Wednesday, July 28, 2004


There is a lot happening on the American political scene this week, not the least of which is the Democratic Convention in Boston, and you can catch all the latest action on the Internet. The Internet serves up a varied fare from your “establishment” views to the ‘extreme.” But, I bet you already knew that.

The funniest thing I saw on the Bush-Kerry spar online was on a site called “”

In case you haven’t seen it, this is a SouthParkish animation set to the tune of Woody Guthrie’s “This land is your land,” with Bush and Kerry trading insults in rhyme. As a parody it is quite good, but its success has once again brought forth America’s ugly side – its propensity to litigate.

The Richmond Organization, a music publisher that owns the copyright to Guthrie's tune through Ludlow Music is taking a jab at… in court.

I just read a story on CNN that quotes an official for the publisher as saying the jibjab parody has caused huge damage to the song.

Now, that is possibly the most stupid thing I’ve heard. If anything, it has exposed Guthrie’s song to a whole new audience. And it is quite obviously a parody, and a clever one at that.

My favourite part is where Bush describes Kerry as “a liberal weiner,” which Kerry counters by calling Bush “a stupid dumbass.” And oh, yes, I like the way Kerry keeps referring to his “three purple hearts.”

And then there is Bill Clinton… well, you can watch it here.

Going back to the suit, I don’t think Guthrie’s publishers have much of a case, certainly not according to what I learned in my media-law class. This is political satire and a parody and therefore, as Jibjab attorney Ken Hertz pointed out in the CNN story “entitled to the fair use exemption of the copyright act."

Moreover the chaps who made the movie Gregg and Evan Spiridellis are not making money out of it. You can pretty much see it for free. But jibjab and its creators are certainly getting a lot of media attention.