The Raunchy Version of Louie Louie — Lyrics Are Public Domain?

May 3, 2015

I recently wrote about the two year FBI investigation into the song Louie Louie. Read it here. The short version, some blueballed fuckhead agents and uptight feminists lost their shit at the thought that Louie Louie might be corrupting our youth.

The FBI had its theories as to what the “dirty words” were. But, they were totally wrong. Here is what the cops and the feminists thought the lyrics were:

After a two year investigation, the FBI concluded that these were not the words to Louie Louie.

After a two year investigation, the FBI concluded that these were not the words to Louie Louie.

The UK-based “virtual band” Flirt With Danger decided to release its own version of Louie Louie, not using the original lyrics, but using the lyrics that the FBI and the Junior Anti-Sex League thought the lyrics were. (source)

Gotta love that.

So who owns the copyright to those lyrics?

Inside the United States, they would be public domain. 17 U.S.C. § 105 states:

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

17 U.S.C. § 101 defines a government work as follows:

A “work of the United States Government” is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties. (source)

I would say that the faux lyrics to Louie Louie were prepared by an FBI agent as part of his official duties. That would mean that Flirt With Danger might be flirting with some kind of danger, but not the danger of a copyright infringement suit.

Well, wait a sec though…

What if the U.S. Government wants to enforce the copyright to its “work” outside the United States? It could do that. The U.S. Government work exception only applies in the United States. See S. REP. NO. 473, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 56 (1976)). House Report No. 94-1476, p.59 (“The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad.”).

Therefore, the Government could assert its right to the incorrect lyrics to Louie Louie outside the USA. Flirt With Danger is a UK-based band. Do they have a problem?

Well, for starters, the FBI would have to seek to enforce its copyright against Flirt With Danger, which would be a pretty stupid public relations move. But, lets say they tried. The “US Government Works” prohibition would not be a an impediment to their infringement claims in the UK.

So now what? Lets say the FBI was that stupid.

Aha! What about authorship? Is the FBI really the “author?” Wouldn’t the “author” be the person who called the FBI and reported those to be the actual lyrics? Wouldn’t the lyrics have sprung from the dirty-mind of Mrs. Complainy-Pants?

Perhaps. But then, Mrs. Complainy-Pants would need to try and enforce her copyright in the lyrics. But, then again, you don’t have copyright until your work is in a “fixed tangible medium.”

A work is “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. A work consisting of sounds, images, or both, that are being transmitted, is “fixed” for purposes of this title if a fixation of the work is being made simultaneously with its transmission.

So, Mrs. Complainy-Pants only had the lyrics in her mind. The FBI agent “fixed them.” But, did he really? Did he write exactly what she said? What if the wrong lyrics didn’t come from Mrs. Complainy-Pants, but rather from some kid at her daughter’s school? Wouldn’t he be the author?

The real story is likely lost to history – as is any claim of authorship. To the extent that any claim of authorship could ever be extracted from the jumbled mess of history, I think that our friends at Flirt With Danger are in little to no danger of a copyright infringement claim.

Me gotta go….


Avijit Roy and Rafida Ahmed Bonya – These Are What Heroes Look Like

May 3, 2015

Roy and Bonya - heroes in happier times.

Roy and Bonya – heroes in happier times.

While this happened a few months ago, I happened to be pretty tied up at the time. I can not let any more time pass without a post honoring Avijit Roy and Rafida Ahmed Bonya. And it came to mind today, because finally an organization came forward trying to claim responsibility for Roy’s death and Bonya’s dismemberment.

Roy immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, and he is precisely the kind of immigrant that fills America’s veins with much needed new blood. He embraced his First Amendment rights with alacrity, and became a prominent blogger, advocating for free expression and free thought.

And for that, some of his countrymen called for his head.

For his advocacy and for his words, he became a target. In late February, he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, attended a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Afterward, Islamic fundamentalists attacked them with machetes, killing him and severely wounding his wife. Reportedly, police stood by and watched as the attack went on.

