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June 20- Oh, Pretty Lawsuit!

Paul Berger's picture

What happens when a rap group blatantly copies a well-known 60’s rock tune for the purpose of skewering it by way of parody? Find out next Wednesday as I continue my Copycats series on the next edition of Dawn Eclectica, 4-7 am. In 1989, 2 Live Crew did a humorous take on Roy Orbison's 1964 tune ”Oh, Pretty Woman,” describing the titular woman in less-than-glowing terms as they rap over a sample of the original song. Crew leader Luther Campbell had sought permission from Oribison’s publisher to use samples of the song, but was refused. Crew put the song out anyway and were sued. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court and has become a textbook case for law schools on the concept of “fair use,” an exception to the copyright law. I will lay it all out for you in layman’s language. Pop quiz at the end. Also: the latest from Little Steven Van Zandt, Dead and Co. jam live in Flushing NY, lots of songs from the new crop of singer-songwriters and Richard Thompson sings about an Irish lassie with a crush on Elvis. Tune in live or stream afterwards at archive.kvmr.org.