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Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.

DigiTrad:
A GIRL NAMED JOHNNY CASH
COME IN STRANGER
COUNTY LINE
DADDY SANG BASS
DELIA'S GONE
DON'T TAKE YOUR GUNS TO TOWN
FORTY SHADES OF GREEN
ONE PIECE AT A TIME
THE BALLAD OF IRA HAYES


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GUEST,bernieandred 13 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM
meself 13 Feb 09 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,heric 13 Feb 09 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Paddy 13 Feb 09 - 04:18 AM
bankley 13 Feb 09 - 05:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Feb 09 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Paddy 13 Feb 09 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Jorrox 13 Feb 09 - 07:51 AM
wyrdolafr 13 Feb 09 - 07:53 AM
Jeri 13 Feb 09 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Jorrox 13 Feb 09 - 10:34 AM
wyrdolafr 13 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 09 - 11:05 AM
Jeri 13 Feb 09 - 11:08 AM
john f weldon 13 Feb 09 - 11:10 AM
bubblyrat 13 Feb 09 - 12:17 PM
Jeri 13 Feb 09 - 12:21 PM
john f weldon 13 Feb 09 - 01:17 PM
olddude 13 Feb 09 - 02:17 PM
Louie Roy 13 Feb 09 - 03:00 PM
meself 13 Feb 09 - 03:27 PM
wyrdolafr 14 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM
Ernest 14 Feb 09 - 11:38 AM
Brakn 14 Feb 09 - 09:28 PM
Art Thieme 15 Feb 09 - 12:40 AM
Art Thieme 15 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM
meself 15 Feb 09 - 02:37 AM
goatfell 15 Feb 09 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,bernieandred 19 Feb 09 - 08:53 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 11 - 12:24 PM
mayomick 26 Oct 11 - 06:11 AM
tenn_jim 26 Oct 11 - 10:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Oct 11 - 11:03 AM
mayomick 26 Oct 11 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,josepp 26 Oct 11 - 12:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM
mayomick 26 Oct 11 - 03:27 PM
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Subject: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM

I have just finished reading a biography of Gordon Jenkins, who was a well known arranger/conductor/composer in the 40's,50's. He's the man who "discovered" the Weavers & produced/arranged their hit version of Irene Goodnight. It seems that Gordon jenkins wrote a song called "Crescent City Blues" & according to the writer of the biography, the lyrics to "Folsom Prison Blues" were a "shameless rip off of Crescent City Blues". So much so that the publishers of Folsom Prison paid out a $75,000 settlement. Anybody else know anything about this??


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: meself
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 02:24 AM

Not much, other than, having heard Crescent City Blues, I would say that not only the lyrics, but the melody as well is a "shameless" etc. Cash was quite open about the borrowing - er, theft - in conversation with another musician around the time of its composition (I think it was when he was still in Germany with the Forces). He may not have been aware that what he had done would be regarded as unethical in some circles. There seems to be more awareness of or sensitivity to that sort of thing post-1960s. On the other hand, on another thread we have a fellow apologizing for putting up a number of someone else's recorded songs on Youtube without permission, apparently not having realized there might be anything wrong with that.

(I picked up the Cash stuff from a documentary I watched recently - speaking of giving credit where it's due!)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 02:54 AM

Yeah I read about that settlement when I went looking to see if Folsom might have been a little too "inspired by" Number 9 Train - Tarheel Slim. (No one else thought so.)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,Paddy
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 04:18 AM

...... There seems to be more awareness of or sensitivity to that sort of thing post-1960s .......

This doen't seem to apply to Dylan, see other thread about Farewell to Angelina where he is down as the composer of the melody which was written by a Scots man in the mid 1800s.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: bankley
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:33 AM

also striking similarites between Dylan's "Don't Think Twice" and "Stand By Your Man" written and recorded later by John.... but they were good friends...nobody was 'Sued' except a boy so named... and the lawyers weren't happy.....


