Suing JibJab over using the tune and some lyrics of “This Land is Your Land” is like filing a class-action suit against grade-schoolers for using “The Birthday Song” to sing “You look like a monkey/And you smell like one too.” The contention that the song has been “damaged” by its use as parody is ridiculous. Have these people not been outdoors since 1999? Do they not know how long internet fads actually last? Sure, for some people the cartoon will be the first thing they think of on hearing the song for a while, but that will go away. The only reason Badger Badger Badger and All Your Base are still primarily associated with their source material is that they were either widely unknown before the humor emerged (AYB), or were original creations (BBB). “This Land is Your Land” is, or at least used to be, aggressively marketed as an assembly-appropriate song in elementary schools, and children’s brains are much more receptive than adults’. I don’t even think of the cartoon now on hearing the song, but of the inside of my elementary-school cafeteria, the time they accidentally let the record play all the verses, and, of all things, tissue-paper flowers. (God only knows why, as they weren’t used at the same assemblies.) TRO needs to grow up and let people have their perfectly legal fun. Though it would be fun to see them get a trial date a year from now and try to prove there was any lasting damage.


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