The lead vocals for Frank Zappa’s fine 1970 Chunga’s Revenge album were performed by a duo billed  as the THE PHLORESCENT LEECH & EDDIE. It was a badly kept secret that this was actually Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, founders of the 60s soft rock band the Turtles, who used the pseudonym due to a lingering contractual dispute…

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Some time ago, in our continuing series of “Cease and Desist Letters from Beyond the Grave,” we reported on a complaint for copyright infringement filed by William Faulkner’s literary estate against Sony Pictures, arising out of a single line spoken by Owen Wilson in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris: “The past is not dead. Actually, it’s not…

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Music professor, rock historian, and guitarist John Covach has suggested that tribute bands may play an important role in the future of rock music, keeping up a live performance tradition long after the original acts are gone, much as a symphony orchestra keeps the classical repertoire alive. If so, a newly filed case reported on…

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When last we checked in with The Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright dispute over Google’s plan to digitize all the world’s libraries, Judge Denny Chin had certified the case as a class action on behalf of all “persons residing in the United States who hold a United States copyright interest in…

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Stick around until the lights come up after any movie in which characters sing “Happy Birthday to You” (and there are probably a dozen of those every year), and one of the last credits you see will be a copyright notice for that song, noting that it was used with the permission of Warner/Chappell Music,…

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I still have a Proustian experience every time I take my old vinyl copies of The Who Live at Leeds or The Mothers-Fillmore East June 1971 off the shelf.  It is not just fond memories of seeing those bands perform back in the early 70s that come flooding back.  The artless covers and handwritten labels…

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Patrick Cariou, a professional photographer, spent six years among the Rastafarians of Jamaica. and in 20oo he published a book of  portrait and landscape photographs taken during this sojourn.  Yes Rasta sold modestly, earning Cariou about $8,000 in royalties from sales of about 5700 copies. Four of those copies were purchased by appropriation artist Richard Prince. Prince, without…

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How much might the late Robert Kardashian’s diary and personal photographs documenting the childhood exploits of Kourtney, Kimberly, and Khloé be worth? I’m no Kardashian maven, but I’m guessing a whole lot. As the girls allege in a Complaint they (together with brother Robert Jr. and mom Kris Jenner) filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles,…

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In a post a while back, I quoted from Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissents in two important copyright cases of the past decade, Eldred v. Ashcroft (2003), which upheld the copyright term extensions adopted by Congress in the Sony Bono Memorial Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, and Golan v. Holder (2012), which upheld an act…

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