girl ipsa loquitur: 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 Email me!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

In the Interest of Truth & Justice

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I was chatting amiably with my biggest fan last night and I had to admit that my "Girl Ipsa Views Shared by Children Everywhere" post was a tad disingenuous. Truth be told (and we are all about Truth, Justice and the American Way here at Girl Ipsa) I am NOT proud of our cheeky little speech maker. If she were my child, precocious and well-spoken as she is, I would have been mortified to hear her disrespect the vice president in front of adults, let alone on national television.

Now, I know that this is not really a legal subject. I only shoe-horned the Cheney "F-Bomb" in because of the senate floor connection and that over riding respect for the institution approach. So, this post is just to clean-up the possible misconception I may have, inadvertently and accidentally, created by applauding Miss Wexler in a fit of "Go for the JOKE" journalistic short-sightedness. (Just try to top that sentence structure while composing your comment to this post)

I will now, for the record, publicly chastise the parents Wexler. It is wrong to use your 12 year old daughter to take pot shots at the Republicans while also standing with both feet squarely in the "We won't take cheap shots at the Republicans" democratic camp. What she said was funny. But if you wanted it said, you should of said it yourselves.

As for me, I hope to teach my daughters to have respect for the office's of president and vice president, to maintain a sense of decorum and propriety. I will expect this of them for the same reasons that I criticized Mr. Cheney. It is the least they can do. To have some respect.

Monday, August 02, 2004

This Lawsuit is My Lawsuit

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Trouble is brewing for the folks at Jib Jab, purveyors of the wildly funny animated movie titled "This Land". Apparently, the Jib Jab guys did not get permission to use Woody Guthrie's song, "This Land is Our Land" in their film. (I wonder why they didn't bother with that, but you can't unring a bell)

The owners of the song think its use in the film is a blatant copyright infringement and they want it to stop. Oh, and they'd like some money, too. On the other hand, the Jib Jab brothers say its a parody and since its a parody they are entitled to its use without license (1st amendment, freedom of speech blahdy blah blah blah).

As of right now, the grappling is taking place by mail. Pointed and firmly worded letters have been exchanged, but still just letters nonetheless. Beverly Hills attorney Paul V. LiCalsi writes a pretty good warning letter but the guys at Jib Jab just might hold their own. Responding is Fred von Lohmann with a fair rendition of both fair use and parody issues.

This is interesting stuff friendly readers! The stuff a good law exam is made of. We are asked to decide what the heck is a parody any way? (Or more specifically: What is meant by parody for purposes of the application of law to this set of particular facts?) I am in analysis heaven! Oh happy day.

But wait... this is NOT a law school exam. This is reality. And in reality, two very talented guys are going to have to expend some serious cash to defend their little movie. I'd like to see, at a minimum, the cranky kill-joys at Ludlow Music Inc. show some harm to their interests in the copy right before the threats start to fly. It's reasonable, in my opinion, to ask the Jib Jab guys to pay a fair licensing fee for the use of the song (plus interest to date if they want to be picky). Fair to ask them to pay for it like they should of to begin with. But in the absence of some damage to Ludlow, that should be all they get. No one is confused by this version and likely to buy Jib Jab's This Land thinking it's actually Woody Guthries. They are two different things. Clearly.

Perhaps it is my sincere love of this type of speech that makes me lean a little toward the Jib Jab camp. I agree that their film is parody not just of this particular election but also of the underlying unity theme of the original "This Land" song itself. (In the movie they have a native American Indian saying "This land was my land"... that should end the argument right there.)

So, I hope this does not go to court. Not because I fear failure for the parody argument but because I think it would be money wasted. and time. Lot's of wasted time. Time the guy's at Jib Jab could use to make another movie... maybe one about contentious copy right holders called "This Song is My Song".

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." ~ Emily Dickinson

"Ouch!" ~ Mrs. Palsgraff

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