Michael De Dora, the director of the Center for Inquiry’s office of public policy, reacted to news of Mr. Roy’s death in a statement on the center’s website.

“Avijit was brilliant, yes, and a devoted advocate of free expression and secularism, but also just a very good person,” Mr. De Dora said. “Avijit was an inspiration to countless other freethinkers, in Bangladesh and around the world, and he was an inspiration to me.” (source)

Just today, a supposed faction of Al Quaeda claimed responsibility for the murder. (source) Strange in a few ways… for starters, did these particular savages not know that they were responsible more than two months ago? Why the delay? Oh, that fundamentalist bureaucracy.

And worse than that, I can’t imagine the depravity or lack of honor in anyone who would brag that they had any part in this cowardly attack. Mr. Roy and Ms. Bonya were (and are) the best kind of people — people who walked into danger, heads held high, for the cause of promoting freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

Mr. Roy paid the ultimate price for that. Ms. Bonya, some might argue paid even more – losing her husband and being horribly wounded in the attack.

If some goat-fucking animals want to claim responsibility for harming them, then so be it. Let the rest of us simply use the publicity stunt as an opportunity to once again raise them on our shoulders and proclaim them what they are – heroes.

And if these goat-fuckers think that claiming responsibility helps their cause, they are sorely mistaken. I have a dim view of any Abrhamic religion. But, the dimmest view I reserve for Islam. Why? Isn’t it obvious? As bad as any Jewish or Christian fundamentalist can get, it has been quite a long time since there were any serious movements within those communities that would support such a barbaric act. I’m not excusing Jewish or Christian sins here, and there have been plenty worth noting, but Islam seems to have recently given us a very special and low breed of cowardice and dishonor.

Charlie Hebdo could not possibly insult Islam as well as Muslims do on their own, in the name of their religion.

All those who attacked Roy and Bonya have accomplished is to raise their victims to hero status, while lowering themselves and bringing more dishonor to Islam than a Mohammed cartoon etched in bacon.


Mike Tyson is Awesome

May 3, 2015

This is why Mike Tyson is always welcome around here. Tell it like it is, Mike.


On the other hand, this is why The Battle of Baltimore is already lost

May 2, 2015

Because the fucking morons who have a chance to do anything about it are sucking the government’s dick by playing right into their hands. As long as we can divide people up by race, nobody will really give a shit about the actual problem here.

Some of the young men wore bandanas to hide their identities. Several young men identified themselves as members of the Crips, Bloods and Black Guerrilla Family street gangs. One Crips member, who called himself Charles, said the gang members had taken to the streets because “there is only so far that you can push people into a corner. We’re frustrated and that’s why we’re out there in the streets.”

He described how he and some Bloods members stood in front of stores that they knew were black-owned business, to protect them from looting and vandalism. He said they made sure no black youths, or reporters, were injured by rioters.

Instead, he said, they pointed the rioters toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores. (source)

Granted, I can’t exactly expect the Crips and Bloods to be all politically and socially mature. At the same time, I can’t very well accept anyone saying “Black lives matter, go after the immigrants.”

A heartfelt sarcastic “well done” to the stupid fucks who encourage this kind of thing. This makes me care just a tiny bit less when I see cops being racist toward black people.

H/T: Amy Alkon


The Battle of Baltimore shows us why UDC is the “elite” school in DC

May 2, 2015

In the wake of the Michael Brown verdict and the Ferguson uprising, a number of “elite” law schools decided that their students could get a deferral on exams if they were “emotionally” unable to proceed. (source)

This reinforces the impression that the so-called elite law schools are simply places where students are pre-selected and then coddled. As a graduate of one of these schools (Georgetown), I’ll confirm that the quality of the education is clearly secondary to the “brand name.” I did a year as a visiting student at the University of Florida, which is a little lower ranked – and got way better education there.

