Joined: 18 Aug 2004
|Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:16 am Post subject: Recommended Intellectual Property (IP) Primers
|Recommended (Intellectual Property) IP primers:
Freedom of Expression
Overzealous Copyright Bozos and
Other Enemies of Creativity
By Kembrew Mcleod
|In 1940 (U.S. folk singer Woody) Guthrie was bombarded by Irving Berlin's jingoistic "God Bless America," which goes, in part, "From the mountains to the prairies / to the oceans white with foam / God bless America, my home sweet home." The irritated folk singer wrote a response that originally went, "From California to the New York Island / From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters / God blessed America for me." (Guthrie later changed the last line to "This land was made for you and me.") Continuing with his antiprivatization theme, in another version of this famous song Guthrie wrote:
As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no trespassin'
But on the other side... it didn't say nothing'!
Now that side was made for you and me!
He set the beautiful lyrics to a beautiful melody he learned from the Carter Family, giving birth to one of the most enduring (and endearing) folk songs of all time. Guthrie's approach is a great example of how appropriation - stealing, borrowing, whatever you want to call it - is a creative act that can have a powerful impact. Before Guthrie, the Industgrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, borrowed from popular melodies for their radical tunes, which were published and popularized in the Little Red Songbook. These songs also parodied religious hymns, such as "In the Sweet By-and-By," which was changed to, "You will eat by and by."
For Guthrie and many other folk musicians, music was politics. Guthrie was affiliated closely with the labor movement, which inspired many of his greatest songs; these songs, in turn, motivated members of the movement during trying times. That's why Guthrie famously scrawled on his guitar, "This Machine Kills Fascists." Appropriation is an important method that creative people have used to comment on the world for years, from the radical Dada art of the early 20th century to the beats and rhymes of hip-hop artists today. Guthrie drew from the culture that surrounded him and transformed, reworked, and remixed it in order to write moving songs that inspired the working class to fight for a dignified life. ...
I was surprised when (Michael Smith, general manager, Woody Guthrie Publishing) Smith told me that the song-publishing company that owns Guthrie's music denies recording artists permission to adapt his lyrics. And I was shocked when Smith defended the actions of the company, called The Richmnond Organization (TRO), even after I pointed out that Guthrie often altered other songwriters' lyrics. ...
...In a written statement attached to a published copy of his lyrics for This Land Is Your Land, Guthrie made clear his belief that it should be understood as communal property. "This song is Copyrighted in US," he wrote, "under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin' it without our permission will be mighty good friends of ours, 'cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." ...
In a dramatic turn of events, Ludlow Music, the subsidiary of TRO that controls Guthrie's most famous copyrights, backed off from its legal threats against JibJab.com's parody (This Land!, by cartoonists lampooning the 2004 U.S. election). ... More interesting was the discovery by EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) senior intellectual property attorney Fred von Lohmann that, according to his research, "This Land Is Your Land" has been in the public domain since 1973! He writes:
Fact #1: Guthrie wrote the song in 1940. At that time, the term of copyright was 28 years, renewable once for an additional twenty-eight years. Under the relevant law, the copyright term for a song begins when the song is published as sheet music. (Just performing it is not enough to trigger the clock.) Fact #2: A search of Copyright Office records shows that the copyright wasn't registered until 1956, and Ludlow filed for a renewal in 1984. Fact #3: Thanks to tips provided by musicologists who heard about this story, we discovered that Guthrie published and sold the sheet music for "This Land Is Your Land" in a pamphlet in 1945. An original copy of this mimeograph was located for us by generous volunteers who visited the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This means that the copyright in the song expired in 1973, twenty-eight years after Guthrie published the sheet music. Ludlow's attempted renewal in 1984 was eleven years tardy, which means the classic Guthrie song is in the public domain. (I'll note that Ludlow disputes this, although I've not heard any credible explanation from them.) So Guthrie's original joins "The Star Spangled Banner," "Amazing Grace," and Beethoven's Symphonies in the public domain. Come to think of it, now that "This Land Is Your Land" is in the public domain, can we make it our national anthem? That would be the most fitting ending of all. (From This Gene Is Your Gene, pgs. 23-28)
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Joined: 18 Aug 2004
|Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:14 pm Post subject:
|On the outdated theory that a bird in the hand is worth five in the nest:
From the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Writiing - Tips from the Masters:
Goodbye to All That
By Robert Graves
|It was through this Clarissa-Leopold relationship that my father met my mother. My mother told him at once that she liked Father O'Flynn, the song for writing which my father will be chiefly remembered. He had put the words to a traditional jig tune The Top of Cork Road, which he remembered from his boyhood. Sir Charles Stanford supplied a few chords for the setting. My father sold the complete rights for one guineau. Boosey, the publisher, made thousands. Sir Charles Stanford, who drew a royalty as the composer, also collected a very large sum. Recently my father has been sent a few pounds from gramophone rights. He is not bitter about all this, but has more than once impressed upon me almost religiously never to sell for a sum down the complete rights of any work of mine whatsoever. (-- pgs. 6-7) |
Of priests we can offer a charmin variety,
Far renownd for learnin and piety;
Still, Id advance ye widout impropriety,
Father OFlynn as the flowr of them all.
cho: Heres a health to you, Father OFlynn,
Slainte and slainte and slainte agin;
Powrfulest preacher, and tenderest teacher,
And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.
Dont talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
Famous forever at Greek and Latinity,
Dad and the divils and all at Divinity
Father OFlynn d make hares of them all!
Come, I venture to give ye my word,
Never the likes of his logic was heard,
Down from mythology into thayology,
Truth! and conchology if hed the call.
Och Father OFlynn, youve a wonderful way wid you,
All ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
Youve such a way wid you, Father avick.
Still for all youve so gentle a soul,
Gad, youve your flock in the grandest control,
Checking the crazy ones, coaxin onaisy ones,
Lifting the lazy ones on wid the stick.
And tho quite avoidin all foolish frivolity;
Still at all seasons of innocent jollity,
Where was the playboy could claim an equality,
At comicality, Father, wid you?
Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
"Is it lave gaiety all to the laity?
Cannot the clergy be Irishmen, too?
Scottish and Irish Songs
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