Friday, July 30, 2004

That Song

Mocking Woody Guthrie's Memory "Guthrie wanted credit for what he wrote, but he had contempt for severe legal restrictions on what others might do with it. According to Pete Seeger, in this account (widely acknowledged in the folk world to be true) from the Museum of Musical Instruments, when Guthrie was singing on the radio in Los Angeles during the Depression, he'd mail mimeographed songs to listeners, and wrote on one:
"“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., 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 ourn, 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.”
I'll bet, therefore, that Woody would be horrified -- and angered -- by the behavior of an outfit called The Richmond Organization, which controls the copyright to his music. This humor-impaired crew has gone ballistic and has launched legal threats (CNN) at JibJab."
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