You May be surprised to hear that a lot of things you do that you think are perfectly innocent may, in fact, be illegal.
- Imagine this scene, you’re in the pub with your mates watching the game, and you decide to make a bet on the game’s outcome. If you bet over $2000 you just broke the law and it can land you up to 10 years in prison. This actually happened in 2005 when a cop overheard a guy named Sal Culosi make a bet of over $2000 in a bar. The next morning a SWAT team arrived at his doorstep to arrest him and shot him through the heart.
- Connecting to unsecure WIFI networks. Connecting to any wireless network you don’t own or have permission to use even if it isn’t password protected can land you in prison for at least 2 years and may have to pay up to $10,000 fine. Considering that most modern phones and wireless devices automatically seek out and connect to nearby Wi-Fi networks makes this an extremely easy law to break. It’s extremely unlikely you’ll actually be caught in the act, despite this there have been at least 4 known cases in the US where people have been arrested and locked up for using other people’s WIFI
- Using a fake name online. It may sound stupid, but the next time you sign up to a website using a fake name you have actually broken the law. It’s considered illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to fake your identity online and can net you between 5 and 20years in prison
- Writing a Disturbing material. This doesn’t apply everywhere but in some US states for example Illinois it is illegal to write “disturbing fiction”. It doesn’t even matter if you publish it or not, if someone finds disturbing material that you’ve written and finds it offensive you could be fined up to $1,500 and face up to 30 days in jail. It’s even worse in Oklahoma, where you face up to 10 years in prison for writing a fictional story where in a person gets injured or killed.
- This is a peculiar law you’ve probably broken countless times in your life. In the UK and certain US states, such as Alaska, it is actually illegal to be drunk in a pub or a bar. The law defines being drunk as having “ lost steady self-control” although very few people are ever prosecuted for this, in practice the courts use markers such as glazed eyes, slurred speech and unsteadiness to determine if one is properly badgered enough to face charges for being drunk in a pub
- It is illegal to sing Happy Birthday in public. Why? Because it’s copyrighted. In 1988 Warner Chappell music purchased the rights to the song for $25 million dollars. Meaning restaurants that paly the song has to pay royalties to warner. Collectively these royalties net Warner a handsome $2 million dollars a year. In 1995 the American Society of Composers, authors, and publishers tried to extort money from 2,300 Girl Scout groups because they regularly sang Happy Birthday around the campfire without paying royalties. However the American press released a PR nightmare upon ASCAP and they quickly backed down once they realised what utter tits they were being
- And finally. In most of the US it’s illegal to possess a permanent marker or aerosol can in public if you are under the age of 18. So if you ever took part in an arts and crafts day as a child you’re technically a hardened criminal. There was a controversial case in 2010 when a 13 year old Oklahoma City boy was arrested for using a permanent marker in class. The teen was writing on a piece of paper using a permanent marker and the ink had bled through onto the desk underneath. His teacher actually made a citizen’s arrest on the kid and he was handed over to the police and arrested