The Case Of The Zappa Family Trust

Paul Carr has written an excellent paper on the clash between the ZFT and tribute bands. Looking at both conflicting points of view in depth, he comes to this conclusion:

How would Zappa himself have learnt his trade if his heroes Varèse and Stravinsky had asked him to stop appropriating their music into the popular music canon? How can musical ability and indeed our culture grow if we are not allowed to experience from the inside what the great masters have already achieved? Zappa was outspoken about this very process, as typified by the Central Scrutinizer character in Joe’s Garage. This album features the voice of Ike Willis as the voice of ‘Joe’, in a rock opera about the dangers of political systems that are ironically and alarmingly similar to those adopted by the ZFT. According to Miles, Zappa’s coverage of the suppression of freedom of speech in music was inspired in part by the Islamic revolution that had made music illegal within its jurisdiction at the time and this is something he continued in his much publicized confrontation with the Parents Music Resource Centre. It seems that the ZFT are attempting to implement precisely the type of restrictions that Zappa despised, and in doing so conflicting with his legacy. As discussed at the start of this paper, Zappa himself liberally incorporated the music of his heroes such as Ives, Stravinsky and Varèse in particular into his creative idiolect, and to restrict musicians and the public’s access to music goes against the impetus of the post modern culture we live in.

Note: I’m not posting this as flame bait — I just think it’s a really well thought through essay. Give it a read and decide for yourself.


Fair Use versus Corporate Avarice — A Rant

Consider the following case, of Stephanie Lenz, who made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” and then posted the 29-second video on YouTube:
Continue reading “Fair Use versus Corporate Avarice — A Rant”

ZFT vs Zappanale: Gail Loses

Taken straight from Der Spiegel (and translated to English by yours truly):

His name belongs to me, thought Zappa widow Gail — and so she started a lawsuit against the music festival “Zappanale”, organized each year in his honor by a Fanclub. She has failed however to convince the Düsseldorf civil court.

Yay Zappanale! So. That was money well spent, wasn’t it Gail?

Here’s the article according to Google Translate, if you’re in for a laugh.
Update: here’s the article in English.

Hat tip: Robert Graf-Waczenski!

As The ZFT vs Zappanale Soap Continues

I received Zappanale‘s 19th newsletter yesterday, which talks mainly about the ZFT vs Zappanale trial. Remember that one? Back in August, there was talk of an out-of-court settlement:

The Zappa Family Trust may be willing to compromise. ZFT lawyers now say that the Zappanale can use the Zappa name if they brand the festival as “Zappa music and more.”

Now, my German is as rusty as an early 90s Russian submarine but as I understand it, here’s how things appear to have evolved since then from the ZFT claim’s perspective: if the festival’s organizers wish to keep the festival going, they are to report — at the earliest occasion — name and location of any artists playing, as well as any (FZ) tunes on their playlist.

It would then be GZ’s deity-given, exclusive prerogative to veto any artists she feels “violate the integrity and intentions” of FZ, from playing at Zappanale.

A hostile take-over, if you will.
Nennt man solch eine Forderung vielleicht Zensur? Ist das nicht unheimlich? (Yes Bob Again, I’m way ahead of you!)

The Zappanale guys beg to differ, and so yet another court meeting is scheduled at the Düsseldorf Landgericht where, as Thomas Dippel puts it, “things are in good hands”.

On a completely off-topic note: yes, I’ve been out of the loop lately and yes, there’s a very good reason for this.

“Oh, do tell Barry!”

Any day now, any day now…

Wherein Barry Copyrights His Facial Hair

That’s right, you heard right: any and all of my facial hair varieties are hereby copyrighted! You see, being the type of original artist whose legacy is to be protected by my wife upon my biting the big one, I can easily imagine a scenario whereby some East-German lowlife scumbag rips off one of my iconic facial hair designs for a logo concept, thereby confusing fans across the globe.

Copyrighted Facial Hairone, two, three, four, five, six
Click the above image to view all of my Copyrighted Facial Hair Designs (hovering your mouse over the pictures will allow you to navigate back and forth). Any of you so much as think about copying these Facial Hair Designs, I’ll have my Burger Kuhnt scumbag lawyers all over you faster than you can say the words “Accept No Substitute”!

Word to the wise…