Friday, 8 October 2010

These Songs Are Our Songs

Via Boing Boing, I learn that Woody Guthrie in the early 1940s was in the habit of using possibly the best copyright notice ever:

"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."

- Found by Joel Blain in Woody Guthrie: A Life, by Joe Klein.

This masterpiece returned to public attention, and thence by courier snail ultimately to mine, in 2004, when the bottom-feeding corporation which then claimed the necromantically reanimated 'rights' to This Land Is Your Land unsuccessfully used them to try and suppress a parody poking scattershot fun at the political establishment of the day.

Who certainly have no vested interest in conjuring a ceaseless stream of new 'intellectual property rights' for their friends and bankrollers out of blue ether. Nope, they're just looking after the humble author's title to his own natural creation!

Ain't they, Woody?

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