Just when we thought America was collectively getting it’s shit together, rallying behind a battle hymn of disappointment in the Republican and Democrat nominees for the presidential election, some fucking lawyer has to throw a lawsuit into things to mess up everyone’s day.
Here’s the crux of the issue: JibJab altered Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land” in a satirical fashion, now they are being sued for copyright infringement by the copyright owners. The worst part about this lawsuit is the audacity of the plaintiff’s claim that Guthrie’s original song is unifying:
“This puts a completely different spin on the song,” said Kathryn Ostien, director of copyright licensing for the publisher. “The damage to the song is huge.”
TRO believes that the Jibjab creation threatens to corrupt Guthrie’s classic — an icon of Americana — by tying it to a political joke; upon hearing the music people would think about the yucks, not Guthrie’s unifying message. The publisher wants Jibjab to stop distribution of the flash movie.
Let’s go take a look at a sample of the original lyrics and see just how unifying that message was:
In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.
Apparently, this is the prevailing opinion. Luckily, it appears the EFF will step up and defend the satirists. Let’s hope the common sense prevails with this case being expediantly dismissed by the court.
Parody or Satire? Threat To Sue JibJab [Slashdot]
A Jibjab showdown [CNN Money]
JibJab video: parody or satire? [Chris Rush Cohen]
This Land Isn’t Your Land [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
Jabbing JibJab: Copyright law vs. political satire [Reason]