JibJab Settles Suit Over Guthrie's 'Land'

Publishers of Woody Guthrie's classic "This Land is Your Land" and JibJab Media, creators of an animated Internet short that uses the tune in a comic sendup of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry's pre

Publishers of Woody Guthrie's classic "This Land is Your Land" and JibJab Media, creators of an animated Internet short that uses the tune in a comic sendup of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaigns, have settled their legal disputes.

Ludlow Music, the song's publisher, agreed Tuesday to allow the cartoon -- one of the biggest Internet draws of the summer -- to keep using the song. In return, JibJab dropped a lawsuit against Ludlow that sought an order saying its use of the song was protected because it was a parody and "This Land" was in the public domain.

The creators also agreed to provide a link on their Web site to the song's original lyrics and to donate 20 percent of any profits to the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

"The settlement accomplished Ludlow's goals, which was to bring people back to the immediate message of Woody Guthrie," said Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the firm.

LiCalsi said JibJab's version of the song wasn't protected under copyright law because it targeted the election rather than the song itself. Protection under the fair use clause of the law requires that copyrighted material be the subject of the parody, he said. JibJab's lawyers said Ludlow was misinterpreting the law and that the song in the cartoon clearly was a parody.

Since its July 9 debut on the JibJab Web site, the cartoon has been viewed by about 20 million people. Equal opportunity insults fly as the candidates cheerfully trade jibs and jabs. At one point Bush sings to Kerry, "You're a liberal sissy," and the senator answers, "You're a right-wing nut-job."


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