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'Pants On The Ground' Guy Lawyers Up, Looks For Money From The Sky

from the looking-up dept

If you've been living under a pop-cultural rock the past couple of weeks, you might have missed the "Pants on the Ground" meme, birthed on American Idol, that's been going around. Basically, there was some Idol contestant, "General" Larry Platt who performed a song he "wrote" himself called "Pants on the Ground." It's awful in that "wow, this is going to be an internet meme" kind of way... and the Idol crew milked it for all it was worth. Not only are lots of people recording their own versions of it, Platt is appearing everywhere. However, this is a "mine, mine, mine" society, and Rose M. Welch alerts us to the news that Platt is complaining that he hasn't received a dime from everyone using the song, and he's lawyering up to try to fix that.

How ridiculous is this? The guy just got a ton of publicity and has made his name and his song known around the world. You don't cash in by going back and demanding cash -- you cash in by doing something new for money. He shouldn't be hiring a lawyer, but a business manager. If people had to pay for every use of his song originally, no one would even know who he is.

Separately, the link above claims that "Platt never copyrighted the song," but that's not right. Platt automatically gets a copyright on the song once it's been set in fixed form in some manner. So if he wrote it down somewhere or recorded it or something, he has the copyright. What they probably mean is that he didn't register the copyright, which would limit his ability to do anything about it. Plus, I would imagine that the lawyers at Fox and American Idol made sure he signed over all sorts of rights before performing that song on the air....


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:18am

    "...there was some Idol contestant..."

    How many other people read that as "idiot contestant"?

    "I would imagine that the lawyers at Fox and American Idol made sure he signed over all sorts of rights before performing that song on the air...."

    You're absolutely right, Fox certainly owns the rights to "his" song. There's no way they're going to let him use their show to promote his song unless they own it.

     

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  2.  
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    Observant Guy, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Starting 2 blogs in one day with the same line! Nice...

     

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  3.  
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    Batman (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Yes, but...

    Not to be devil's advocate here or anything, but Fox might not have gotten the rights to the song itself, just the performance of it. And not having a registered copyright only limits his ability to collect punitive damages, and he can still recover compensatory damages.

     

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  4.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Maybe Fox has the copyright

    If he didn't write it down or record it before the show, then Fox is actually the one who make the first "fixed" record of the song. That should further muddy the copyright water if it is true.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:42am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2WfUzNYPwo

    "Pants on the Ground" performed by Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Apparently I *have* been living under a pop-cultural rock the past few weeks. Pants on the Ground wha?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Yes, but...

    I'm sure he has been horridly damaged due to this song being repeated a bunch.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    Heya, Observant Guy.

    Have you observed Blogspot.com? They allow YOU to create your very own blog. For Free! With the ability to start your stories how ever you want! You should check it out!

     

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  9.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Two things:

    1. This guy clearly doesn't have much business sense. It's not all that surprising that he would default to a "pay me for that" frame of mind.

    2. I wonder if he realizes that probably 99.99% of everyone who's used his song has likewise not gotten paid.

     

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  10.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:46am

    William Hung

    Why isn't this guy following in the footsteps of william hung? (if i remember right he's the 'she bangs' guy right?) Just record an mp3, put it up on Itunes, he will make way more money, and engender much more goodwill from the public than if he sues everyone. Sigh, why does everyone go the sue everyone route?

     

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  11.  
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    The Sarcastic-Mike, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    I'm sorry but we should pay for every use of cultural expression, otherwise, no one would create anything ever again.

     

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  12.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re:

     

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  13.  
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    Yakko Warner, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    "...there was some Idol contestant..."

    How many other people read that as "idiot contestant"?


    What's the difference?

     

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  14.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re:

    Good point.

     

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  15.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re:

    How much do I owe you for that comment? You wrote a sentence, and obviously every person who reads it owes you money because you can't be expected to write for free. Otherwise, why would you ever write anything down every again. Should I make the check out to The Sarcastic-Mike, or Mr. Sarcastic-Mike?

     

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  16.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: William Hung

    Because common sense doesn't have commercials on TV.

     

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  17.  
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    RD, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:34am

    Just a correction

    "Just record an mp3, put it up on Itunes, ..."

    Contrary to popular belief, it isnt that simple to get something on iTunes. Just because you make an mp3/song/audiobook/movie doesnt mean iTunes will accept it to be sold on their service. I wish it were so, but they have a vetting process and you cant just be some tom/dick/harry individual with a song and expect them to put it up for sale for you.

     

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  18.  
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    MCR, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:35am

    Compensation deserved

    I think this man deserves compensation. Based on the number of people who've watched, and re-watched, his performance, he should be entitled to $200 Million Theoretical dollars.

     

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  19.  
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    Liquid (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So are you going to pay me Mr. Sarcastic-Mike just like everyone else out there. If happen to take a crap, and finger paint with it to create a work of art.

    Even though the painting is made out of my own fecal matter, and I call it my Cultural Expression. Pictures of it start flying all over the news, internet, and any other medium of communication. Just by me saying it's cultural expression are you really going to pay me to look at it, or smell it for that matter? By god I think you should.

     

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  20.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Just a correction

    I know, your right I was over-simplyfing the process. I just meant with the amount of publicity he could do something along those lines, or probably get a deal done with whoever fox uses for the AI winners, to put out that "single". wasn't meaning to imply he could do it in 10 minutes, though it probably came across that way. Or he could go the indie route, with the talk shows I'm sure he has/will be on he could plug himself to death.

