Blurred Lines and Word Crimes

ACADEME BLOG

American copyright laws are absurd. Weird Al Yankovic, in “Word Crimes,” can parody Robin Thicke’s (with Pharrell) “Blurred Lines” but Thicke and Pharrell cannot base their own song on songs of the past without an explicit financial relationship. In other words, their creativity is controlled by money, as was affirmed by a jury yesterday:

As news of the ruling spread Tuesday afternoon, some legal experts expressed worry about the precedent it set. Lawrence Iser, an intellectual property lawyer in Los Angeles who was not involved in the case, called it “a bad result.”

“It will cause people who want to want to evoke the past to perhaps refrain from doing so,” Mr. Iser said. “Rather than helping to progress the arts, it is a step backward.”

George Clinton, the legendary leader of Parliament/Funkadelic and whose work has influenced the sound of hip hop for decades, tweeted

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