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prakash (2793)

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Journal of prakash (2793)

Monday August 09, 2004
11:53 AM

Guthries speak on the JibJab parody

[ #20322 ]
Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie and a folk singer himself [1], speaks on the JibJab controversy, in an interview with NPR (via Corante's The Importance of... blog):

«Q. Your father was a political musician. What do you think he would have said about people using his music for political purposes?

A. Well, I really can't speak for him. I can just tell you that when I saw it a few weeks ago I thought it was one of the funniest commentaries if not one of the most directly inspired... I called my sister, I called my friends, I sent everybody a link to the site so that they could go see it. And we've all been laughing about it since then. I think my dad would have absolutely loved the humor in it.»

In other news, Cathy Guthrie, Arlo's daughter and member of the band Folk Uke, says (via Boing Boing ):

«I can speak for myself and my immediate family including my Dad, that we all love it! We've all seen it and passed it along to our friends and family. It's incredibly clever, funny and a nice break from the heavy tones of politics going on right now. My personal opinion is that if I were the one who had written that song, I would be honored to have it used that way. If they start selling that song and making money, then I might be concerned about getting my royalties, but as far as I know, they haven't made any money from showing it on their site for free. That parody was made for you and me.»

What makes me sad is that none of this might matter. Copyfight says:

«Copyright being what it is, however, what Arlo and Cathy think doesn't matter. Nor even what Woody would think were he still alive. Once an author has transferred copyright, barring a termination of transfer, the author's wishes are irrelevant. Woody Guthrie, like many authors publishing commercially, had probably transferred what rights he had to his publisher for contractual royalites, but leaving his heirs no say in the uses allowed of his works.»


[1] Arlo's famous work, Alice's Restaurant was parodied by our very own Allison in her lightning talk Allison's Restaurant during YAPC 2003. Google didn't help me in locating this. Anybody have a copy of it?

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