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 06:31 AM

By this time, if a tune is totally original, it is only because it hasn't been used before because it's not a very good tune.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,Paddy
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 07:13 AM

I don't understand McG of H's posting!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM

Paddy - McG of H is saying what dear "old testament King Solomon" (the wisest man who ever lived) noted:

There is nothing new under the sun.

We have ALL "borrowed" from somewhere else.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,Jorrox
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 07:51 AM

I have a copy of the Jenkins song. FPB isn't borrowed, it's the same tune from start to finish.

The film dates from 1953 so Cash would have seen/heard it in Germany.

Vocals are by one Beverly Mahr (1953)

Lines from the Jenkins song that ended up in FPB include;

'I hear the train a comin', it's rollin round the bend'
'When I was just a baby my mama told me (Sue)'
'I'm stuck in (Crescent City)'
'When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry'
'I see the rich folks eating in that fancy dining car'
'If I owned that lonesome whistle, if that railroad train was mine' (In fact almost the whole of the last verse is a steal.)

I would say the around 80% of FPB is a direct lift from Jenkins. What I find strange is that, for decades, FPB has had a writers credit solely of Cash.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 07:53 AM

GUEST,.gargoyle wrote "McG of H is saying what dear "old testament King Solomon" (the wisest man who ever lived) noted:

There is nothing new under the sun.

We have ALL "borrowed" from somewhere else."


Now, maybe it's me, but I thought McGrath was saying something slightly different. Not so much that there's nothing new at all, just that all the good/memorable/useful sequence of notes as we understand them now are likely to have been used already at some point.

A slight difference, but perhaps an important difference?

Who knows what's around the corner? I'd have thought that some of the phrases used by bebop, for example, would have been a paradigm shift in this respect. Makes sense now - to some at least - would have been a bloody nonsense previously.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 08:39 AM

The Johnny Cash 'Stand by Your Man' isn't the same one as the 'Stand by Your Man' composed by Billy Sherrill / Tammy Wynette is it?

I agree that back then, nobody cared all that much. Lawyers were still evolving*.   Now, you'd get your pants sued off all the way down to the bone.



*Somebody ought to do a serious (not) paper on the evolution of lawyers in modern capitalist societies from the warm-blooded, cuddly puppy-lawyers of days past to the velociraptor lawyers of today. The velociraptors, as everybody knows, were forever-long-ago grandpas to the modern turkey. Poetic, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,Jorrox
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 10:34 AM

Cash sang Understand Your Man. This is similar to Don't Think Twice. He didn't do Stand By Your Man but Lyle Lovett did.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

Jeri wrote: "Somebody ought to do a serious (not) paper on the evolution of lawyers in modern capitalist societies from the warm-blooded, cuddly puppy-lawyers of days past to the velociraptor lawyers of today. The velociraptors, as everybody knows, were forever-long-ago grandpas to the modern turkey. Poetic, ain't it?"

The more history I read, the more I realise that lawyers have always been as they are now. The suits have changed but not much else.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:05 AM

Re lawyers:
The suits have changed but not much else.

Brilliant!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:08 AM

Thanks, Jorox. Makes sense now.

Wyrdo, I think the lawyers that deal with copyright issues are simply functioning according to capitalist principles. It's the way society works. I also think there are quite a few lawyers who, like everyone else, try to do the Right Thing.

If the concept of intellectual property existed when the Child ballads came into existence, there would probably only be one version of each song and we'd all know who wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: john f weldon
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:10 AM

Jeri...

If they were warm and cuddly, how come when Dick Turpin robs a lawyer, he's a hero... ...at least in song!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: bubblyrat
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 12:17 PM

Dylan's "God on Our Side " was shamelessly set to the tune of "The Patriot Game", but he did at least acknowledge that ( on TV last week !!).
    I always thought one of John Lennon's songs sounded disturbingly similar to "Stewball was a Racehorse",but it didn't seem to bother him !


