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Woody on copyright

24 Aug 03 - 12:06 PM (#1007324)
Subject: Woody on copyright
From: GUEST,Frankham

Woody Guthrie wrote this around 1939

"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."

Can anyone please tell me which song this attends?

Does this mean we can download Woody forever? I wonder what he would say about recording it today? Also, Pete talked about some verses to This Land is Your Land that he wouldn't like to hear.

Frank Hamilton


24 Aug 03 - 12:36 PM (#1007347)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: dick greenhaus

Frank-
Woody's publisher, who seems to hold the copyrights, doesn't agree.


24 Aug 03 - 01:29 PM (#1007360)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Mark Ross

Frank,I believe that was for a songbook that he published to sell on his Los Angeles radio show. I've seen that quoted before, in the Joe Klein bio, I think.

Mark Ross


24 Aug 03 - 02:20 PM (#1007374)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Blackcatter

And it doesn't seem to apply to recordings either. Whoever still get his royalites would have something to say about that.


24 Aug 03 - 02:24 PM (#1007377)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: GUEST,Red Rabbie

Good on him. Music is for passing on and sharing out. Especially folk songs like Woody Guthrie's.

I though when a writer had died his music passed to public domain after 50 years.

Och well, at the end of the day it's always big business that gets their way; but it DOES annoy me when there are limitations put on music for the sake of global profit.

Anybody got a socialist theory about what should be done with music, copyright and all ?


What about CES ? Has he got any ideas ?


24 Aug 03 - 03:22 PM (#1007417)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Sandy Mc Lean

Frank,
   I've heard the story in the way that Mark relates, and have used the comment on this and other forums discussing copyright.
Do you still have contact with Pete ? It would be great to hear his slant on this!


24 Aug 03 - 03:36 PM (#1007421)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: dick greenhaus

Oddly enough, the greatest difficulty that DigiTrad has had obtaining permissions has been from the publishers of songs by the old left wingers--Woody, Pete, Oscar Brand and so on. The artists do NOT control the copyrights nor grant permissions.

Intellectual property is intellectual theft.


24 Aug 03 - 03:38 PM (#1007425)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: GUEST,Cheeky

dare I ask what the verses would be that Pete Seeger wouldn't like to hear ? You have got me thinking now !


24 Aug 03 - 08:56 PM (#1007553)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: GUEST,Dale

Don't forget that he was pretty free about Jack Guthrie adapting and recording Oklahoma Hills, that is until Jack started making a good sum of money from it.   Then the tune changed.


24 Aug 03 - 10:10 PM (#1007585)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Blackcatter

Red Rabbie -

Copyright law is constantly changing in the U.S. as I believe it is elsewhere. It used to be simple, but with extensions of time possible by both the artists and their heirs, publishing history, the issue of the artists NOT owning their own work, etc. it is a minefield for everyone involved.


25 Aug 03 - 07:50 PM (#1008023)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: open mike

Interesting how Woody spent so much time rallying for workers rights
in the fields, mines, mills, etc, but did not grant the same
for musicians , himself included. If he had fought to be
compensated for what he did musically, he could have supported
his family better and had more resources to take care of his needs
during his lengthy illness at the end--was it Parkinsons?


25 Aug 03 - 10:08 PM (#1008092)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Mark Clark

“Also, Pete talked about some verses to This Land is Your Land that he wouldn't like to hear.”
I assumed Frank was refering to verses that Woody wouldn't like to hear, not that Pete wouldn't.

      - Mark


25 Aug 03 - 11:32 PM (#1008117)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: open mike

or that the "establishment" wouldn't like to hear?
the ones about people standing in line at the relief office,
and about the no trespassing sign which didn't
say any thing on the other side..
("that side was made for you and me")


25 Aug 03 - 11:56 PM (#1008127)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Malcolm Douglas

Frank also floated this on the rec.music.folk newsgroup, where Arlo (who, presumably, should know) has had some pertinent things to say on the subject.


26 Aug 03 - 01:12 AM (#1008149)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Sandy Mc Lean

Woody died from Huntingtons and also , I believe, some of his children did as well.
It would seem that Arlo has escaped that fate , Thank God.
As for his support of other musicians rights, maybe Woody thought that it was a higher cause to fight for the rights of humanity. Money was never of great concern to him, and he saw the devil in the face of those in the music industry who wanted to profit from his work. Copyright was just a way for the capitalism that he dispised to control what he did.
Woody marched to his own drum and flatly rejected what many would see as fame.
Go to sleep you weary hobo...........


14 Oct 10 - 07:38 PM (#3007247)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright - "good friend of ourn"
From: Genie

Regardless of its relevance to actual copyright law, I've always loved that quote of Woody's and have been trying to find the exact quote.   Glad it's here.

Anyone know when, where and w regard to what song he said that?


14 Oct 10 - 08:00 PM (#3007271)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: dick greenhaus

Oddly enough, the only objections we've encountered to song inclusion in the DT has been from the old Reds...or at least whoever owns their copyrights.


14 Oct 10 - 08:12 PM (#3007288)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

One website says the song is "This Land Is Your Land." Guthrie wrote it in 1940, but didn't copyright it until 1956. Copyright held by Richmond Group.
He borrowed the music from a Carter gospel song, "When the World's on Fire."
I dunno if the information above is correct.

