The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26082   Message #310947
Posted By: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
03-Oct-00 - 11:13 AM
Thread Name: Woody & Loudon: 1;Robbie:0
Subject: Woody & Loudon: 1;Robbie:0
From BBC News Online (Pity the publishers seem likely to be the only ones to profit!):
Pop singer Robbie Williams "substantially copied" a song originally written by Woody Guthrie, the High Court has ruled.

The Williams song Jesus in a Camper Van, co-written with Guy Chambers, was a breach of copyright of the late Guthrie's song I Am The Way, and of an adaptation by Loudon Wainwright III, a judge decided.

Williams and his record and publishing companies now face a trial to determine the amount of royalties or damages owed to the owners of the original copyright, Ludlow Music.

High Court Deputy Judge Nicholas Strauss QC said that the Williams song, from the album I've Been Expecting You, copied one of the four verses of the original song, later parodied in the Wainwright version.

Ludlow Music had originally agreed to the Williams song but a dispute arose over the company's demand for a half share in the copyright.

EMI had described the demand as excessive and offered 25%. The Williams album also stated that the lyrics had been reproduced "by kind permission" of Ludlow.

Guthrie's song, written in 1961, includes the line "Every good man gets a little hard luck sometimes" while the Loudon Wainwright version, described by the judge as a parody, ran: "Every Son of God gets a little hard luck sometimes, especially when he goes round saying he is the way."

In the Williams and Chambers song the lines were: "I suppose even the Son of God gets it hard sometimes, especially when he goes round saying I am the way."

The judge said: "In my view, the extent of the copying is substantial, although not by much."

He said that Jesus in a Camper Van took the central idea from the Loudon Wainwright version that the Son of God attracted bad luck by going round saying "I am the way".

"I think that this is of sufficient substance to amount to an infringement of copyright," the judge added.
(c)BBC News Online