Folklaw 21 October

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

No copy rights Folklaw well understands the importance of copyright laws, but again, it seems to be one of those things that can be taken to extremes. In the recent documentary Mad Hot…

No copy rights

Folklaw well understands the importance of copyright laws, but again, it seems to be one of those things that can be taken to extremes. In the recent documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, which chronicles the progress of New York public school students as they participate in a city wide ballroom dancing competition, 45 per cent of the budget was spent on music licensing — $184,705. In most films, music licensing constitutes one to 10 per cent of the total budget.

Writer/producer of the low-budget documentary, Amy Sewell, told Carrie McLaren in an interview for website stay free! daily that she negotiated hard for each and every song. “I wasn’t going to edit or cut any music, so I would continue to negotiate everything down until we could afford it … the industry should have a different set of standard for documentary films. We’re not Applebee’s,” she said.


Sewell cleared 50 songs before filming began, and asked the organisers of the competition not to use the songs she couldn’t obtain the rights for. She had to cut a scene where a group of young buys were playing Foosball and one called out “Everybody dance now”, a line from a song by C and C Music Factory. The three second bit would have cost $5,000. “The biggest danger with clearances is when they interfere with documenting real life,” Sewell said. Something spontaneous like a cell phone ringing is different than a planned event. If filmmakers have to worry about these things, documentaries will cease to be documentaries.”

No rights at all!

A student at Curritick County High School in North Carolina, US has been questioned by the Secret Service over a school assignment. Teacher Selina Jarvis gave her students an assignment to take photographs that “illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights”, magazine The Progressive reported. One student took a picture of George Bush from a magazine, stuck it to the wall by placing a red thumb tack through Bush’s head and photographed his hand making the thumbs down sign next to the picture. When the film was put in for developing at the local Wal-Mart an employee called the police, who, in their infinite wisdom, passed the matter on to the Secret Service.

In turn, the Secret Service turned up at the school and took the boys poster out of the classroom, without first consulting the teacher. They did, however, call her in for questioning that afternoon and asked if she thought the poster was suspicious. At the end of the meeting, she was told that the incident would be “interpreted by the US attorney, who would decide whether the student should be indicted”, The Progressive reported. The student was not indicted, but the teacher said everyone, from Wal-Mart up to the Secret Service, had used poor judgement in the matter.

A spokesman for the Secret Service was quoted as saying the department respected artistic freedom but had a responsibility to look into incidents when necessary. We at Folklaw tend to agree with Jarvis’s summary of the situation — “ridiculous”.

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US television program NBC4.TV News has reported that a man is suing an online dating service after a woman that he chatted to via the site rejected him. Soheil Davood said he had subscribed to the site,, which touts itself as the ‘world’s largest Jewish singles community’ under the guarantee that he would find “high quality, successful Jewish” personals and not waste “precious time”. He found a personal he liked in the form of a girl with the tagline “SuperFriendlyGal”. Unfortunately for Davood, she didn’t turn out to be.

The program reported that the 34-year-old woman allegedly made sexual remarks to Davood, claimed to work for the nation’s largest lingerie manufacturer and said she might have found her man. However, when she convinced Davood to call her and talk directly, he received an automated message informing him that he had been “rejected”. He is seeking unspecified damages and claims the sites poor design and monitoring had subjected him to “serious psychological injury”. Well, SuperFriendlyGal sounds more like a SuperNastyFreak but serious psychological injury? Come now, Davood, come now.

Very superstitious

The new Wallace and Gromit movie, The Curse of the Were Rabbit may not get a showing in the Isle of Portland in Dorset, according to Sky News. Posters for the movie have been banned from the area. For more than 100 years the word ‘rabbit’ has been considered bad luck in the region because the animals’ burrowing had caused land slips in the area’s quarries.

Instead, locals refer to rabbits as ‘underground mutton’ or ‘furry things’ and when publicists attempted to put up the posters, which blatantly flout the local convention, they were warned that the advertisements should not appear on fear of offending the locals. One hundred years ago a crane operator was killed when his machine tipped over when the ground gave way due to a network of burrows. In the past, quarry workers were so superstitious that if they saw a rabbit they would lay down tools immediately and head home for the day. The only poster which has been allowed on Portland is on the road off the island and says “Something bunny is going on”.


It looks like Clayton Utz senior partner Michael Sarkin’s three-bedroom Melbourne residence has been sold at the top end of the market, ahead of schedule. The Canterbury home, which was expected to sell for more than $1.8 million at the October 22 Auction, was sold before the hammer even got a chance to touch down at auction.

The one story house is positioned at the end of one of Melbourne’s finest tree-lined boulevards, according to agents Kay and Burton. The generously proportioned accommodation has an abundance of natural light and comprises entrance hall, formal sitting room, formal dining room, main bedroom (ensuite & WIR), 2 further double bedrooms (both with ensuite), and sun-drenched open plan kitchen, meals and living area.

Get those seeds inside

It just wouldn’t be Folklaw if the Romanians didn’t get a mention. A Romanian town council has banned residents from eating pumpkin and sunflower seeds outside their homes, after road cleaners complained there were “carpets of seed shells” covering the streets and alleyways, Ziarul newspaper reports. Signs stating ‘Don’t Eat Seeds’ have been placed around the town, but the council is yet to decide how much to fine seed munchers who break the ban.

Folklaw 21 October
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