Be that as it may, the Library of Congress says for copyright information on Woody Guthrie songs, contact:
Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives
250 West 57th Street
Suite 1218
New York NY 10107
Tel. 212-541-6230
email: woodyweb@woodyguthrie.org

The Library website:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wwghtm/wwgres.html


14 Oct 10 - 08:32 PM (#3007318)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Art Thieme

please, GOOD PEOPLE, BAD ONES TOO!! GO HERE AND CHECK THIS OUT!!

http://.osnews.com/story/23888

The Library of Congress has taken a stand -- and it's not what you might think. Basically, they are saying that COPYRIGHT IS DESTROYING HISTORIC AUDIO --- and I think it's common sense truth being said, but it's only the tip of the iceberg.

Art Thieme


14 Oct 10 - 08:43 PM (#3007331)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: maeve

Art's Link (Letter)
to the Library of Congress article.


14 Oct 10 - 08:54 PM (#3007345)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Maeve, can't access.

Will Congressmen listen to advice from the Library of Congress?


14 Oct 10 - 09:26 PM (#3007376)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Stringsinger

Malcolm, I doubt that Arlo knew Woody that well. By the time he reached an early age,
Woody was at Greystone (I think that was the name of the institution).

I was a contemporary of Woody's in Topanga, California, in the early 1950's. He said to Lee Hays that we were "pickin' buddies".


14 Oct 10 - 09:32 PM (#3007381)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: maeve

Corrected link:
http://www.osnews.com/story/23888


14 Oct 10 - 10:38 PM (#3007420)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Thanks, Maeve.
The following is the link to the CLIR report-
A pdf of complete report linked here"

State of Recorded Sound

Worrysome.


15 Oct 10 - 12:07 AM (#3007469)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: KathyW

Incidentally, there are some folks who maintain that the copyright on "This Land is Your Land" has expired. You can read about it here on the EFF website: https://www.eff.org/cases/jibjab-media-inc-v-ludlow-music-inc (pops open new window) (JibJab Media v. Ludlow Music)

Pretty interesting stuff.


15 Oct 10 - 12:10 AM (#3007471)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Art Thieme

More than worrisome! I doubt that the kind of presence I enjoyed within the folk revival could have happened in this environment.
Pretty sickening.----Art


15 Oct 10 - 12:11 AM (#3007473)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Genie

I've long wondered why, if you invent something - even something major - your patent is good only for a relatively short time (I think it's 20 years or so) and then you can renew it, but not indefinitely; whereas if you dream up a simple song like "Happy Birthday To You," your copyright can last for (now) 90 years after you're no longer gracing this planet with your corporeal presence.

Seems like screwed-up priorities to me.


15 Oct 10 - 12:21 AM (#3007478)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Art Thieme

I'd say more---but won't---can't--because what was done all the time in other eras could cause a sinkhole of troubles here and now. So much for free speech... -- Art


15 Oct 10 - 12:54 AM (#3007493)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: BrooklynJay

The address for the Woody Guthrie Archives and Foundation mentioned earlier in this thread is out of date; earlier this year they relocated.

The new address is:

125-131 Main Street
Suite #201
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549

Tel: (914) 241-3844
Fax: (914) 241-0299

Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 10:00AM-5:00PM Eastern Time.

Click here
for their website.


15 Oct 10 - 01:11 AM (#3007500)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: KathyW

Genie, take a look at the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998," passed after heavy lobbying by certain members of the entertainment and publishing industries.

The way I heard it, back in the early 1990's certain large US holders of valuable old copyrights went to Europe and lobbied to get the term of copyright extended over there. Then they came back and lobbied Congress, complaining that US works didn't get the benefit of a longer copyright term in Europe that European works did, because pursuant to an international IP treaty the longer term would only apply if the US extended the term of copyrights in the US. Congress listened, passed the Copyright Term Extension Act and now nothing new has dropped into the public domain due to copyright expiration since that time. Works published in 1924 whose copyrights would have expired in 1999 instead won't expire until 2020.

This is not the first time the term of copyright has been extended, and there were some major changes in the mid-70's and early 80's due to the abovementioned IP treaty. I suggest keeping a sharp look out for another move to extend the copyright term sometime around 2018 or so. :-)   

The funny part is that back in the 19th century, the US didn't respect other countries' copyrights at all. When Charles Dickens came to visit, he was pleased to meet his many fans, but said that he wasn't earning a dime on a single US copy of his works-- at that time, US copyright law didn't protect foreign authors.


15 Oct 10 - 01:51 AM (#3007512)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Seamus Kennedy

2050 - that'll be the new extension.
Any takers??


15 Oct 10 - 11:55 AM (#3007834)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: EBarnacle

The last major extension was strongly backed by the Disney Company and became known as the Mickey Mouse extension. A large part of their motivation was that the trademark protection for Mickey's image, at least as far as his earliest presentation, was soon to expire.


15 Oct 10 - 06:16 PM (#3008055)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Joe_F

Cf. the extralegal notice that appears in Lou & Peter Berryman's songbooks:

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any means without permission in writing by the authors. Failure to comply will result in everything you touch turning to hair.


15 Oct 10 - 10:33 PM (#3008202)
Subject: RE: Woody on copyright
From: Slag

"The laborer is worthy of his hire." That's why they calls them "works"!