technically illegal. It breaks the laws put forth in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which is incredibly vague, hard to read, and even harder to understand. The laws therein do apply to any wireless routers, especially if you're not authorized to gain access to them. I bet some of you are breaking this law right now, huh? There's a cop over your shoulder!
If you're an author who has ever penned a story about the end of the world, zombies attacking the city, or vampires who sparkle in the sunlight, beware. Writing any material that could be considered “disturbing” is breaking the law. The good news is that it only applies to certain states. The bad news is that in these states – such as Illinois, where this falls under “disorderly conduct” – the law makes it illegal to write anything that can freak out or disturb anyone else, and it doesn't matter if it's never published. If someone reads it and gets the creeps from it, that's all she wrote.
If you have a permanent marker of any kind on your person in public, you are a bad person and should go to jail, because you might create graffiti with it. Why would you do that? What kind of person are you?! But really, from cans of spray paint to permanent markers – Sharpies included – it's actually illegal to have them in a public place. You might deface something. That's just reprehensible.
Now, I'm sure everyone knows that pretending to be someone else on the internet is bad news, but as it happens, using any kind of fake name online is technically illegal. Many people employ a fake identity on their blogs, Xbox accounts, Facebooks, and other things, typically to keep things private. Certainly if you play any online games – like, oh, World of Warcraft – you have a user name with a whole other personality attached to it. And that's technically illegal, thanks to the very vague Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, again. Role players, beware!
Let's say you're playing poker with the girls, or nickel-a-point hearts or something. Let's say you're wagering a little cash on the game. Well, you could go to jail because it's totally illegal. Yeah, even friendly gambling that doesn't involve Vegas or bookies or anything. You can thank the Illegal Gambling Act for 1970 for that, so try not to make any of those little wagers in public. You never know who's listening!
I'm sure there are a lot of other inane, easy to break laws out there, but I think these are the most relevant of our time. Now, I want you to be honest – how many of these have you broken? Are you willing to let me know which ones? I promise, even if you comment as an Anon and thus commit number 5, I promise I won't tell!
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