June 15, 2017

Imagine more possessions/It isn't hard to do...

A copyright half a century longer/And more for Yoko too/Imagine all the people who'd play "Imagine" in the public domain/They'll have to wait 50 more years/Their little dream has been in vain...


George M. Spencer said...

Nothing will ever be in the public domain again.

Achilles said...

Imagine is still a disgusting song. The ideology behind it is responsible for over 100 million government sponsored deaths in the last century.

It is only fitting the leftists who own it want to get rich off of it. They always talk about justice and fairness when they take stuff and they kinda lose track when it comes to the giving to the poor part.

Bay Area Guy said...

Hah - it cleverly encapsulates the problem with our rich leftist friends.

John Lennon -- net worth $800 Million -- writes a hit song, asking us to imagine a world with out possessions, while making many millions of $$ from said song, thereby enabling him to, well, get a lotta possessions.

Funny, I don't recall Mr. Lennon offering to share his many possessions with his less fortunate neighbors in Manhattan.

p.s. He also imagined a world without countries, Heaven or religion too. Sounds like Venezuela under Chavez.

David Begley said...

Thank you Disney, Congressman Sonny Bono and the amended Copyright Act.

Amexpat said...

Yoko's greedy. She even made Julian Lennon pay market price to get correspondence between him and his dead father.

Bay Area Guy said...

Imagine there's no money
From all the songs I sing
No roof above us
Not a bloody thing

Unknown said...

It's all about the money.

Yoko is probably just doing what she's told, or what she honestly believes Helps To Honor John's Dream. Which requires a lot of money. Carefully managed by her and those whom she admires and trusts.

I imagine John's ghost is laughing at the ironies here.

Oh, wait. I said, "imagine." That's a copyright violation, right there.

I denounce myself.

Etienne said...

The reason he didn't give co-credit at the registration of the song, is that he wrote the lyrics.

Regardless of any inspiration or even active participation by others, if the author doesn't want to share the credit, he does that at registration.

For example, Lennon's son gave him "Lucy in the sky with diamonds." He didn't get co-writing credit either. Because he was only the inspiration, not the writer.

I see this as a win for Yoko. You have to know she wants it. Plus, she can quid pro quo the shysters back.

Songs deal with the emotions of a particular individual. They reflect a particular instance or situation. The people who inspire songs are called condiments in the food industry.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

"Imagine" has become one of the Western World's frontline defenses against terrorism.

It doesn't actually protect anybody or change anything, but it is now an integral part of the post-attack Healing Process, along with Teddy Bears and candles.

Like playing Free Bird at wedding receptions.

rehajm said...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you...

Joseph Angier said...

I pretty sure that Ben Stein prevailed with a "fair use" defense against Yoko Ono, who sued to stop Stein's use of "Imagine" in a documentary.

SukieTawdry said...

I don't know how anyone listens to that song without an emesis bowl at the ready.

tcrosse said...

John Lennon Redux

Jay Vogt said...

"Imagine no IP rights" just didn't have the same catchy ring to it.

Wilbur said...

Merle Haggard gave a writing credit to his bus driver for something he said which Merle used as the opening line to a song: "I'm tired of this dirty old city".

Made the driver a cool half-mill. That's sharing the wealth

Bob Ellison said...

It would be good to start by abolishing copyright.

Jay Vogt said...

She's welcome to that song though - it's so bad that she probably did have a hand in it.

She must have also co-written "So this is Christmas", which is terrible and and ushered in an entire era of maudlin, mawkish and self consciously melancholy holiday music that is in part and in whole unlistenable.

Etienne said...

Bob Ellison said...It would be good to start by abolishing copyright.

2. Also patents.

3. Also state marriages.

4. Also jus soli.

5. Also intellectual property right.

6. Also public schools beyond the 6th grade.

Let's rename it "United Non-Federalist States of America"

Yancey Ward said...

In my opinion, there is no rational reason for copyright protection to run longer than patent protection. And neither should extend longer than half a life-span, and likely quite a bit less.

Bay Area Guy said...

Imagine you're a rock star
You could be like me
Getting money for nothing
And the chicks for free

sparrow said...

