Intellectual Property

You've Got an Old-Fashioned Idea Copyright Is Something That Lasts Forever

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hisgirlfriday

Today His Girl Friday is rightly revered as a screwball classic. But the movie didn't make a major splash when it came out in 1940, and even when critics began to take a serious look at director Howard Hawks' career in the '50s and '60s it didn't attract much notice.

Then something important happened. Film scholar David Bordwell explains:

Columbia Pictures failed to renew its copyright, and His Girl Friday fell into the public domain.

Entrepreneurs made dupe copies, in quality ranging from okay to terrible. You could rent one for peanuts and buy one for only a little more. Some of these bleary prints have been telecined and turned into the DVD versions of the film that fill bargain bins today….

Most important of all, TV stations were screening their bootleg prints. HGF didn't become a perennial like that other public domain classic It's a Wonderful Life, but its reputation rose….

Once HGF became famous, the proliferation of shoddy prints became an embarrassment. In 1993 it was inducted into the National Film Registry, which gave it priority for Library of Congress preservation. Columbia managed to copyright a new version of the film. A handsomely restored version was released on DVD, and a few years back I saw a 35mm copy whose sparkling beauty takes your breath away.

The lesson that sticks with me is this. If Columbia had renewed its copyright on schedule, would this film be so widely admired today? Scholars and the public discovered a masterpiece because they had virtually untrammeled access to it, and perhaps its gray-market status supplied an extra thrill.

Something to remember the next time the issue of extended copyright terms comes up. Copyright owners aren't the only people who respond to incentives and opportunities.

[Via Jason Mittell.]

NEXT: Triumph of the Will (of the Voter)

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  1. Well, ain’t that interesting. Great movie, too.

  2. Copyright = corrupt government imposed monopoly

  3. Our robot overlords tell us that copyright is what makes everything good and shiny in the world, and we should have perpetual copyright. Who are you to dispute our robot overlords?

  4. Copyright = corrupt government imposed monopoly

    Copyright = Allowing the creator to profit from his investment in time, labor and money.

    IMO – Copyright should be 50 years or till the death of the “individual” holder, whichever is greater. If it takes longer to cash in, too damn bad.

  5. Whether a film becomes successful due to a lapsed copyright is irrelevant to the wider issue.
    The public has no inherent right to view (or hear) art it doesn’t own.
    If an artwork’s owner wants to keep it to himself, that’s his business.

  6. …would this film be so widely admired today?

    Probably not, yet largely irrelevant.

    While I would agree that US copyright laws are sorely in need of rahab, a copyright is no more a government granted monopoly than the deed to your real estate.

  7. My wife and I were watching this at a nice, posh bar a few weeks ago, on one of those wall size screens they have now, albeit without the sound. My wife wondered whether the bar was paying licensing and could get in trouble. We even lol’d when the film ended and the wall sized copyright warning (something about Stockholm and 1977) came up. I guess the bar knew better than us.

    Of course, the problem here isn’t that copyrights need to stand in the way of a film being recognized as a classic. If copyrights in old films were held by a large and diverse group of individuals, then some of them would do the sensible thing and disclaim the degree of copyright necessary to get their genius recognized.

    However, copyrights in old films aren’t held by a large and diverse group of individuals (aka a free market). Rather, all the copyrights are held by a small and co-ordinated group of firms, and they act co-operatively to enforce an artificial scarcity.

    Not surprisingly, ReasonWriter Jesse Walker has misdiagnosed an antitrust problem as an intellectual propperty problem.

  8. The problem is Jesse that you assume that Columbia has a motivation beyond making money. Okay, so everyone thinks HGF is a classic. But what does that get Columbia? From Columbia’s perspective, it is better to have the movie languish in obscurity and make a little bit of money then become a beloved classic and make no money.

    Second, from an artistic perspective, I could see where a filmmaker would not want to see their brand name ruined by the prevelence of lousy bootlegged copies of their product. Columbia was only able to restore the quality of the film after it reclaimed its copyright. That seems to argue against the public domain.

