What happens when you combine eclectic, off-the-wall musical tastes, a healthy sense of mockery for intellectual property, and an unceasing bout of insomnia? Well…a post like this.
Some of you may recall from our (three?) intellectual property meetings that things can get awful tricky when trying to parse out copying ideas, borrowing themes, being influenced, and converging tracts of thought. How do you tell which is which? Where do you draw the line? By what criteria? What each of these rhetorical questions is meant to emphasize is the utter arbitrariness involved in such disputes.
So consider these two rather odd songs. The first is “Skah of Iran” by Canadian ska band, The Planet Smashers. The thing I want you to take away is the chorus/chant “Skah of Iran!” at 0:33.
Now, stomach as much as you can of the next song, “Trollhammeren” by the Finnish folk metal band, Finntroll. The important part for your consideration is the chorus/chant “Trollhammeren!” at 0:45.
The astute among you will notice that the dah.da.da.dan! in both is exactly the same. And that’s okay. However, if this were a Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber (sp?), or Kanye West (is he still popular?) song, people would recognize it immediately and no doubt a lawsuit would be drawn up by the record company to ‘protect’ the intellectual property of their artists. After all this is what happens all too often in the “real world.” But since these are two no-name bands, there is nothing that could be strong-armed out of either of them and hence, they are free to have the same chorus.
If this isn’t the hallmark of the arbitrary, I don’t know what is.
And there you have it, the absurdity of intellectual property summarized through Iran and trolls.