More Legal Advice from Hutson and Harris

More Legal Advice from Hutson & Harris

A few days ago, I got on my soapbox about the edible laws in Texas. Actually, I let a few musically talented attorneys do most of the talking. I thought I would share some more of their wisdom today… trust me, just shut up and listen.

Shut Up

Thanks for listeing. If you enjoyed the video, you may wish to subscribe to the singing lawyers on YouTube.

The Times Are Changing for Medical Marijuana but Not in Texas

Changing Times Regarding Medical Marijuana While Texas Lags Behind

While surprised by many of the results in our recent election, the number of states legalizing marijuana is not on my list. According to this 2015 article at Pew Research Center support for marijuana legalization has been growing, younger generations are even more in favor of it, and nearly half of all Americans have tried it.

I am not here to argue about whether recreational use should be legal. I have said for decades that the criminal charges for possession are far too harsh and that it is incomprehensible that it is not already legal for medical use.  At my age and with my health issues, I currently do NO recreational drugs, legal or otherwise.

Continue reading “The Times Are Changing for Medical Marijuana but Not in Texas”

Big Bang Theory Lawsuit

Big Bang Theory Lawsuit

Heirs Scratch and Claw Over Soft Kitty

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”

Who’s On First? What Happened to Common Sense?

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.

It wasn’t a rip off.
it was a love in,


English: Screen capture from the Internet Arch...
English: Screen capture from the Internet Archive, taken from “This Is Your Life Lou Costello”. Around the 00:48 mark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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”

Unfortunately, it seems that Mr. Common Sense passed some time ago.

While “Who’s On First?” is a timeless classic.  Timeless classics are met to be built on.  Just as Abbott claims he did with “Who’s the Boss?”  Stay tuned to find out Who is in court next.

 

  • Broadway play wins lawsuit over heirs to ‘Who’s on First’ (jsonline.com)

15 Things About Pot – An Article at The Weather Channel

15 Things About Pot

Marijuana
Marijuana (Photo credit: warrantedarrest)

While checking the hourly weather this morning, I noticed an article at The Weather Channel.  It was about weed and 16 pages long.  I thought I might post a summary to encourage others to read it.  To be honest, most of the pages are more image than text and only a few paragraphs long.  I am not going to cover all 15 items here but just a few.

I am not entirely in favor of legalization of mood altering substances in general.  However, the reason there is so much debate regarding a weed that used to grow wild and keep ditches from washing out is because there are some good reasons for such.  Compared to the “drugs” that are legal, it is not too harmful.  Furthermore, cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death and anyone of legal age can use them exactly as intended and kill themselves.

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Support the Email Privacy Act

privacy
privacy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Personally, I do not believe the erosion of our privacy has made us any safer from terrorist.  I do not believe that the privacy of our email should be any different than regular mail.  In other words, law enforcement should need a warrant  to access it.  Unfortunately The Electronic Communications Privacy Act states that they do not need probable cause to search email.

It is time to change that.  Take back your privacy, contact your representatives and tell them to cosponsor HR 1852, The Email Privacy Act.  You can find out how to contact your representative at usa.gov.  You can also track HR 1852.  It is important that we make some noise about this issue for it currently only has about an 18 % chance of passing.