    Did Columbia’s failure to extend its copyright on HGF enable the 1970s excellent remake “The Front Page”? If so, then there is a legitimate argument against long term copyrights. The Front Page is a brilliant retelling of HGR, with Walter Mathaw and Jack Lemmon playing the respective reporters instead of a male female lead combination. With endless copyright, artists are prevented from revisiting and rethinking earlier works and we are all poorer for it.

  9. TWC & some guy,
    I disagree. This story is relevant in that it demonstrates to the Disneys of the world one way that the overzealous protection or extension of copyrights is not necessarily in their own best interest. Unlike Warren and Lamar, I believe in copyright laws and, like you, believe they need a rehab.

    And once again, John misses the point, while Dave W goes off on some goofy, irrelevant tangent.

  10. “The public has no inherent right to view (or hear) art it doesn’t own.”

    How about the right to use it as raw material?

    “Not surprisingly, Reason writer Jesse Walker has misdiagnosed an antitrust problem as an intellectual property problem.”

    You’re usually convincing, but not this time. There is no anti-trust issue. There was plenty of competition and were plenty of movie companies putting out comedies in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (still are). The problem isn’t anti-trust at all. What is the basis for that claim?

  11. Where is my incentive to produce creative works if I can’t be assured that my ownership of that work will last long, long, long after I’m dead?

    /sarc

  12. “Unlike Warren and Lamar, I believe in copyright laws and, like you, believe they need a rehab.”

    Pro Libertate said it sometime ago that copyright is necessary, but right now it’s turned up to “ll” and that’s not a good thing. Sorry for the poor paraphrasing. Copyright = necessary evil.

  13. extension of copyrights is not necessarily in their own best interest

    Agreed, but again, irrelevant. Should we appoint a Culture Commissar to decide whose property is stolen so the public (and the owner) might benefit from it? Not my business, and not yours.

  14. Highnumber,

    I guess you think people send money to the creators of content that is in the public domain out of kindness I guess. What good does the high regard HGF is held do Columbia? The only way that is does is insofar as they were able to reclaim their copyright and re-release the movie. If the movie had remained in the public domain, its rise from obscurity would have meant nothing to Columbia.

    You miss the point. You seem to think that companies like Disney and Columbia are in business to do something besides money. They are not and are acting exactly in accordance with their interests when they seek to protect their intellectual property. That does not of course mean that their interests are the same as the public’s interests but you really don’t understand what is going on here if you think that Columbia has any real interest in giving over its product to the public domain.

  15. “I guess you think people send money to the creators of content that is in the public domain out of kindness I guess.”

    I own the Columbia Classics version of His Girl Friday even though the movie is in the public domain. I didn’t send money to Columbia out of kindness. I got something in return….something that I could have gotten for free.

  16. You’re usually convincing, but not this time.

    Let me unpack my message a little and see where we diverge:

    1. Mr. Walker is suggesting that copyright holders are not acting in their own economic best interests.

    2. I believe he is further suggesting that copyright law is forcing them to do this.

    3. I am agreeing with Mr. Walker that copyright holders seem to be acting against their own interest (at least in the case of certain titles).

    4. I am disagreeing that copyright law is forcing them to do this because copyright can be voluntarily disclaimed.

    5. Because of point #4, I am saying that there must be some other reason to explain the apparently non-profit-maximizing behavior.

    6. As an explanation of point #5, I think the explanation is strategic behavior in view of consolidation.

    7. I denominate the consolidation problem as an “anti-trust” problem despite the fact that this description is not my preferred description, and is even a bit misdescriptive, it still is the common word to describe the problem because of historical usage.

    At what station did my train leave the tracks, Lamar?

  17. Should we appoint a Culture Commissar to decide whose property is stolen so the public (and the owner) might benefit from it? Not my business, and not yours.

