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I can speak for myself and my immediate family including my Dad, that we all love it! We've all seen it and passed it along to our friends and family. It's incredibly clever, funny and a nice break from the heavy tones of politics going on right now.... That parody was made for you and me.Arlo Guthrie has said he likes the parody too.
Copyright being what it is, however, what Arlo and Cathy think doesn't matter. Nor even what Woody would think were he still alive. Once an author has transferred copyright, barring a termination of transfer, the author's wishes are irrelevant. Woody Guthrie, like many authors publishing commercially, had probably transferred what rights he had to his publisher for contractual royalites, but leaving his heirs no say in the uses allowed of his works.
The alienability of rights may be better than the European droit d'auteur, from which an author can't escape even if he or she wants to, but it probably wasn't foremost in the minds of the Congress that passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 'for the children.' It's worth remembering, again, that artists and copyright holders aren't always the same people.
Correct me if I am wrong (IANAL), but doesn't the inalienability (what a word) of European /droits d'auteur/ only pertain rights that you, as an author, would want to keep? For instance, the right to be credited for the work you did?
None of the articles I've seen really explain how "This Land" is still protected. First written in 1940, it would have been in the public domain by 1992. The Sony Bono Act was passed in 1998, and didn't, as far as I understand, grandfather stuff in that was already in the public domain. Is it incontrovertable that the song is still protected by copyright? Are the copyright holders claiming a publication date that postdates the 1940 manuscript?Permalink to Comment
Project Gutenberg has as a rule that only works published before 1923 are definitely in the public domain. The rest may still carry the burden of copyright.
BTW, copyright protects the interests of the holders, it does not protect works. Quite to the contrary, most works perish because of copyright; the copying that is necessary for their survival is forbidden by copyright law.