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 12:21 PM

And 'The Patriot Game' got the tune from a traditional song and 'Stewball' is one. Not the same as using the melody and/or words from a song traceable to an undisputed composer.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: john f weldon
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 01:17 PM

A list of the traditional tunes re-used by Dylan would be very long. Woody Guthrie, too, and many others. Just part of the folk process. Along as you don't try to stop them being re-re-used!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: olddude
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 02:17 PM

In the immortal words of Jerry Rasmussen
"if we don't know where it came from, it ain't folk"

seems like most all songs have some ring of familiarty to them


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Louie Roy
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 03:00 PM

In 1930 or 1931 Jimmie Rodgers brought a infringement suit against Jean Autry for using the same tune as his song (Old Pal) and Jean's song (old Pal of yesterday) and of course it was during the depression and no one had any money so they settled it with a hand shake but Jean had to change the entire tune to his song which he did.In 1939 I believe that is the correct date another suit was filed over the tune of (When you wore a tulip a bright yellow tulip and I wore a big red rose)Somebody came out with the song (When you drove a buick a bright yellow buick and I drove a bright red ford)This case went to court and the person brought the suit lost because the other person had changed all the words. It leads me to believe that this has been going on for years


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: meself
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 03:27 PM

"If the concept of intellectual property existed when the Child ballads came into existence, there would probably only be one version of each song and we'd all know who wrote it."

More likely that there'd be only one version and we'd never have heard it, let alone know who wrote it ...


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM

Jeri wrote: "Wyrdo, I think the lawyers that deal with copyright issues are simply functioning according to capitalist principles. It's the way society works".

Well, to be fair, you didn't say copyright lawyers specifically and lawyers have had a bad press long before modern capitalist principles. I'm not keen on the idea that somehow lawyers are somehow only caught up in all this as much as anyone else either - like us, at mercy of capitalist currents and tides.

"I also think there are quite a few lawyers who, like everyone else, try to do the Right Thing."

I agree. Although I'd say, in a relative sense, "few" is the operative word here.

"If the concept of intellectual property existed when the Child ballads came into existence, there would probably only be one version of each song and we'd all know who wrote it."

I'm inclined to agree with meself poster below. I think given that recorded music was an impossibility at that time and that any enforcement could have therefore only be applied to either scores or performances, I doubt 'folk' would have ever been a music 'of the folk' in the first place and I doubt we'd be as familiar with any of it as we are now.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Ernest
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 11:38 AM

Jeri, here you go:
a short History of lawyers

Best
Ernest@law


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Brakn
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 09:28 PM

So do you think that Johnny Cash wrote "The Fourty Shades of Green"?


I don't.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:40 AM

Don't Think Twice It's Alright was taken directly from a song Paul Clayton sang called "Whose Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone."
Bob Coltman, a Mudcatter, wrote a very good biography of Paul Clayton. It is called Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival (Scarecrow Press).

Amazon and Camsco have it. And it is filled with the whole story. Bottom line: Clayton got no credit from Dylan---and worse, he got no cash at a time he badly needed both of those. Paul Clayton made something like fifty LPs of American folk songs---a huge amount. He was only marginally talented though, and watched B.D. and aspects of the revival being lionized while he, as he saw it, was left out.

There's more to it, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know some of what went down back then. It's a grand lesson in why a singer ought not over estimate their own importance in this little musical nitch we call the folk scene. --- As Jerry Rasmussen has said, "In folk music, there is no such thing as a career move."

Be realistic!!! It's in your best interest.

Clayton was a driver for Dylan for a while.

Art


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM

Sorry about that big underline error.