Of course, I only got into Georgetown as a fluke. I actually got piss drunk with a member of the admissions committee one night in September of 1997, at the Irish Times. He asked me what I did before law school. I said “my last job was working on oil tankers and freighters.” He said “ohhh, I remember you! We thought it would be very interesting to see how the other students would react to someone with your background.” I held back from punching him in the face. But, at least I knew what the fuck I was doing there. Yep, I was an affirmative action admission – I guess they saved one seat for foul mouthed sailor working class shitbags.

And then I figured out that it was impossible to get less than a C. Even then, you really had to work at it — like by falling asleep in class, snoring, not studying for the exam, and getting two right out of 10 questions. That was C performance.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine who transferred in from a “Fourth Tier Toilet” of a law school told me about how his school had a “forced fail” curve. If, by some miracle, everyone in the class at that steaming pile of shit happened to be a genius, and you got 95% of your exam right, you could still get an F.

Meanwhile, the milk fed pussies at Georgetown (like me) surfed to a comfy graduation by barely showing up.

And apparently, nothing has changed. If you were just too upset to take your exams, you didn’t have to. Don’t misunderstand me, Ferguson and Michael Brown were really worth getting pissed off about. Hell, I was pretty fucking upset. But, what do you think a judge would have done if I filed a motion for a continuance, saying “sorry judge, I’m just too upset about Ferguson, can we change this hearing date?” I would hope that she would benchslap me in a manner worthy of making it on to Above the Law, and not in a good way.

So suck those T-14 teats you special little snowflakes, because the University of the District of Columbia just pwned your coddled asses.

In the wake of the Baltimore clashes, the University of the District of Columbia (which is consistently ranked near the bottom of the rankings) made a top tier decision. Its students are able to get a deferral if they get involved. (source)

Here is what the dean wrote to the students:

Dear Students,

We have been watching the news from Baltimore and know that it is having a profound effect on many in the Law School community. As John Lewis said earlier this week, community/police relations is the civil rights issue of this time. Across this Nation, for nearly a year, the concerns of communities of color about persistent and long standing police abuse, have been reflected in demonstrations and public debate. The energy and commitment of those involved in the movement is inspiring and we want the Law School to be part of it.

The situation in Baltimore is of particular concern. Not only is Baltimore just 30 miles up the road, but many members of our community have roots in the City. It is important that we not ignore what is happening to our neighbors. Several students have come to the Deans with a request that they be permitted to defer an exam so that they can provide legal observer and other assistance to those who have taken to the streets to exercise their First Amendment rights and to address these serious issues.

We would like to support this activism. To that end, if any student wishes to participate in legal support for the demonstrations, we will defer one exam until May 11. To do so, you need to connect with one of the legal assistance organizations, develop a plan for the assistance you intend to provide and get this information to Dean Steward before your exam. If you are having difficulty in identifying a group to work with, please let me know and we can assist you. In addition, because these issues affect everyone at the Law School, we would be pleased to support a student organized teach-in. A community event that brings us together around these issues and promotes mutual support is important during these challenging times.

The police accountability movement needs and will continue to need the best lawyers that we can train. It is our aspiration that you become the future of the legal support for the most important cases of the next generation. It is critical that, while we pay attention to what is going on today, that we not lose sight of the essential role you will play once you pass the bar. We need to invest in you to be prepared to play that role. That is our shared commitment.

So if you went to Harvard, you got an exam deferral because your little pink feels were hurt. Because you wanted to stay home and weep into your blankie.

Meanwhile, UDC steps up and sends its students out to protect the First Amendment, to help with criminal prosecutions, to be involved in police accountability issues.

UDC wins.

Meanwhile, the little snowflakes will have their resumes given great deference when applying for clerkships and summer associate positions. Maybe its time to re-think that. If you ask me, UDC is the “elite” school in DC, at least for the time being.


“Driving Drunk Woo!” – Don’t do that

May 2, 2015

Florida Man, I have a wife for you.