    Some guy: you assume that “copyright” is simple property rights, and is owned by the artist or his family. It isn’t. It is kept in trust by the government and proceeds are awarded to the “owners.” To illustrate: who determines the length of copyright? Legislators; the public? That’s the group of people you informed us in your previous post have no rights over the work. And if they don’t, and the artist’s heirs don’t relinquish rights, should they go on indefinitely? I’m sure you have violated hundreds of property restrictions just today: you drive a car using unathorized mathematical formulae and technology. You have hanging in your house copies of “classics” without express authorization of the creator. You’re even reading quotes from works without the express authorization of the individual–yeah, yeah, the government gives you the right to read it.

    My question to you is: what determines property? Is it the physical object. If not, can I copy Van Gogh’s colors without his authorization? How about the Grecian form? Is every melody used by Mozart off-limits? How about the artist from whom he copied it?

    My point is, isn’t every single work of art or technology a partial ‘intellectual’ property violation of someone who came before?

  18. were plenty of movie companies putting out comedies in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (still are). The problem isn’t anti-trust at all. What is the basis for that claim?

    To answer this objection more specifically:

    (i) it was economically rational to keep movies under copyright when first released

    (ii) it only became irrational over time; and

    (iii) the ownership in these old films is probably far more consolidated (both in terms of fewer entities and a higher degree of co-ordination of behavior) than it was then.

  19. But Lamar, they only get that money because they were able to reclaim a new copyright on the restored version of the movie. That is pretty thin gruel to base your business on. Who would you rather be, Columbia who screwed up let their copyright lapse but got lucky because the movie happened to come back into public favor and you were the only one interested in restoring it or Disney making a cool 20 or 30 million every few years when you re-release Snow White or any other feature from the Classic era of Disney? From a business perspective, I will take Disney every time.

    I agree that copyright protection is out of control and needs to be reigned in a bit. But, you are nuts if you think that companies like Columbia and Disney and the like aren’t acting exactly in their economic interests by tring to extend the copyright protection of their works.

  20. you assume that Columbia has a motivation beyond making money

    No, I assume that the rest of us have motivations beyond helping Columbia make money.

    Not surprisingly, ReasonWriter Jesse Walker has misdiagnosed an antitrust problem as an intellectual propperty problem.

    Between the “ReasonWriter” and the single-issue monomania, you’re turning into LoneWacko. There is no antitrust issue here. The rents derived from extended copyright terms are appreciated by small players as well as large ones. Unless you’re arguing that it was large companies that pushed Congress to extend those terms, in which case you’ve granted my point in the course of attempting to make your own argument.

  21. I guess I misunderstood you Jesse. I thought you meant that the whole story shows how the lapse of Columbia’s copyright on HGF was somehow good for them. I agree with you that the public’s interest is not Columbia’s interest.

  22. Currently, copyright law in the U.S. is written to protect the Walt Disney company. Whenever the copyrights on Mickey, Donald, Snow White, etc. start to run out, the period is extended, most recently courtesy of the late, great Sonny Bono.

    I think this is terrible, but the tale of His Girl Friday doesn’t provide much of an argument against the excesses of Sonny Bono’s finest legislative hour. Pauline Kael, who I’ve made fun of from time to time, raved about HGF back in the fifties. The film’s merits weren’t unknown.

    Anyway, if the stress gets too much for you, you can always relax at the Sonny Bono Memorial Triangle, just southwest of Dupont Circle on New Hampshire (skis optional).

  23. The rents derived from extended copyright terms are appreciated by small players as well as large ones.

    Name one film from the 1940s currently controlled by a small player.

  24. John,
    The movie was nearly valueless to the copyright holder because no one thought much of it. It spent some time in the public domain where it was given a second chance. The property’s value grew. Columbia didn’t renew the copyright. They remastered the film and issued a pristine version. You can still buy a crappy $5 DVD of the public domain version if you like, but you can also get a deluxe, great looking copy that is copyrighted.

    For once we have the complete formula:

    1. Make movie

    2. Let copyright lapse

    3. Remaster film

    4. Profit

  25. isn’t every single work of art or technology a partial ‘intellectual’ property violation of someone who came before?

