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The identical melodies?
Blatant theft. 8%
Probably stolen. 16%
Probably coincidence. 8%
An example of "fair use." 16%
Completely unrelated. 8%
I start fires. 41%

Votes: 12

 Are not even our schools safe from intellectual property theft?

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Sep 02, 2001
In the age of Napster, Linux (Linux creator shown here with custom-fitted dildo), Russians hacking into American computers, DVD theft programs, and wide-spread Internet viruses, our rights to create, keep, and control our intellectual property are being continually diminished. One would think that in the midst of all this rampant theft, at least our American public schools should be safe. Right?

More diaries by Craig McPherson
My Neighbor Is Allowed To Own A Pot-Head Neo-Nazi Juvenile-Delinquent Street Punk With Purple Hair,
George Lucas is a Pathetic Dirty Thief!!!
The word.
How I (very nearly) slept with Timothy from Slashdot!

I've discovered a deeply insidious and deeply-rooted act of copyright violation entrenched in our public school system. There's going to be hell to pay over this once I find out who's responsible.

Do you remember kindergarten? Do you remember "the alphabet song," a song consisting solely of letters of the alphabet, sung with a particular melody? It was a cute song, and it helped children learn the alphabet.

It's stolen property.

I'm sure you've also heard the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." It seems that "Alphabet" stole the first line of its melody from "Twinkle." Follow me here, I'm about to show you something chilling.

Look at these two lines side by side. Then sing each of them, in turn. You should know both of these melodies by heart, they're entrenched in American culture.

1: Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
2: A B, C D, E F G

It's the very same melody, or close to it.

If you trace out the rest of the two songs, you'll see that the melodies are similar in some parts, but not a blatant rip-off like the first line.

It's shattering to learn that a piece of our childhood is stolen property. Do the public schools know about this? They're still teaching the infringing song to our children. If they do know about it, then they're just as bad as, if not worse than, businesses which allow the copyrighted song "Happy Birthday" to be sung in their establishments without paying royalties to the copyright owner.

I'm going to investigage this issue further and take whatever action is neccessary to make sure no copyright violation exists in our public schools. I've already been crusading to close down schools who show videotaped movies in classrooms using videotapes that are clearly marked "for home exhibition only," but it looks like the fight has just begun.


It's worse than that (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Sep 2nd, 2001 at 06:52:29 AM PST
The schools are giving public performances of the "alphabet song" without the permission of its writer or publisher. So not only are they performing a song that violates copyright laws, but they're violating the copyright of the offending song too. This is a clear case of misguided school authorities ignoring the biblical law which says "Two wrongs don't make a right".

Jumping to conclusions... (none / 0) (#2)
by twodot72 on Sun Sep 2nd, 2001 at 09:32:23 AM PST
Copyright infringement can only happen on works protected under the current copyright law.

The twinkle, twinkle melody is from an 18th century french folksong. It was also expanded upon by Mozart. So any copyright that might have existed for this melody has expired.

Berfore embarking on a crusade, you might want to check if somebody owns the alphabet song or not...

The Sonny Bonno copyright extension act. (none / 0) (#3)
by Craig McPherson on Sun Sep 2nd, 2001 at 05:39:20 PM PST
Sonny Bonno (I kid you not) sponsored exactly one piece of successful legislation in his Congressional career before his unfortunate, unfortunate death. Under the new copyright extension act, and several other copyright extension acts, it's possible to extend copyrights quite a long time. This is a very good thing; it allows people to pass down their intellectual property to their offspring for many, many generations. For example, the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are still copyrighted and his family is still getting royalties for them, but unfortunately the works of William Shakespeare are not. Every year, thousands of schools, performance troups, and television series are stealing money from Shakespeare's family because of the loophole in current copyright law that allows copyrights to expire after a certain amount of time.

If you want to know why Lunix is so screwed up, just take a look at the people who use it. Idiocy.

Copyright Law (none / 0) (#4)
by twodot72 on Mon Sep 3rd, 2001 at 12:45:03 AM PST
The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act only goes to show that this man was a complete and utter failure. In fact, copyright law as such is a superfluous, and even dangerous, piece of legislation.

