Unusual laws still in swing

writer Ash Thomas, Editor in Chief

In some states, it’s illegal to take a bite out of someone else’s burger. In Texas, it’s illegal to drive without windshield wipers. You don’t even have to have a windshield, but you have to have the wipers! Here are some more wacky ideas that were somehow made into laws.

  1. It is illegal to connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network without permission.

Yes, it is something all of us do and yes, it is illegal. We all probably know this to some extent, but most of us choose to ignore it. If a network doesn’t have a password, it’s basically free game, right? Wrong. If the Wi-Fi network is not yours, is unsecured, and you’re on it without the owner knowing or without following the guidelines, you’re breaking the law. Whether you’re connecting to your neighbor’s Internet or you’re across the street from a Starbucks just barely accessing theirs.


  1. It is illegal to own a permanent marker.

Well actually, it is illegal to have one in public. Because obviously if you possess a “broad-tipped indelible marker” there must be some sort of graffiti somewhere in the world that belongs to you. In some states, such as California (where you can buy weed with a doctor’s note, mind you), it’s illegal to even buy one if you’re a minor. This rule goes the same for spray paint.


  1. It is illegal to write “disturbing” material.

Basically, in some states, if you write something that could freak someone else out, you could get in trouble. A lot of trouble, too. If someone reads it, whether it is public or not, and finds it troubling to the wellbeing of their soul you could face 30 days of jail time and a $1,500 fine. For that, I think I’ll just stick to writing about unicorns and weird laws.


  1. It is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday” in public.

This might be the strangest one of all. Happy birthday is so well known that you would think no one would be allowed to get testy about its use, but of course there’s someone out there somewhere willing to ruin the party and bring in the cash. It’s copyrighted. According to this specific law, you have to pay anytime the song is sung “where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances are gathered”. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) requested that a group of camping Girl Scouts pay royalties for singing “Happy Birthday” around the campfire as well as a few other well-known classics. So if you’ve ever wondered why restaurants make up their own knock-off birthday song, it is because they do not want to get sued.