May 14th, 2006

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And Now, For The Musical Portion Of Our Show

Something I've been sitting on for a bit, thought I'd share.

The Copyright And Trademark Infringement Blues

You say you've got a story, or a poem, or a song
You say you don't want nobody to steal what you've done
You say you want protection, but you're all in the dark
Well, then listen to what I say 'bout copyright and trademarks
It's easy to get flustered, but there's a simple way to know
That you've done right and got down all that legal lingo
I know; I was once like you, I was among the confused:
I had the copyright and trademark infringement blues

This only covers laws from the good ole U.S. of A.
So it might not help you now, but could be useful some day
If you've got a name, short phrase, or service or such
Then a trademark protection's what you want, it will help a bunch
It needs to be used or renewed, or your claim will expire
So don't forget or let it slide on down to the wire
'Cause you know that you'll be sad and sorry if you do:
You'll have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

Now that's all fine and dandy, I can hear you almost ask
But what if you've got something long? What's up to the task?
Well, then you've gone into the land of what's called copyright
It will keep you safe and snug all day and every night
As long as it's not written as "copywritten" or "copywrong"
Then you'll go home a happy man a-singing this song
But if you do not heed me or don't buy yourself a clue
You'll have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

You can register a copyright, have it all proper and in line
Or you can just put in a circle a little "c" and be fine
US law says both are good as long as it is for true
That the only one who wrote what you wrote is you
Plagiarism is not only frowned upon
It can get you fined, or fired, or expelled: you know it's just wrong
If you think you're immune and you can break this one rule
You'll have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

And copyright can last long past your untimely demise
As long as Disney has the money, then the limit will rise
So trademark lasts a good long while, up to ten years
While copyright will last you longer, you've got nothing to fear
Some people think it's unfair, that some things can't be touched
But maybe they're the touched ones, or maybe that's too much
Or you could just quote sparingly and call it fair use
Or else you'll have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

The Copyright And Trademark Infringement Blues, Reprise

You say you got it covered, you're an ace, it's all clear now
You say you think you'll never stray, at least you don't see how
You say it's just like child's play to mark all of your trades
But listen close and mark what it is I have got to say
Copyright and trademark ain't as easy as easy goes
There's traps and pitfalls lurking for the unwary nose
So open your eyes and ears and keep 'em here attuned
Or you'll have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

With trademarks, sometimes words and phrases become commonplace
You saved up your favorite saying but now it's everywhere and in your face
The courts could now say that it cannot be protected speech
If it's on every lip and tongue and every ear in easy reach.
So keep up with recent memes and keep up with recent trends
And be ready to lose out even if with you is where it begins
That's just the way it goes sometimes, don't complain or you
Will have the copyright and trademark infringement blues

But even a striking unknown phrase can't be your very own
If another maker of the same thing calls it that and it's known
Unregistered trademark holdings don't last very long
And even if they did it just is not very strong
So it sometimes can help to have alternative words
So you don't get bitten by someone of which you've never heard
Most of this is common sense, so don't act like no fool
And get the copyright and trademark infringement blues

Copyright is sometimes easier as long as you don't steal
Lines or "plagiarize," as they say, just to get a meal
Sometimes parody can save you if you aren't too derivative
With these things you'll have to 'spect some take and some give
It's a courtesy to ask permission first before you must apologize
If you start to do that, though, you might get a lot of wide eyes
And you'll no doubt get no's more often than a yes, but as a rule
You'll avoid the copyright and trademark infringement blues

So with trademark, be original and unusual and unique
But you might get burned regardless, that little "t" is weak
A registered trademark will protect you better, but costs more
To establish, but it's great if you get in on that ground floor
And copyright is just as tricky but the rules have more loopholes
So look up this thing called "fair use," just so you knows
If you're prepared and informed know just what to do
You'll never have the copyright and trademark infringement blues.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque