Thursday, May 17, 2018


The Rolling Stones Should Sue

There is an exception to your exclusive property right for art you've created; it's called fair use. Write and record a rock song, for example, and another person can play some of it when talking about it. Or a radio show host can play a few bars of it as the opening for his show (Rush v. The Pretenders). But it's generally not considered fair use if your use mocks or denigrates the value of the song or whatever, use by humorists and parodists aside (Amish Paradise is apparently OK).

So the 1968 Rolling Stones' song Jumpin' Jack Flash* has a line, the first line, in fact: "I was born in a cross-fire hurricane." And the members of the semi-pathetic CIA/FBI run kinda sorta coup against President Trump used cross-fire hurricane as their operation name. Our source was the New York Times.

If I were the Stones, I'd sue to make them choose a different name.

*There's another line in the song, like one in Aretha's Respect, which I have never understood. I've listened closely (like Woopie in the fairly shitty movie Jumpin' Jack Flash) a hundred times and I still don't know for sure what Mick sings. The lyric services have decided it's: "I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread." Certainly crust of bread is right, but "frowned"? What does that even mean? This is the line between "I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead, I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled" and "I was crowned with a spike right through my head." One of these is not like the others and "frowning at crumbs" is the odd man out. The whole song is an ever worsening parade of bad to violent to fatal images, what's frowning at bread crumbs doing in there? I'm willing to believe it's the best they could do but, come on, man.


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