The reason copyright law exists (at least in the US) is to encourage the production of art and literature.

As everybody knows; authors, musicians and other artists need no encouragement. They would rather starve to death than cease to produce. If they can't earn money on their works, they'll get a part-time McJob to feed themselves. Abolishing copyright law would ensure ubiquitous availability of art and literature, even in third-world countries.

So what about other copyright-protected works?

All computer programs worth using are already Free Software. It is currently under copyright protection too, but this is just as a result of current legislation; it would do just as well with no "protection" at all. Proprietary software sucks, and we'll be better off without it.

Movies, TV, and computer games? Apart from the fact that most of it is utter crap, it is also an inexcusable waste of time. Furhermore, it is well known that children are adversely affected by the violence in movies, TV, and games.

News? No need for copyright protection. News age fast. Two hours after it was produced, it's already worthless. There is simply no reason anyone would do any large-scaly copying of newspapers and news broadcasts.

To sum it up. Abolishing copyright would rid us of heaps of crap and ensure the availability of quality literature and fine art for us all.

Copyright Law (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by Craig McPherson on Mon Sep 3rd, 2001 at 01:05:36 AM PST
"As everybody knows; authors, musicians and other artists need no encouragement. They would rather starve to death than cease to produce."

This sounds suspiciously like the philosophy of a certain long hair. Geese of a feather roost together, mayhaps?

The truth is that the human being is a lazy species. Evolution has crafted human beings to be able to survive, and species don't survive by engaging in activities that aren't neccessary for survival. In modern society, money is equivalent to survival, so unless expending a sum of energy performing a certain act will result in an influx of money, the average person will not waste energy on that act, because it will not aid his survival.

"All computer programs worth using are already Free Software."


To show you WHY copyright is needed, take a look at a true piece of original art, Pokey the Penguin. Steve Havelka, the anonymous author of Pokey, makes his living through banner advertisements. If there were no copyright protection, people would be able to heartlessly STEAL the images and concepts of "Pokey the Penguin" and create crappy, illegal, rip-off Pokey bootlegs, hence putting Mr. Havelka out of his livelihood.

You absolute, absolute fiend.

If you want to know why Lunix is so screwed up, just take a look at the people who use it. Idiocy.

You are lazy, not everybody! (1.00 / 2) (#6)
by twodot72 on Mon Sep 3rd, 2001 at 02:48:45 AM PST
The truth is that the human being is a lazy species.
Speak for yourself. Most artists are used to a simple lifestyle, doing part-time jobs to supplement their meager income from the art. Truth is, after they become rich and famous, they no longer produce anything worthwhile. Fame and riches destroy their creativity. So if they don't like the simple lifestyle, we'd all be better off if they just got a regular job instead

We may get rid of purely profit-hungry artists like Britney Spears and her ilk though. This is just another benefit of abolishing copyright law!

As for Mr. Havelka and his penguin. The ripoffs probably just serve as advertisments for the original, and will increase his earnings.

huh? (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 5th, 2001 at 12:33:25 AM PST
How can you bitch about pokey bootlegs when you are housing some on your own site? Doesn't that imply approval of some sort? It is blatent theft of someone's work. Unless you created the bootlegs, which would be a nice little catch-22, you've really got to like the taste of shoe leather.

Sony Bono
P.S. I had some other good legislation.

P.P.S. You really ought to do a Pokey about the Libertarian wrestler.

You are owned. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 5th, 2001 at 12:40:12 AM PST
Val Venis owns you.

Wow (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Sep 5th, 2001 at 07:18:51 PM PST
The WWF is also a lightning rod for controversy

Just like ! I wonder if Sean knows about this site ?

You idiot (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Sep 3rd, 2001 at 05:07:30 AM PST
Every word, letter, vocal sound, and other forms of communications these days is stolen. Nothing we say or do is original and none of it is done with the permission of the original author(s) and none of those authoers are being compensated for the communications we use.

