A New York Newspapers State of Mind

With any recording, there are two copyrights: one for the song, the composition, and another for the performance of that song, the recording.

There’s a line in a classic Billy Joel song New York State of Mind:
“But now I need a little give and take
The New York Times, the Daily News.”

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, I used to read those two New York City papers, even though I lived 150 miles away. The New York Times, “All The News That’s Fit To Print,” I’d read nearly every day. Even into the 1990s, I was at least devour the massive Sunday Times, which might take all week. In the earlier period, I also read the Daily News, a tabloid publication, on Sunday, mostly for the funnies and the sports.

I almost never read the other tabloid in New York City, the New York Post, which was terrible even before Rupert Murdock bought it in 1993. (Certainly, one of its low points was in 1980, when they showed a slain John Lennon in the morgue.)

It’s nice to see my old friends of the news IN the news:

nyt.selma

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura participated in the reenactment of the march 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama on March 7. They were on the front line, but do not appear in the photo above. The narrative from some is that they were cropped out.

But in viewing several pictures of the event, it was clear that the picture was not wide enough to include the Bushes without making the shot far too small to see from the newsstand.

Moreover, Times photographer Doug Mills notes: “As you can see, Bush was in the bright sunlight. I did not even send this frame because it’s very wide and super busy and Bush is super-overexposed because he was in the sun and Obama and the others are in the shade.”

Nevertheless, there will be people who will find political motivation in this.

There are some who thought Bush should have stayed home, since his Supreme Court justices have weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the very law signed by President Lyndon Johnson as a direct result of the original march. I’m glad Bush was there.

Here’s a poignant Selma story.

traitors.newyorkdailynews.mar2015 A couple days later, I was astonished to see THIS headline in the Daily News go viral, with the paper blasting the 47 US Senators for sending a letter to Iran.

As Vox.com puts it, “The mere act of senators contacting the leaders of a foreign nation to undermine and contradict their own president is an enormous breach of protocol. But this went much further: Republicans are telling Iran, and, by extension the world, that the American president no longer has the power to conduct foreign policy, and that foreign leaders should assume Congress could revoke American pledges at any moment.”

Now, Arthur explains this situation more than I’m inclined to. Read also links to several other newspaper editorials.

Whether the letter, signed by four men (Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio) who have suggested a desire to be the Republican nominee for President, is actually traitorous is open to debate. That it was a brazen, gratuitous, and plainly stupid action is pretty clear. And some Republicans agree.

Humorous responses: Iran has offered to mediate talks between congressional Republicans and President Obama and An Open Letter to 47 Republican Senators of the United States of America from Iran’s Hard-Liners.: “You have opened our eyes. We are brothers.”
***
In other news Jurors hit Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams with $7.4-million verdict over the song Blurred Lines.

I was surprised by the results. A couple weeks ago, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp, a/k/a F. Lee Harvey Blotto, wrote this:

The…case, in which Marvin Gaye’s kids are trying to shake down Robin Thicke, Pharrell and TI, is…not going very well for Team Gaye. The judge knocked the stuffing out of the Gayes’ case last month by ruling that the jury would not be allowed to hear the Marvin Gaye recording of Got To Give It Up [LISTEN] the song allegedly infringed by Thicke & Co. in writing Blurred Lines.

Why, you ask? Well it’s like this. With any recording, there are two copyrights: one for the song, the composition, and another for the performance of that song, the recording. What constitutes the song is typically limited to the melody and lyrics, and sometimes a unique chord or song structure. Everything else is embodied in the performance.

Here’s a side-by-side snippet. Oh, and here’s the UNRATED, NSFW Blurred Lines video (don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Incidentally, I’m one of those people who found Blurred Lines’ suggestion of possibly non-consensual sex very creepy.

There is concern that the verdict could be bad for music, “possibly lowering the bar for what’s considered creative theft.” While I hear the similarities, I’ve found other songs, not litigated against, with far greater parallels. I think the decision was wrong, per this New Yorker article.

But after “Blurred Lines” victory, Gaye family takes another listen to “Happy”. They should take Stevie Wonder’s advice.

Since these things will get further litigated, it’s too early to know the final outcome. But my first thought was, “What will happen to the Weird Al Yankovic song, Word Crimes [LISTEN]? It’s credited to Williams, Thick, rapper TI and Yankovic.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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