As Elton John satirised it in song: “Imagine six apartments/ It isn’t hard to do/ One is full of fur coats/ The other’s full of shoes.” (quoted from a UK paper)

Unknown said...

Yancey Ward: "...no rational reason for copyright protection to run longer than patent protection..." We are indeed in a strange place. I think of these rights as having various orthogonal dimensions: duration in time X extension in space X compass of the relevant creative landscape X inhibiting effect on others active in the area, etc.

Copyright is "thin" in the sense that it covers a specific expression among many many many competing forms.

Its duration is in your opinion (which I second) way long. And its inhibiting effect is at least irksome. Yes, you can "edge up" against a copyright work with "fair use" and "parody" and so forth, but if the Dreamworks lawyers have a Jones for you, it's going to hurt.

I do find it ironic that lifesaving medicines might get an effective patent term of 10 years (because they must be disclosed/patent filed on them when they go into humans for testing; and the FDA process can take 8-10-12 years before the product launches, if it ever does), while Mickey Mouse gets Life plus 50 or whatever. Looked at another way, it costs somebody billions to bring a new medicine to market and they might have 10 years in which to try to recover the investment, reeling constantly from the screaming of the SJWs over grandmothers and urchins dying in the streets due to Corporate Greed. Meanwhile a dope-head pounds out another song, hits the charts, and his lawyers build a career that they can pass on to their grandchildren.

It shows where our priorities are.

Dave in Tucson said...

> Imagine no possessions, it's easy if you try

...sang the millionaire popstar from the comfort of his luxury Manhattan apartment.

Nonapod said...

The general state of copyright, patents, and IP in general the USA today is abysmal, with the absurd timescales and excessively financially punitive actions for violations that are often unintentional. Sadly, this will probably never change. It's just not that big a deal for the general public, most of whom don't create much IP content themselves that they could derive financial benefit from. And they have more immediate concerns anyway. And for the people pulling the levers, there's just too much money to be made in not only keeping things the way they are, but attempting to extend them.

Anonymous said...

You may say I'm a rent-seeker, but I'm not the only one.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I mean, nothing's stopping the current owners from DONATING the copyright to the public domain, is there?
If they really cared about world peace...

Bruce Hayden said...

Hey - I know the guy who gave Mickey Mouse his extra 20 years. Or, maybe, more precisely, the staffer who wrote the legislation. Every couple years, when the subject comes up in our committee meetings, we give him some grief.

In any case, it isn't that easy to add authors to a copyright. In particular, inspiration and the like typically doesn't buy you authorship. Of course, money speaks here, and she likely has more than the first couple targets she or her heirs go after.

David Begley said...


Trump gets his payback against Silicon Valley when he appoints the new director of USPTO. Efficient infringement is done.

gadfly said...

Yoko Ono's mysterious flu-like symptoms are hardly uncommon among octogenarians.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health:

Influenza-like illness (ILI) in elderly persons may be atypical. Such patients generally present with a new onset of cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or rhinorrhea [runny nose], or a temperature 100° F or greater; however, fever may be absent. Elderly patients also may have atypical complaints such as anorexia, mental status changes, and unexplained fever as the only presenting symptoms.

Worsening respiratory status in patients with underlying chronic obstructive lung disease and congestive heart failure may be an unrecognized complication. Other complications include primary viral pneumonia and bacterial super-infection leading to tracheobronchitis or pneumonia.

Getting old brings complications, folks . . . I know!

Drago said...

"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join the Left
And whats left of the world will be as one"

Robert Cook said...

"Imagine is still a disgusting song. The ideology behind it is responsible for over 100 million government sponsored deaths in the last century."

Oh, quit wetting your pants over it. It's just the musings of a songwriter over the kind of world we could have if we resolved to be less personally selfish, presumptuous, narrow-minded, judgmental, materialistic, and dogmatic. It's not expressive of an ideology but is just a dream of a better world.

Lennon was a professional song-writer. It cannot be assumed he personally believed in every lyric he wrote. Most writers are not who we assume them to be from their writing. Even if he did have a personal investment in the ideas expressed in the song, as I believe he did, he was still a human being--that is, quixotic, mercurial, contradictory, confused, hypocritical, sincere, self-serving, and the lot. That he didn't live up to his best intentions simply means he was just like the rest of us.

