Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rosalynde & The Falcon: Copyright!

Steve Wagner Photography

But do not think we stole these tales
For that would make us thieves.

- from "Rosalynde & The Falcon"
There has been a lot of talk lately about copyright, following the Blurred Lines decision … actually, whenever the subject of the Blurred Lines decision comes up, the conversation is generally high-jacked by people who just want to keep emphasizing what a shitty song Blurred Lines is.

The fact is, copyright is a bizarre legal concept when it comes to art, imitation and appropriation. The Blurred Lines verdict is bad, because it imposed a penalty based on a mood or feeling - a grrove, if you will - and not on any specifically defined melody.

Likewise, Sam Smith didn’t even bother to fight a potential copyright challenge from Tom Petty (et al) when it was brought to his attention that the chorus of his Stay With Me has the same seven notes in the same order as part of the chorus of Petty's Won’t Back Down. Whether or not you think this is a fair decision depends a lot on whether you are over or under the age of 40.

In Rosalynde & The Falcon which opened this weekend at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, there is a running gag about copyright violation (I know, right?) in which one character, after mentioning a familiar song title, begins to sing that song but gets interrupted with the warning “Copyright!” before reaching the legally-punishable third note.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the text of Rosalynde & The Falcon includes samples from or allusions to the following works and artists. See if you can find all of them:
Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge
Gamelyn by Geoffrey Chaucer
William Shakespeare’s
    As You Like It
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Julius Caesar
    King Lear
Sneewittchen AKA Snowdrop AKA Snow White
Robin Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Lewis Carroll, Simon & Garfunkel, Woody Allen, Cole Porter, Jack Kerouac, MC Hammer, Battlestar Galactica, The Firesign Theatre and, of course, The Marx Brothers.
 "You may want to sneak back to see it again ... just to make sure you caught all the jokes."
- Christine Howey, Cleveland Scene
Rosalynde & The Falcon continues at Talespinner Children's Theatre through April 19

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