    No. You might as well say I violate Shakespeare by speaking English.

  26. John, I’m not sure if we’re disagreeing here. However, perhaps it is this: Disney/Columbia/etc. are run by a bunch of old farts trying to figure out how to make money in the internet era. So far, movies haven’t been hit as hard as music, but that day is just around the corner. The tech is there, just awaiting wide distribution.

    This post supports the idea that lobbying Congress for more copyright protection isn’t the best way for the industry to go. People focus so much on the “property” aspect of intellectual property that they forget the “intellectual” side of it. That “intellectual” side, just like in politics or science, thrives on freedom, not restriction.

    If copyright is a necessary evil, then it shouldn’t be extended just because some corporate honchos didn’t like the price of their stock.

  27. I’d add that whether or not the expiration of HGF‘s copyright was in Columbia’s interest, it was very much in the interest of the many creative people involved in putting out this movie (and their heirs) who did not control the film’s copyright. The descendants of Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks, Rosalind Russell, etc. should be pleased that the revival happened.

  28. Name one film from the 1940s currently controlled by a small player.

    Pretty much anything from Poverty Row, I’d expect — when their copyrights are still controlled by anyone at all.

  29. “At what station did my train leave the tracks, Lamar?”

    At #4, which affects #5 and #6. While copyright could technically be waived, it doesn’t make sense to executives, would never be done given current business models, and probably couldn’t be done without a stockholder revolt. I would note that a “creative commons” license is a move in the direction of “disclaiming copyright”, though its more sensible in the rights it gives up.

    That said, I think many times the companies are acting against their self-interest, but certainly not on purpose. To them, copyright is their government-granted money-maker. It would be absurd to them to reduce it in any way.

    His Girl Friday is just a counter-example to that philosophy, and it isn’t the only one.

  30. “For once we have the complete formula:

    1. Make movie

    2. Let copyright lapse

    3. Remaster film

    4. Profit”

    When compared to the Disney model of release the movie, make a fortune, repeat every few years as neccessary, that is a pretty lousy business model.

    Jesse,

    There is nothing to say that the revival would not have happened anyway even if the copyright protection hadn’t run out. Quality tends to prove out over time. There are hundreds of examples of movies that flopped at the box office but later developed big followings through cable and video sales. Copyright protection certainly didn’t prevent The Wizard of Oz or A Christmas Story from becoming reverred classics despite recieving little attention when they were made.

    Again I think the argument against copyright protection is not that art is lost but that it is not re-used and rethought if it never enters the public domain. Had the Brothers’ Grimm Corportation owned the rights to the various fairy tales, there wouldn’t be a Disney today. The fact that Disney is now ensuring that there will never be another Disney through abuse of the legal process and destruction of the public domain that allowed it to flourish is ironic to say the least.

    Alan is exactly right. Copyright law ought to be renamed the Disney Corporate shareholder value law.

  31. If copyright is a necessary evil, then it shouldn’t be extended just because some corporate honchos didn’t like the price of their stock.

    I think it is. And you’re right, it shouldn’t be.

  32. The implementation of copyright in the US right now has so many major flaws to it that they tend to overwhelm any rational discussion of the concepts of copyright. The two biggest flaws include statutory damages (no need to prove actual damages) and the all-or-nothing aspect where a creator must maintain absolute control or waive all control of the creative work. Add to that the current corporate warfare against “fair use”, and it is very easy to ridicule the current environment.

    None of that changes, however, the fundamental rights of the creator of a work to control his or her opportunities to profit from that work.

  33. While copyright could technically be waived, it doesn’t make sense to executives, would never be done given current business models, and probably couldn’t be done without a stockholder revolt.

    Not what I thought you would say. I thought that executives were supposed to be experts at maximizing profits. I am still not clear as to why you think they are not doing that here.

    I mean, I think they are doing that when you consider their film portfolios as a package, and this is what leads them to NOT maximize profits for some films taken in isolation. But you seem to think that they are not maximizing profits because of . . . I am not sure what . . . bad habits? confusion induced by the ontology of intellectual property? Being worshipped by vulgar liberatrians too much? I can’t make it out.