Laslo Spatula said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot says…

A contemporary of Dylan, Yoko Ono's presence seemed to haunt him like a Prophecy of Doom: Yoko was an Old Testament force in the Modern World, a Goddess of Gloom, braying at unbelievers and those That Could Not Imagine.

Consequently, it took effort and diligence to REMOVE Yoko Ono's inspirations from Bob Dylan's songs. For example, after seeing her in a vocal appearance on stage, Dylan was beset by Apocalyptic Visions:

Outside in the distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
Yoko began to howl

Yoko, feeling that John Lennon was falling behind in his Power To Move The World, communicated her disappointment to Dylan by back-channels; some say she hinted at a transfer of her affections, causing Dylan to write the following:

Yoko, I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

Unfortunately, Yoko was not one to take 'No' for an answer; for a period of time Dylan refused all correspondence with her, even stamping "Return To Sender" on a Grapefruit she had mailed him in the post:

And someone says, "You're in the wrong place, my fruit, you'd better leave"
And the only sound that's left after the Grapefruit goes
Is Yoko Ono sweeping up on Desolation Row

Being that the grapefruit was obviously a reference to "Grapefruit", the 1964 artist's book written by Yoko Ono, Ono took the return of the fruit hard, a story discovered in her secret letters to Mark David Chapman (still unreleased to the public).

Perhaps not coincidentally, a year after Lennon's murder, Dylan wrote the following first-draft lyric:

There's a woman who hates me and she's swift, smooth and near
Am I supposed to set back and wait until Yoko's here…?

I am Laslo.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Paul Zrimsek wins the thread.

vanderleun said...


Bad Lieutenant said...

resolved to be less personally selfish, presumptuous, narrow-minded, judgmental, materialistic, and dogmatic.

I wouldn't go after you on selfish or materialistic, because I haven't met you, but 'presumptuous, narrow-minded, judgmental,...and dogmatic?' Bobby, get a #$%^&* mirror!

wholelottasplainin said...

Remember how US troops drove Noreiga crazy in Panama, by playing "I Fought the Law" and other ditties over and over again, really loud outside his sanctuary?

We ought to try bombarding Racca, Mosul and other ISIS strongholds with "Imagine": they'll be bleeding from their eyes, noses and ears in short order, begging for surrender and blessed silence.

tim in vermont said...

But the laws of England and America do take away property from the owner. They select out the people who create the literature of the land. Always talk handsomely about the literature of the land. Always say what a fine, a great monumental thing a great literature is. In the midst of their enthusiasm they turn around and do what they can to crush it, discourage it, and put it out of existence. I know that we must have that limit. But forty-two years is too much of a limit. I do not know why there should be a limit at all. I am quite unable to guess why there should be a limit to the possession of the product of a man’s labor. There is no limit to real estate. As Doctor Hale has just suggested, you might just as well, after you had discovered a coal mine and worked it twenty-eight years, have the Government step in and take it away—under what pretext?

The excuse for a limited copyright in the United States is that an author who has produced a book and has had the benefit of it for that term has had the profit of it long enough, and therefore the Government takes the property, which does not belong to it, and generously gives it to the eighty-eight millions. That is the idea. If it did that, that would be one thing. But it does not do anything of the kind. It merely takes the author’s property, merely takes from his children the bread and profit of that book, and gives the publisher double profit. The publisher, and some of his confederates who are in the conspiracy, rear families in affluence, and they continue the enjoyment of these ill-gotten gains generation after generation. They live forever, the publishers do.
. - Samuel Clemens

Not sure his objections hold anymore. The publishers don't "live forever." Now the problem is that nobody profits off of stuff that is off copyright, except maybe the owners of server farms. Better it should become public domain and be recycled into other art.

Drago said...

Cookie: "It's not expressive of an ideology but is just a dream of a better world."

"Nothing to live or die for"

Wow. A real "better world" that.

Telling that you would think so.

Heywood Rice said...