Art
Big underline error disappeared. JC


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: meself
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:37 AM

You shouldn't have apologized - you had me convinced that everything you were saying was really important!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: goatfell
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 08:12 AM

what about folksingers and musicians that steal songs we have all done it but we call it collecting


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:53 PM

Today Feb 19th a segment on NPR about this subject. They played "Crescent City Blue" which I hadn't heard before. Probably available as "Listen Again" at the NPR website.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 12:24 PM

People who cite Dylan's examples of rewriting songs in the public domain and Johnny Cash's theft of Gordon Jenkins' copyrighted song from 1953, Crescent City, are missing the boat, and don't know copyright law. It IS permissable to take a PUBLIC DOMAIN song and write new lyrics or content, after the copyright has expired, which used to be after 56 years. The old copyright law also provided that it wasn't necessary to give credit to the original author at that time. However, Cash took MOST of the lyrics, and did a simple cut and paste by adding a few new lyrics, which actually improved the song, as many people claim. But he also took the entire melody, and also kept the verse structure exactly the way that Gordon Jenkins had written it. Jenkins didn't bother to sue when it was first issued on SUN because Jenkins was a very successful writer and producer at that time, in 1955. By the time Cash re-recorded it for the live album at Folsom Prison, Gordon Jenkin's career had slowed down to a crawl, except for occasional work with Frank Sinatra, as in the acclaimed "September Of My Years" album, brilliantly arranged by Jenkins. The new recording by Cash went pop/ top 40 all over the world, as compared to his original recording on SUN, which sold about a hundred Thousand copies. Jenkins filed a suit with the copyright office, but Cash bought him off, and they settled out of court. Part of the settlement included a gag order on the copyright office, who were instructed not to give the details of the settlement, although they were allowed to mention that a settlement had been made. For about 20 years following the settlement, Johnny Cash's name remained on the song as the sole writer, with no mention of Gordon Jenkins. Once the word started leaking out to the public, Columbia mentioned on one of their Cash collections that Cash and Gordon Jenkins had each based their song on an "old public domain" folk song. The problem is, no one has ever produced that original folk song. So, it became obvious to me at the time that a cover up was beginning to be put into place, so as not to damage Cash's reputation as an artist. By the nineties, Gordon Jenkins' name started showing up on re-issues of the song as a co-writer. So, there is no comparison between Dylan re-writing a song in the public domain versus Johnny Cash stealing another man's copyrighted work, and claiming it as his own, which was considered illegal and unethical under the existing copyright law at the time.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 06:11 AM

I'm with King Solomon on this one. Charlie McCoy recorded That Lonesome Train Took My Baby Away in 1930 in Jackson, Mississippi. It's not about a prison but has roughly the same tune.
http://uncensoredhistoryoftheblues.purplebeech.com/2008/06/show-35-illinois-central-railroad-and.html


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: tenn_jim
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 10:51 AM

And don't forget Elvis and his first recording "That's Alright Mama" written by Arthur Crudup. Even though Arthur was given credit on the record, he didn't receive any royalties.

Sun Reccords was notorious for this practice.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 11:03 AM

must be great to write songs that are good enough to steal....


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 11:57 AM

Song plagiarism and the excuses for it go back a long long way of course.The Song of Soloman was a blatant rip-off of a much older Irish song ,Amhrán na Súilleabháin , The Song of Sullivan . When his plagiarism got exposed Solomon came out with that business about "nothing new under the sun" that Gargoyle mentioned.
Or so they say.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 12:22 PM

I thought Lennon's "Merry Christmas" was a reworking of Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love" and probably not coincidental since Ace committed suicide on Christmas Day in 1954.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM

I wonder if the whole idea of "intellectual property" has done more harm or good. So far as folk music is concerned I'm pretty sure the answer would be more harm.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash-plagiarism-Folsom Prison Bl.
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 03:27 PM

Could an extention of the copyleft idea help save the folk process? Composers sign up to an agreement whereby they allow their songs to be amended by other composers. If the song is recorded and money made out of it , anybody who contributes to the composition would take some sort of a cut. The devil would be in thee detail of course.

"Copyleft is a play on the word copyright to describe the practice of using copyright law to offer the right to distribute copies and modified versions of a work and requiring that the same rights be preserved in modified versions of the work. In other words, copyleft is a general method for making a program (or other work) free (libre), and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well"
wiki


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