Nobody really knows who Abnu is; an anonymous blogger over at Wordlab uses the pseudonym, which appears to be an acronym for "a brand new u" or something. Abnu writes about "naming and branding" at Wordlab, but shows a real interest in legal issues, too. We don't know if s/he's a lawyer, or not, but Abnu's written seriously about The Branding of Laws, and entertained readers with a post about the naming and branding of law firms, titled Dewey, Cheatham & Howe.
As our Guest Blogger today, Abnu brings us a post that looks at music copyright disputes from a different perspective.--Ed.
A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me buy.
Back in the day, companies would pay big bucks for the use of much-loved songs to promote products. It was an advertising expense. Microsoft reportedly paid the Rolling Stones $10 Million for the use of "Start Me Up" to launch Windows™, and the same song was later used by Ford Motor Company.
Forget the dollars lost from consumers who freely share music files over the Internet. The latest ripoff that's burning music publishers is the so-called "fair use" of music and lyrics for commercial purposes, under the guise of parody.
Just this week, the creative animators at JibJab came under fire from the owners of the publishing rights to Woody Guthrie's song for using "This Land is Your Land" in a political parody of President George W. Bush and presidential hopeful, John Kerry. It's funny, but the music publishers aren't laughing.
"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."
Is this animation simply a parody of the song, as claimed by JibJab in defense of the ensuing copyright infringement lawsuit? I think not.
Heavy thinkers from far corners of the blawgosphere have weighed in on the legal issues in this dispute. And, great legal minds with impressive credentials appear to differ.