The name of the song is Imagine ok? It's not Let's make this happen my means of the existing political system and yes, that's Alan White from Yes on drums.

rcocean said...

"The general state of copyright, patents, and IP in general the USA today is abysmal, with the absurd timescales and excessively financially punitive actions for violations that are often unintentional."

Exactly. The constitution declares "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Of course, the Republican Congressional Pigs have been bought off by Entertainment $$$, so a "Limited Time" now means 70 years plus. And the Libertarians support these Government granted monopolies - just one more case of their "free Market" bullshit meaning nothing more than support for the rich.

rcocean said...

Of course "Imagine" is a worthless song, worthy of a Left-wing Brit who never went to college or had any contact with real life. Hey, imagine a world with no nations and no religions, Wow, we can get there if we "try".

Makes sense if you're a British millionaire rock star married to a Japanese and you don't believe in God or care about the UK. All those countries and religions must seem pretty silly. Of course, the "No possessions" thing will come last (if at all) , after we get rid of all the countries and religions.

rcocean said...

I just realized how antisemitic the song is. No countries? Goodbye Israel. No religions? Goodbye Judaism.

David Brooks hardest hit.

BudBrown said...

He was a dreamer but he did donate money to the NYPD to purchase body armor.

PackerBronco said...

Imagine is one of Raffi's nicest songs...

The Godfather said...

I guess I'm just a suspicious old lawyer, but I wonder why Yoko waited so long to claim authorship -- maybe until witnesses to challenge her authorship had all died?

I have to admit that I must have heard that song for 20 years before I actually paid any attention to the lyrics. "Imagine" is elevator music. When I took the trouble to read the lyrics I found that they would be offensive if they weren't too stupid and banal to take seriously.

When is the Laslo v. Paul Zrimsek cage match for best of thread?

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

It's not Let's make this happen my means of the existing political system"

It has happened to a certain extent in Europe, hasn't it? The natives have largely rid themselves of their borders, their religion, live for the day and have nothing to live or die for.

So they're being overrun by people who definitely have something to live and die (and kill) for.

"Living life in peace" doesn't seem to be happening however.

TWW said...

If not for John Lennon, would we even be talking about Yoko Ono?

Anonymous said...

I never liked Imagine much. Very naive and preachy The music and the singing are attractive & sound like Lennon is imparting a positive, up-lifting spiritual message. Yet the words paint a picture of some idealized but drab existence. I score it about as low as All You Need is Love.

I came across this one just yesterday- its a Lennon number from the 70's like Imagine, but way better:


tim in vermont said...

Cookie likes it because it is "The Internationale"

tcrosse said...

Imagine is Pajama Boy music.

M. Sean Fosmire said...

Reading the article carefully, we do not see Yoko or anyone else saying that she actually wrote a word or a note of the song. Instead, Lennon said that she provided "influence" and "inspiration" for it.

Bill said...

I'd rather listen to this than to that ghastly anthem of our age, "Imagine". The lyrics are easier to digest.

Bruce Hayden said...

"The general state of copyright, patents, and IP in general the USA today is abysmal, with the absurd timescales and excessively financially punitive actions for violations that are often unintentional."

I think that you are mixing some very different things together. Patents have decently short term - less than 20 years, guaranteed, and often much less. As noted above, pharmaceutical patents often end up with half r less than that, effectively, after clinical trials. And you can no longer extend the length of term by filing child applications, that used to work (and was abused on occasion, most notably by Jerome Lemelson who had a patent issue 40 years after its priority date). That is because term is now 20 years after the priority date, plus some of the excess time that the USPTO dawdled. Intent doesn't play a big part in infringement - you can easily unintentionally infringe.

Copyright, on the other hand now has an obnoxiously long term now (life plus 70 for many works). So, someone who created a copyrighted work at 20, and died at 90, would typically have 140 years of copyright term. But there, infringement requires proof of copying. Independent creation typically negates copying, and, thus c/r infringement. Because infringement requires copying, intent is typically impliedly assumed and required. Of course, if you can actually prove intent, damages can be increased, and if unintentional copying can be shown, damages can be reduced. But you still have the problem that copying must be shown, some way or another, for infringement.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Sorry, sorry; can't believe I left this out:

Bill Burr: Yoko Ono & Chuck Berry

Comanche Voter said...

