I just got done with a post about a stupid lawsuit and I immediately happened on another. The heirs of the author of Soft Kitty, often uses in the TV show Big Bang Theory, are trying to get their paws on some of the show’s cash. (Yes, Sheldon that is sarcasm) Just in case, you don’t know about the song or the show.
Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty
Personally, I love The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper is an iconic character, the show is well written and I watch it regularly. I don’t like seeing Big Bang Theory lawsuit when I search Google. I for hope they don’t get scratched too badly on this one. (Yes Sheldon that was satire.) Continue reading “Big Bang Theory Lawsuit”→
Like What the Heck? What Happened to Common Sense?
I am reading an article about another law suite at Techdirt. This time, over Abbott and Costello’s famous skit “Who’s On First ?“. It was put in as a bit in play, Hand of God. The right owners are not happy with that and won’t stand for it. Just in case you haven’t heard of it. Here it is.
Who’s On First
In my humble opinion, it is a funny skit. I even recall a few local talents “covering” it. While some think covering a work is theft, I side with John Lennon. In a letter responding to the Fab Four “ripping off” black musicians:
Money’, ‘Twist ‘n’ Shout’, ‘You really got a hold on me’ etc, were all numbers we (the Beatles) used to sing in the dancehalls around Britain, mainly Liverpool. It was only natural that we tried to do it as near to the record as we could – i always wished we could have done them even closer to the original. We didn’t sing our own songs in the early days – they weren’t good enough – the one thing we always did was to make it known that these were black originals, we loved the music and wanted to spread it in any way we could. in the ’50s there were few people listening to blues – R + B – rock and roll, in America as well as Britain. People like – Eric Burdons Animals – Micks Stones – and us drank ate and slept the music, and also recorded it, many kids were turned on to black music by us.
When I thought to blog this, I was going to use the cover I mentioned, not the original. Since the suit is over the skit being used in a play, performed by a sock puppet, I had second thoughts. I would hate to tempt the legal vultures another target. They seem willing to go after anything remotely similar.Take care even asking “Who’s on First?” at a real ball game. I am also wondering why they didn’t go after
Take care even asking “Who’s on First?” at a real ball game. I am also wondering why they didn’t go after Eight is Enough when they titled an episode “Who’s On First ?”. Yeah, I know you can’t copyright a title but the episode did involve a stage, human, and the it is a comedy series… not a serious play with a sock puppet such as the one in question here.
The suit is dismissed but, I still have issues with it. For now, let us assume that the “right holders” are just not keen on love-ins. That, I would be okay with, not fine but, barely okay. After all, I would be a hypocrite if I did not respect their freedom of expression. Haters have a right to hate. People have a right to be greedy and selfish. Why is the case now tossed? In short, because it was deemed not cause any harm or loss to the copyright holders.
While I am pleased that the court recognizes that a sock puppet in a play is not going to rob cash from the Abbott and Costello heirs. It is what they make no statement about that has me irked. Clearly, common sense was not in the courtroom.
As Mike Masnick points out in his article:
Who actually wrote the skit, is questionable Back to Vaudeville days, jokes like this were often passed around and used by other acts as well. Most likely the work is public domain.
It was performed by on of the famous duo before they even teamed up. After they teamed up it became one of their signature skits. After that, its performance in certain movies was copyrighted, by Universal and not by the duo.
The rights transferred to the heirs were not for the skit in general, only for its performance in two movies and only for the skit specifically.
The case was dismissed, more or less, siding with the play.
Mike Masnick has more details on why the case lacks legal standing, but I am focusing on only the points above. Those regarding holding the rights and ownership. So, if the above are true:
If copyright is given to content creators how could the rights be given to Universal?
Bud Abbott reportedly stated that was taken from an old routine “Who’s The Boss ?&qout;. His wife recalls him performing it with another comedian before Costello. Who wrote the skit? (Wikipedia)
If this is a play, what about performance rights?
Why is this not a frivolous lawsuit… nevermind, I guess it is.
Like Mr. Masnick, I am at a loss as to why the court doesn’t rule on public domain status of the skit.
I think, if we knew the original creator of the skit, we should put the blame on that individual. Clearly, they forgot to add more lines;
“What about Sense, you know, Common Sense?”
“Oh, he left the team years ago”
“Yeah, when did he leave?”
“Right after Universal got a copyright on this ancient skit”
This is a re-post from the days before MovableType assisted me in wiping out Lumpy’s Corner and starting over. To be truthful, I could have recovered the entire old blog, but so much of it is terribly dated. Instead, I re-write some of the better ones from time to time.
A Tragic Loss – The Passing of Mr. Common Sense
Originally posted 2005.02.26
I got this in an e-mail from Marz…
I almost never forward such e-mails but I actually forwarded this one and even posted it on Phoenix’s FFAF (Free for all Friday) blog (now defunct)… It is classic…
Today we mourn the passing of our beloved old friend, Mr. Common Sense.
Mr. Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in Bureaucratic Red Tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such value lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn’t always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spendmore than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge). His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. – Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Mr. Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers, My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
If you still remember him, pass this on; if not, join the majority and do nothing.