  34. John,
    I don’t think anyone (other than maybe Warren) is arguing that it is always the smart thing to let a work slip into the public domain. My “steps to profit” was a bit of a play on the underwear gnomes’ scheme. Absolutely, you’re right – Disney does well with their movies, and some movies start slow and build a following, but this story relates another way that copyright holders can increase the value of a property – give it away, then sell a deluxe version. It’s not all that different from what Radiohead did with their last album.

  35. Just for kicks, let’s take this conversation beyond the cinema and into the written word.
    Name me one prominent libertarian author whose work isn’t copyrighted.
    Indeed, the very words on this site and in the print version are copyrighted.
    Isn’t it hypocritical to keep for yourself what you’d deny to others?

  36. @Dave W.

    I can’t imagine an executive saying “we have been granted a monopoly on this content, so let’s bring in some competition….”

    Perhaps I’m a vulgar libertarian, but I think competition is a healthy force, not a destructive one, and the His Girl Friday story is an example of that. It isn’t conclusive, and Hollywood studio heads shouldn’t all be fired. Let’s not make this an all or nothing proposition.

    But let’s be sure as fire that this has nothing to do with anti-trust.

  37. 1974’s The Front Page was a remake of the 1931 version, itself an adaption of the earlier stage play. HGH was a derivative work from Jump Street. Whether its copyright was zealously protected by Columbia or not, the ? of the original Hecht/MacArtur work would still exist, assuming it was properly registered and renewed, pre-1978.

    Kevin (IANAL, though)

  38. “Isn’t it hypocritical to keep for yourself what you’d deny to others?”

    Please go away.

  39. . . . but I think competition is a healthy force, . . .

    There is a difference between competition and theft.

  40. Name one film from the 1940s currently controlled by a small player. …Pretty much anything from Poverty Row, I’d expect

    Jesse, how could you forget this small player? They have too many films to list them all.

    Considering some of the work they have done preserving old films, they deserve a renewed copyright, and the attendant profits – (just not for eternity).

  41. “There is a difference between competition and theft.”

    Thanks a lot for the primer, Quinoa blend, but if you’d RTFA, you’d see that we’re talking about a movie in the public domain. Hence, no infringement involved.

  42. Lamar, I responded to the commented that started . . .

    I can’t imagine an executive saying “we have been granted a monopoly on this content, so let’s bring in some competition….”

    . . . which does not directly relate to the fucking article.

    Competition is not a concept that is relevant to copyright. The only concept that is relevant is whether or not intellectual property is in fact property.

  43. I can’t imagine an executive saying “we have been granted a monopoly on this content, so let’s bring in some competition….”

    No, but imagine for a second that HGF had been renewed. Under this counterfactual, you should be able to imagine is the descendants of Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks and Rosalind Russell getting together and saying:

    (i) gee, this film isn’t making the current owner any money;

    (ii) we will buy the copyright and free this content; and

    (iii) be pleased with the results.

    However, this wouldn’t really happen. Because there isn’t really a free market in copyrights of old films. The owner won’t sell the film to them at a price that reflects its economic value.

  44. Highnumber wrote,

    “For once we have the complete formula:

    1. Make movie

    2. Let copyright lapse

    3. Remaster film

    4. Profit”

    Did you forget the step that involves “collecting underpants”?

  45. Pretty much anything from Poverty Row, I’d expect [to be controlled by a small player]

    I don’t know much about films so I had to do some research to find out the names of some typical films made by Poverty Row in the 1940s. So I found out that the “Bowery Boys” films were typical Poverty Row films of the 1940s.

    The next step was to find out who controls the copyright now in these films.

    Answer: Warner Bros.

    Which means that things are more consolidated than you realize, Mr. Walker. Should I do another example?