You're being wrongly pedantic. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by Craig McPherson on Mon Sep 3rd, 2001 at 08:27:13 AM PST
First, I thank you for your comment. I always appreciate feedback, intelligent or otherwise.

You say that because "Every word, letter, [and] vocal sound" that we use today has been previously used by someone else, that intellectual property theft should be legal and software/music piracy should be the norm. That's argument from absurdity: the two things are in no way related to each other. The words, letters, and vocal sounds that we use evolved naturally over time to allow humans to communicate with each other; they are not art created by a singular person or organization for the purposes or generating income or contributing to the arts and sciences.

This is a very bizarre fallacy that you make. You say "it's absurd to copyright the letter 'a'," which is true, then you say, "therefore it's absurd to copyright a song that an artist spent hundreds of hours of his life perfecting, and it's perfectly okay for me to steal that song over Napster." Absurdity. Doesn't follow.

Words and sounds can't be copyrighted anyway: text must be of sufficient length (often 500 words) in order to be copyrighted. Words can be trademarked, but trademarks can't be made arbitrarily: they have to uniquely identify a product, service ("Service Mark" would generally be used for this, though), or entity, either real or artistic.

Song melodies ARE copyrighted, however. United States courts have awarded damages against copyright thieves who have stolen as little as five notes from someone else's song. You'll note that the melody in question here is SEVEN notes, easily beyond the legally-established limit.

If you want to know why Lunix is so screwed up, just take a look at the people who use it. Idiocy.

absurdity (1.00 / 1) (#11)
by alprazolam on Wed Sep 5th, 2001 at 02:04:43 PM PST
why is it absurd to copyright letters but not songs. why aren't the descendants of people who originally came up with certain ideas, no matter how long ago, supported indefinately by people who's ancestors never invented anything? is the purpose of the copyright/patent system justice, or something more sinister?

Good to know you support stealing from artists. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by Craig McPherson on Wed Sep 5th, 2001 at 04:29:05 PM PST
Since you already support stealing from artists and songwritters, why don't you just try it in a different form: walk up to one of those 400-pound rap artists wearing a skullcap and gold chains (let's call him "BigDogPuffyBlackHomie"), and say "Yo, BigDogPuffyBlackHomie, word up my brotha. I'm about to cap yo' butt and take all yo' green from yo' wallet." BigDogPuffyBlackHomie would beat your into the sidewalk if you tried to steal his money like that. Then why do you think it's okay to steal his money by downloading his songs from Naptster?

"why is it absurd to copyright letters but not songs"

1. Songs are non-trivial.
2. Songs are creative works.
3. Songs were created to make money.
4. Songs are identified with a single person (unless the song is widely stolen and its copyright diluted).
5. Songs are a form of art, and art requires money.
6. Somebody created the songs. Nobody created the letters.

"is the purpose of the copyright/patent system justice, or something more sinister?"

It's about protecting property rights. There's nothing sinsister about that.

And get an account.

If you want to know why Lunix is so screwed up, just take a look at the people who use it. Idiocy.

Interresting theory (1.00 / 2) (#14)
by twodot72 on Thu Sep 6th, 2001 at 12:42:18 AM PST
Nobody created the letters.
Then how do you explain their existence. Divine intervention?

I'm not trying to imply that you were wrong here, I know you never are. I am just blown away by this amazing discovery. Wow, how did I miss this!

Explaining their existence. (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by Craig McPherson on Fri Sep 7th, 2001 at 08:56:39 PM PST
No, not divine intervention. The alphabet evolved over time. It was created by society as a whole; it wasn't created by a single individual as a work of science or useful art. IF we could pinpoint a single individual or entity as having created the alphabet, then of course they'd own the copyright to it, but that's simply not the case. Songs, on the other hand, are created by a human being or distinct entity as distinct works of useful art.

Artists put their time, their lives, and their souls into their music. Why are you entitled to steal it?

If you want to know why Lunix is so screwed up, just take a look at the people who use it. Idiocy.


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