REUTERS-Music industry lawyers have taken a giant step toward curtailing growing abuses of copyrighted songs and other entertainment subject to royalty fees, production costs and performer compensation. Guided at the national level by the office of the US Attorney General, it will soon be illegal to "sing, hum, whistle, or play by ear" any song by a living artist or group" without written permission from the performers themselves or their production companies. Apparently, they're not just 'Whistlin' Dixie.'
Musicians are virtually in unison praising the bold step toward purity of entertainment. "We put a lot o' work into writing our songs, and it just isn't fair to have them butchered by people who can't carry a tune," complained British songster Ennery D. Aitth, who claims his fame and fortune have been ruined by impromptu performances by blokes who can't carry a tune in a bucket. It almost makes me ashamed o' meself.'
"It's no joke," comic Jahir Dawanabout says. Hearing people destroy my jokes is disgusting. I mean, they've got no timing, they don't know their audience, and they laugh too much, especially BEFORE the punch line."
Karaoke machines are being studied to determine whether to outlaw them altogether or to merely tax them to make up for the spectrum of music machine owners' poor to appalling singing ability. Already, police in towns and cities across the country have begun to confront no-name crooners and demand that they put down the mike and step away from the machine.' However, most cops seem to think it's bothersome "California Dreamin'."
Danny Papa' Cork, disco owner and entertainer makes his living imitating the greats,' as his marquee proudly proclaims. But he fears his business may soon be silenced once the new regulations go into effect. "I may not be Pavarotti, but I ain't no slouch neither," Papa' purports. His appeals to the music industry have so far fallen on deaf ears, considered by entertainment entrepreneurs as nothing more than "Sweet Nothings."
American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Leeva Malone worries that enforcers will go too far. "Do we now fear singing in the shower, humming our babies to sleep and what about aspiring singers?" she pondered at a recent tree hugging ceremony in northern California. She hopes she can convince the industry to change their tune. And if there's a backlash, she says it won't be hard to figure out "Who's Sorry Now?"
At any rate, days are numbered for when the hills are alive with the sound of music.' Which brings up another concern. Will they to so far as to condemn writing copyrighted song lyrics and merely speaking them without musical accompaniment? Thanks to the First Amendment, "That'll Be the Day!"