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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”
While the Internet is about many things, cute kittie photos, viral videos and, unfortunately, Rule 34. It also a great tool for freedom of expression, fair use and sharing information. True, it can harbor pirates, those who break copyright laws, but freedom of expression is a double-edged sword. I can’t ban the Koran and still, justly and fairly, have my Bible. In order to function, it must be completely open and accessible to all, equally and fairly.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way. There are some who believe in suppression of ideas, filtering and censorship. I call bullshit. Let me take my chances with that sword. Continue reading “The Dancing Baby Wins!”→
I can’t help it, I got that One of These Things Doesn’t Belong song from Sesame Street stuck in my head. Geez, I hope I don’t have to pay a royalty on the use of the title. Sounds paranoid and ridiculous, or is it?
I am digging through some old posts and came across one referencing an article about someone being sued for refilling an ink cartridge. It seems that since the Lexmark cartridge was labeled “single use” the consumer is liable for not using it as agreed. That story goes back to 2005. Some folks back then were saying that the courts would not tolerate such for long and that things would change. Have they?
I am no attorney but it seems that copyright and patent law is far removed from any intelligent approach to fostering new technology and innovation. Historically speaking, such law is a rather new concept. Perhaps it is just a bad idea and we should consider something more intelligent?
First of all, I wish to make one thing very clear. I DO NOT endorse, desire, nor support illegal activity. I wish that people would abide by copyright laws and respect the legal protections of others. With that in mind, I must also state that I am even more against any branch of government or any other organization repressing, impeding or violating the rights of the individual. I consider these rights sacred, divine and protected by the highest law of the land. I consider myself blessed and fortunate to live in “the land of the free” and feel any breach of the rights of an individual’s rights is a tragic wrong.
The Constitution of The United States of America is a beautiful document. It was and is the greatest piece of legislation to ever become actual law. The men who crafted it were bold visionaries who felt the rights of the common man were to be held sacred. So strongly did they feel this, that they risked all to bring that vision to reality.
The Constitution was carefully and laboriously crafted to assure a balance of powers in the new government. The authors’ main concern was to assure that the rights of every individual American were adequately protected. They feared a government which could suppress the rights of an individual. The goal was to create a government “of the people”. The radical thought was that a ruling body was to serve the people of it’s nation and not the other way around.
It was much debated, drafted and revised and, in fact, did not take effect until 1789. In other words, it took some 13 years after America’s succession from the king to finally agree on exactly how to protect the rights of the individual. This fact alone should show just how serious that matter was to our Founding Fathers. Despite all their effort in revision it survived not 3 years without a demand for modification from the States.
That modification is commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. Of these first ten amendments I do very honestly feel that the fourth is relevant here. It reads;
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This means that I, as an individual, have a right to privacy. It means that the police, government or any one else, for any reason whatsoever, can NOT search your house and/or seizing your property without first producing some evidence that I am doing something wrong. This would not allow a law enforcement agency, for example, to decide it would be a good law enforcement tactic to search every house in a certain city. It means that one must first have evidence that there is a cause to search.
Is this basically not what is happening? The RIAA/MPAA is currently crawling the web and checking every server and even home PC’s. They have no need to produce any suspicion. They methodically check every connection. Now I know this is a radical leap but how is that any different from saying “All server hosts are pirates, until we (the RIAA/MPAA) judge otherwise.” ? This seems no more ethical than spam crawlers which hunt down e-mail addresses on the web and then flood your in box with junk.
Now, I do agree that peer to peer networking has created a whole new world of copyright violations and something must be done about it. However, I have fundamental problems with this tactic and see it as a violation of my individual rights. What reason do they have to search EVERY server? They have clearly crossed the line between attempting to uphold the law and hunting witches. And, by the way, all servers host witches. Worse yet, they are not a law enforcement agency. They represent private business interest.
This is why, to the best of my ability, I will block the RIAA/MPAA from my teeny corner of cyberspace. I am not a pirate. Until you have some evidence to show just cause, please spend your time removing SPAM from your inbox. Until then I shall continue to exercise my first amendment right and lunatically rant about your, in my opinion, illegal activity.