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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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The Importance of...

August 25, 2004
JibJab Case Settled - OfficialEmail This EntryPrint This Entry
Posted by Ernest Miller

This past weekend rumors were running rampant that the JibJab case had been settled with a resounding victory for the two brothers behind the popular parody of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land (Rumor Mill: JibJab Settles Copyright Lawsuit - Complete Victory!).

Seth Finkelstein, who has been tracking the case through PACER, has now confirmed that the case has been dismissed (JibJab lawsuit dismissal CONFIRMED!)

08/24/2004 5 NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal Without
Prejudice by Jibjab Media Inc., (Cohn, Cindy) (Filed on 8/24/2004)
(Entered: 08/24/2004)
Although the dismissal doesn't tell us the final deal, given that the parody is still available on the JibJab website, we can safely assume that JibJab prevailed in the main issue: continuing to distribute the parody.

I'm sure we will learn more when EFF makes an official annoucement.


EFF has issued a press release: Music Publisher Settles Copyright Skirmish Over Guthrie Classic.

During the course of investigating the case, EFF learned that "This Land is Your Land," the classic Woody Guthrie song, is part of the public domain and has been for several decades.

EFF's investigation revealed that "This Land is Your Land" appears to have been in the public domain since the early 1970s. Woody Guthrie wrote his classic American song in 1940, when the copyright laws granted a copyright term of 28 years, renewable once for an additional 28. According to EFF, the initial copyright term was triggered when Guthrie sold his first versions of the song as sheet music in 1945. The copyright on the song then ran out when Ludlow failed to renew its registration in 1973. Ludlow believes its copyright -- initially filed in 1956 and renewed in 1984 -- remains valid and disputes EFF's claims....

JibJab dismissed its suit against Ludlow today. As part of the settlement of the case, JibJab will remain free to continue distributing the "This Land" animation without further interference from Ludlow.

See also, WIRED, which has more details on the renewal story (JibJab Is Free for You and Me).

EFF has posted the original 15-page songbook in which the composition was first published: Ten of Woody Guthrie's Songs: Book One [PDF].

For all my JibJab coverage: JibJab Archive.

Category: JibJab

Branko Collin on August 26, 2004 01:34 AM writes...

Is it legal in the US to claim copyright on something you don't have a copyright on?

Permalink to Comment

TrackBack URL: http://www.corante.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-pcorso.cgi/4272
This Song Is Our Song from Copyfight Once again, the embargo is lifted and the multiple rumors are confirmed: not only has the JibJab case has been settled in favor of the animation parodists, but EFF research indicates that Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" is... [Read More]

Tracked on August 25, 2004 03:34 AM

This Land is Free for You and Me from John P. Hoke's Asylum So, the rumor I reported on Saturday has been confirmed by Les via Wired News. JibJab has prevailed in their defense, and Ludlow Music has learned that oopsy, Woodie Gutherie's This Land is Your Land slipped into the Public Domain! But in a bizarre t... [Read More]

Tracked on August 25, 2004 05:44 PM





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