While she was driving drunk, on the way to an intersection where she would ultimately crash into a car and kill her passenger, a Florida Woman texted to her ex-boyfriend “Driving drunk woo!” (source)

I don’t do criminal law, so take this advice for what it is worth — but, if you are going to drive drunk, don’t also text “driving drunk woo” from your phone while doing it. Or don’t drive drunk. Or just don’t be fucking stupid.

But that’s a lot to ask, I know.


What are the Lyrics to Louie Louie? The FBI figured it out, finally….

May 2, 2015
We must marshall the forces of the US Government to fight this menace!

We must marshall the forces of the US Government to fight this menace!

Would you believe that the FBI conducted a two year investigation into whether someone should go to jail for “Louie Louie.”? Yeah, the song. A threat to national security and order!

The FBI documents are here.

Can you imagine what kind of blueballed hall monitor dipshit fuckhead decided that there should be an FBI investigation at all much less one that lasted for two years?

I can.

They’re the kind of people who now find themselves as administrators at colleges and law schools. They’re the kind of people who have decided that “that kind of thing” bothers them — even if the “thing” has changed (but not really by a lot). Although this letter was most certainly not written by Catharine MacKinnon, you can find her spirit in between the lines. (Will over-privileged bored white women always be the bane of liberty?) See also Catharine A. MacKinnon, Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech, 20 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1, 3 & n.2 (1985).

A threat to national security

A threat to national security

It should come as little surprise that the ball started rolling with the Indianapolis and Tampa FBI offices. Yep. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Two bastions of stupidity in 1964, and 50 years later, not much has changed. See, e.g., American Booksellers v. Hudnut, 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985). In all fairness, Detroit really picked up the ball and ran with it too. So, lets hear it for a tradition of wasting time and money.

The punch line? Do you know the lyrics to “Louie Louie?”

No, without using Wikipedia.

How many times have you drunkenly swayed back and forth screaming absolute nonsense, knowing full well that the only words you know to it are “Louie Lou-waaay,” “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” and “we gotta go?” Hell, I’ve even performed the song on stage, no fucking idea what the lyrics are. (Spolier alert, it isn’t “we gotta go”)

Well I feel better now.

Because after two years of investigation, including analysis of the song by the same FBI laboratories that would decode Soviet spy transmissions, I’ve figured out that not knowing the words to Louie Louie doesn’t make me all that stupid.

Here’s what our government came up with:

Even FBI experts can not figure out the words to Louie Louie!

Even FBI experts can not figure out the words to Louie Louie!

With all the power of the FBI’s labs, nobody could figure out what the lyrics were! (Letter) It seems that at least four field offices, plus the Washington headquarters, and at least two separate analysis labs listened to the record again and again, and they couldn’t figure it out.

Yep, we broke enemy codes in World War II, but the collective might of American superpower intelligence could not figure out the words to Louie Louie. The same guys who were supposedly keeping us safe from the Soviet menace were sitting there with 45 RPM records and could not discern the meaning of the song. I shudder to think what might have happened if the Soviets really decided to screw with us back then.

Finally, some genius decided (after more than a year of investigation and lab analysis) to just ask the record company what the lyrics were.

That helped us determine that maybe the FBI was wasting its time. (report here) Of course, that did not end things, because another office still referred it to the lab for analysis. (memorandum)

And, they still didn’t have the lyrics right.

Finally, some real genius thought of the idea of taking a stroll down to the copyright office — you know, the one down the street from the FBI.

You see, the song was registered, and the lyric sheet was right there sitting in a public record. So once they figured that out , our tax dollars finally gave us this definitive determination of the lyrics to Louie Louie. (investigation sheet) Yep, years of research, lab techs slowing down the record, all the powers of the federal government, and finally someone thought to walk over to the copyright office and take a look.

Oh, and what ARE the lyrics?

Louie Louie Lyrics 1

Louie Louie Lyrics 2

There you go, courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation — the lyrics to Louie Louie, finally! Now next time you sing it, you’ll know.

If you think that this is more about Louie Louie than you ever wanted to know, Eric Predoehl, is actually doing a complete documentary on the song. (source) An interview with him on NPR was the inspiration for this post.


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