JibJab: This Fair Use Was Made For Me… And Only Me

from the who-let-the-lawyers-in dept

Oh how success corrupts. You probably have heard of JibJab, the two brothers who have been creating politically tinged animated shorts for the web (they just released a new one last week) that became an internet sensation last year leading up to the election. The short that made them famous was an amusing take on the election to the tune of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” However, soon after this became a hit, an organization that claimed to own the rights to the song, went after the JibJab brothers saying the parody violated the rights to the song… despite Woody Guthrie’s famous personal copyright statement: “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.” Of course, after the EFF defended JibJab and got the rights holders to back off, the brothers were suddenly in big demand, signing a deal with Yahoo and their latest offering is courtesy of MSN. Apparently, with money comes lawyers, and with lawyers come cease-and-desist letters. BoingBoing and WFMU point to a story that says JibJab’s lawyers have sent a cease and desist letter to the creator of a “mashup” video that’s become quite popular recently. The video uses a 9-second clip of the This Land parody, and it’s hard to look at in any way that isn’t covered by fair use. Unfortunately, it looks like some people are thinking fair use only goes in one direction.

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Comments on “JibJab: This Fair Use Was Made For Me… And Only Me”

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Linux_tech says:

Re: How hypocritcal!

It’s time to parody the parody. (would that be the original song?)

It’s funny how this stuff goes, when Microsoft was a young company and it got hassled with IP rights they complained about how the system kept down innovation. Now they are on top and using those same IP right laws and expanding them, to (you guessed it) keep down innovation in the competition.

New products are derived from reverse engineering, we remove the rights to do that, and we become a country of service and consumers.

Mike says:


Ah, lawyers just don’t get any respect anymore. With the economy under Bush’s watchful eye, everyone’s got to do whatever we can to keep our jobs. If that means lawyers trying to appear busy by filing ridiculous lawsuits, well, they’re just trying to keep their bread buttered. And hey, it’ll keep the PR people busy tending and then addressing the media firestorm. We’ve all done it… 🙁

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