'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….

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “'Pants On The Ground' Guy Lawyers Up, Looks For Money From The Sky”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ima Fish (profile) says:

…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.

Liquid (profile) says:

Re: 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.

RD says:

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.

IshmaelDS (profile) says:

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.

Christy says:

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!


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:


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.

IshmaelDS (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: 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.

hegemon13 says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ยป

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...