  46. I think we’re getting away from the point here. When it comes time to decide whether to extend copyright terms, and the Disneys and Warner Bros. come in and say “but….our profits” we should view that with some skepticism. Copyright is a balancing act between freedom of speech and economic incentives, it isn’t just a profit enhancer.

  47. Dave W, maybe you should do another example. Perhaps a better one this time. The Bowery Boys were known by several different names (East Side Kids, Dead End Kids, Little Tough Guys), and did movies for several different studios. The ones they did for Monogram, a poverty row studio, are now available through http://www.oldies.com. Know why they’re available there? Because they’re in the public domain.

    Lamar, I don’t see the issue as much (if at all) different from patent law. What disney has done strikes me as similar to what the drug companies did/do when they “reformulate” a drug by adding a pointless molecule, and then claim another seven years exclusivity.

  48. Which means that things are more consolidated than you realize, Mr. Walker.

    No, it doesn’t. It does mean I shouldn’t have carelessly used the word “anything.” There are obvious exceptions.

    While you’re doing your research, Google the phrase “orphan films.”

  49. …and look, the Bowery Boys aren’t even among the exceptions. How about that. Thanks, BakedPenguin.

    A better exception would have been the movies released by Republic Pictures, which was later absorbed by Paramount.

  50. …And I should have been exact, less some HFCS addled lawyer show up to harp on minutiae: the films done under the name “Bowery Boys” may well be under copyright to WB, as the original films “Angels With Dirty Faces” (Cagney) and “They Made Me a Criminal (John Garfield) are.

    The Monogram & Universal films, by the same group of actors, with the same general content, done under the titles “Little Tough Guys” and “East Side Kids” are available through public domain.

  51. Argh. “Lest”. “Lest”.

  52. While you’re doing your research, Google the phrase “orphan films.”

    I have long known about the orphan works problem. Like the leading scolars, I think the sensible legal reform is a requirement of frequent re-registration. IIRC, I first read this proposed solution in the Posner copyright book when it came out in ’04. I thought the economic analysis in that book was a bit on the house-that-Jack-built side, and the prose styling pretty tepid, but I always liked his solution to the orphan works problem and see that other scholars have signed on to that.

    But, really the orphan works problem seems to be going away anyway, since 2004, because they let you put things up on YouTube and the like until they get a complaint. Good streaming free stuff on Netflix now, too. Let’s not forget BitTorrent. Although I can’t reasearch it here at work, my guess is that it is easy to get all poverty row films not owned by the cartel, but difficult to get any that have fallen into the hands of the cartel, despite the fact that the same copyright law applies to all of them.

  53. “East Side Kids” are available through public domain

    Actually, if my earlier research was correct and I remember the number correctly, the last eight “East Side Kids” films are owned by Warner Bros. and generally not available. The earlier ones are not so owned and are generally available.

  54. OK but who can we hang for the Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau version of The Front Page?

  55. I forgot where I saw this suggestion the other day, but I’m going to teach my kid to copyright every grade-school assignment he hands in.

  56. Mike Laursen: That will get quite expensive, unless you just mean to have him affix a ? to his papers. Copyright protection attaches automatically once the work is fixed in a medium.

  57. Side note for the Grylliaders:

    I have been using the phrase ReasonWriter since at least early 2006. Probably longer than the LoneWacko has been around. Eg:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/113503.html

    I have also been posting about antitrust and intellectual property problems regularly since before then (except during the intervals I have been banned), even though HFCS is usually considered as my “single issue.” I wish that I could tell you exactly when I started using ReasonWriter, but Mr. Radley Balko got his pink panties in a twist one day and deleted a couple of years worth of my posts here. Sad, but true.

  58. Copyright protection certainly didn’t prevent The Wizard of Oz or A Christmas Story from becoming revered classics despite receiving little attention when they were made.

    A Christmas Story really isn’t great and is “revered” only because so little of the great Jean P. Shepherd’s material was rendered as moving picture drama. This is the only theatrically released feature based on his material AFAIK, and the only one of two cinematic features, period. The movie itself was a workmanlike compromise that certainly wasn’t bad. His metier was the short story, whether recounted on stage, on radio, or on TV, and A Christmas Story, like Shep’s “novels”, were really strings of short stories with some strained bridging material.

