[via Guile] Woody Guthrie’s classic folk song, This Land is Your Land, is the basis for JibJab’s funny Flash animation featuring John Kerry and George Bush trading insults:
The Richmond Organization is the publishing company that owns the rights to Guthrie’s classic, and they’re a little peeved at the JibJab animators.
They think the parody, which is getting hits in the millions, is
“damaging” the song. There’s probably not much that they can do, as parody (“an imitation which ridicules another’s work or as any burlesque or
risque occurence that would not happen in an original instance”) is protected speech.
It’s called fair use, and it’s not dead yet.
Addendum: Cory in BoingBoing points out that Woody Guthrie’s standard copyright notice was:
“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.”