     

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  21.  
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    Christy, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 11:55am

    I kind of expected this, and actually, kind of hoped he would do this. There are people making money off of the General's message - ringtones, t-shirts, etc. - but all that money, or at least a bit of it, should go to the originator of the song.

    Also, in case you haven't noticed, while the General is an accomplished individual, it has been reported that he is on disability. And I do think he is not "wordly" - that is, not really aware of the rules of the entertainment road, so to speak.

    I say to you, dear General - get your dime's worth of fame, and relax. You have earned your right to a piece of this particular pie, and then some!

    :)

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    NOT PREPARED!

    This guy should have expected this song to blow up and become popular. It is his own fault he was not prepared to reap the benefits of his song. If you ask me he got caught with his pants down. HAHAHAHAHA - I am hilarious.

    Look at him standing there with his pants on the ground, pants on the ground. Begin for money with his pants on the ground.

     

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  23.  
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    Danny, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Cut his loses...

    He should probably use the 15min. fame from this to come up with another meme but by all that is holy copyright it first. Just let "Pants on the Ground" go though.

     

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  24.  
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    Sefu Binta, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Pants on the ground

    that was slick, even funnier than the General.

     

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  25.  
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    Dirk Belligerent (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    General Larry Platt is a genuine civil rights pioneer; hardly an "idiot." Perhaps some people should take a break from visually inspecting their colons and try learning about the people they mock and what their target's point was with the song.

     

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  26.  
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    Chill, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    the sarcasm detector is weak in this one.

     

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  27.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    I agree completely, which is why I think he should be using his talk show appearances to drum up support for some of those issues he believes need to be address, but while he's at it plug a website that sells his MP3 for a buck, and use that to entice more people to come back and start a conversation, I don't know if he is capable of that, as I don't know how technical he is, but I'm sure instead of hiring a lawyer he could have hired someone that would be able to facilitate that.

     

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  28.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    There are people making money off of the General's message - ringtones, t-shirts, etc. - but all that money, or at least a bit of it, should go to the originator of the song.

    And not the people who produced the ringtones, the t-shirts, and the etc? Does their labor and creativity count for nothing?

     

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  29.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    I don't think the post was about Larry Platt's character, or about the value of his composition. I think it was about his strange belief that he can and should somehow be able to retroactively monetize the song...

    And, yes, he is a civil rights hero, but that doesn't mean we have to value his song, his message, or his legal threats.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Not if they're producing them without Platt's permission. He's not running around trying to stop everyone from using his song, but a LOT of people ARE making money from it, he certainly should be able to as well. I'm sure the Today show paid Fox for showing the clip of him performing it (unless they kept the clip short enough to be considered "fair use"). I'm also sure that anything Fox does with the clip, including selling it, is probably covered under whatever release Platt signed to get on the show in the first place. However there are a lot of others using it, and making money, and they're NOT compensating Platt.

     

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  31.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re:

    I think he was referring to the AC above with the subject "NOT PREPARED"

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    bob, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    I thought of The

    Gong Show and Gene Gene The Dancing Machine when I saw the General. I really liked Jaye P. Morgan.

     

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  33.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "...a LOT of people ARE making money from it, he certainly should be able to as well."

    What's stopping him? That's the whole point Mike was making. Instead of sueing everyone, he should make money they old fashioned way. By earning it.

     

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  34.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    I don't know how anyone can watch that "Idol" clip and not come away with the impression that this guy is borderline retarded. I don't care if he's responsible for woman's sufferage, he's still an "idiot."

     

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  35.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And this one. ;)

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Pay Me For That

    Pay me for that
    Pay me for that
    Looking like a fool
    With your Pay me for that...

    ...frame of mind

    CBMHB

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Idol contestants are not artists.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But he's NOT suing everyone! AFAIK, he hasn't sued ANYONE. He's simply getting a lawyer to ensure that his rights aren't being abused. Pretty smart thing to do. And if other people ARE making money from his song, he certainly should get a share.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    thome, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Live and let live, all of us are a little retarded, think about it. Platt is more talented than you, lets see what you look like when you're 62.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Christy, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Sheesh...did you read what you actually quoted? I said "all that money OR AT LEAST A BIT OF IT, should go to the originator of the song."

    LOL

     

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  41.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hehe, that's possible, but if so, he should have hit the reply button. :)

    I guess he wasn't prepared to comment.

     

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  42.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, he certainly should be able to make money, as well.

     

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  43.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 23rd, 2010 @ 2:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But if none are making any money . . . .

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    What about a book?

    From what I understand, the General has a pretty amazing life story. He has the publicity he needs now. Why not author or co-author an autobiography? Do some talk shows to announce it, stay in the public eye until it's publication, heck, even try to find a way to use the title "Pants on the Ground." There are PLENTY of ways for the General to capitalize on this, both for his own financial gain and for the advancement of his human rights causes.

    Instead, he's going to piss all this positive publicity away by lawyering up and demanding money for something that will be forgotten a month from now. Nice long-term strategy there.

     

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  46.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hiring a lawyer is the first step in the litigation process.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Zaki Shakir, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:14pm

    True Protection

    Copyright protection is automatic. However in order for Mr. Platt to recover legal fees; and he will have many, the song should first be registered before going to court. Anyone trying not to pay Mr. Platt has already lost. E-ipfirm.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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