  59. LonelyWacker was trolling us long before your arrival here, Dave W. He was here before I was here, and he will be here after I grow bored. He is immortal, and will plague us forever…at least until some Mexican comes along and offers to troll for half the price under the table.

  60. Mike Laursen: That will get quite expensive, unless you just mean to have him affix a ? to his papers. Copyright protection attaches automatically once the work is fixed in a medium.

    Yeah, I was just thinking of teaching him to include a copyright symbol on his papers, but who knows, maybe the quality of his work will be so outstanding that we’ll need to take extra measures against plagiarists. It’s a little hard to tell at this point, since his main creative output is buckets of drool.

  61. I was just listening to Shep on the drive home. Do you know about the Brass Figlagee archive podcast of his radio shows?

    It’s trippy to listen to shows from the early 1950s and 1960s, where he’s talking about the roots of things I only knew as a kid, and some stuff that we’re still talking about today: from his take on The Twist fad among America’s good church-going ladies to his visit to Guantanamo a year or so before the Bay of Pigs. It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if he fit in as a “man of his time”, but since he’s an observant outsider, it’s listening to a time traveler from the present sending us dispatches.

  62. Lamar,

    I did say that, and I still hold to that position. It should be at, say 6. Incidentally, that reference was, of course, a derivative work and possibly infringing if copyright really is at 11.

    amp?pre?hen?sion [amp-ri-hen-shuhn]
    -noun

    1. Fearful or uneasy anticipation that someone will turn the amplifier dial up to eleven.

  63. Well, at least we are talking to each other again, T.!

  64. Love that Brass Figlagee. It’s also trippy because Shepherd himself was quite a crazy cat. I cannot imagine a show anything like that ever happening again. That archive is great. Mega kudos to whoever maintains it.

  65. thoreau,

    Is it my aging mind, or didn’t Lonewacko use to have fewer immigration-related posts? I seem to remember him engaging more in the general silliness that dominates these pages.

  66. I do vaguely recall LonelyWacker having some non-immigration comments. Maybe the IllegalMexicans stole his SenseOFHUmor.

    I think Radley Balko should ban him and replace him with an IllegalMexicanTroll who will troll twice as hard for half the pay.

  67. I mean, the main thing I want to be clear on is that you guys (regualar guys, I mean, not the above-the-foldees) don’t mix me up with any of the other “trolls.”

    Ppl used to say they mixed me up with Dan T. I liked the guy, and sed so, but I nvr saw cause for actual mix-up in what we posted.

  68. “Incidentally, that reference was, of course, a derivative work and possibly infringing if copyright really is at 11.”

    I think it goes without saying that you should be sued into submission. After all, what incentive is there to create works of art if people like you can just use movie references without compensation? That’s not only piracy (act of violence committed for private ends by the crew of a ship on the high seas against another ship), but also stealing (depriving another of property with the intent of permanently depriving), burglary (breaking and entering the dwelling of another with intent to commit a felony) and theft (see stealing, you thieving bastard!). I’m sure that somewhere children are involved….. Oh the children!!!

  69. Yes, I’ve visited Brass Figligee, thanks to my pursuing links from links from, originally, http://wfmu.org IIRC. It was bad enough when I was just a regular listener to his show live or otherwise as first run (not when he was on post-midnight, though), but I decided to put off listening to the archive until it wouldn’t hurt me to get lost in it for an indefinite period. It’d be like living in a candy store.

    But the absolute best way to get him was on stage. AFAIK I attended his last-ever public performance, among others.

    And I also pursued cx. Decades ago via b’casting pro John Zondlo (then a resident of Hammond while I lived in Cicero) I was put in touch with, and talked to, Betty May (nee Grimes). I and my date did eventually meet Shep in a gathering of about a dozen, and I pretty well embarrassed him & myself. But then, most of our lives are in bad taste.

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