Ah possessions; Yoko could imagine stealing another woman's husband. So there is that.

Fernandinande said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
Sorry, sorry; can't believe I left this out:
Bill Burr: Yoko Ono & Chuck Berry

Without the guy talking you see that Chuck Berry is usually really boring.

Fen said...

Whatever it once was, Imagine has become the theme song for submission to Islam.

And yes, the original is a testament to the continual and lethal mistake of Marxists ignoring human nature.

Imagine there is no war, it's easy if you try burying your head in the sand while the neighboring tribe runs off with your women and sheep, asshole. That's why you went extinct.

Oh look at all those T-64s cresting the ridgeline. Lets all join hands and sing Imagine as the mow us down.

Ann Althouse said...

"Whatever it once was, Imagine has become the theme song for submission to Islam."

What? It's the opposite of that. "Imagine no religion." A lot of people think that's a terrible dream, but looking at ISIS, it might make plenty of people think that all in all we'd be better off with no religion in the world.

Robert Cook said...

"Imagine there is no war, it's easy if you try burying your head in the sand while the neighboring tribe runs off with your women and sheep, asshole. That's why you went extinct."

Heavens to fucking Murgatroyd!

The song asks us to imagine there is no war. That is to say, no strife between people, no covetousness, no insistence that others believe as you do, no reason or desire to make war. It imagines peace between people. It is not a plea for people to submit to being preyed on by others.

What is wrong with you?

Johnathan Birks said...

Worse "great song" ever. At least the most overrated. Perfectly fitting for Yoko.

Robert Cook said...

"If not for John Lennon, would we even be talking about Yoko Ono?"

We probably wouldn't be, but Yoko Ono was prominent in the NYC avant-garde art and music scene. Lennon met her because he walked into an art gallery in London that was showing an exhibit of her work. She was doing what she doing long before she ever met Lennon.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie likes it because it is 'The Internationale.'"

Actually, I don't and have never had any particular feelings toward the song, good or bad. It's a moderately catchy melody, a mellow pop song expressing a wish for a world where people live in harmony with one another. I've never owned a recording of the song, never gone out of my way to hear it, never turned up the radio when it came on. It was just another pleasant tune among many. It astonishes me to hear some of the jeremiads of people here about the imagined evils of the song.

Jamie said...

I was a very little kid when "Imagine" hit the airwaves, so I didn't listen to the lyrics then. When Double Fantasy came out, I had just become a teenager and hated every song I heard from it, even though my musical tastes in those days were pretty reprehensible in themselves; DF's songs all sounded alike, they were all snoozers, Lennon's voice was even more fingernails-on-chalkboard than it had been in the Beatles. And then he was killed, and "Imagine" was back on the radio constantly - and this time I listened to the lyrics and was simultaneously bored and appalled.

We were all supposed to hear "Imagine" and think, "What a terrible loss we as a world have suffered! This beautiful poet, ripped from us by violence! If only we lived in a world in which the impulse to kill didn't exist." But the yuckiness of the song obscured the tragedy of his murder (it is a tragedy when someone is murdered, "poet" or no), and the sentiments it held up as estimable were transparently the cause of terrible injustice and suffering. I'm not trying to excuse religion as a justification for war or property rights as a justification for theft, but let's face it: imagining no possessions (for instance) is a fool's daydream, leading to more, not less, theft, yet Lennon's virtual canonization upon his death rendered it dogma for some. Far better if he'd used his brain and written, "Imagine every person/Respecting others' rights" - but no.

Mutual respect begets justice. Love, especially "love" in the "love of all humanity" sense, begets the justification of any means to an end.

Unknown said...

"Imagine" was created in order to allow decent folks the chance to imagine the unbounded idiocy of Leftists, like in France of course, and it takes great artistry to whatever-the-opposite-of-nudge is the rational mind of rational people seeking rationality to not only hear but potentially understand the hateful hate of rational, rational not sadistically solipsisted at least.

Sun Tzu would tell you to chop off your left testicle, ONLY IF NEED BE, to secure such knowledge of the enemies' notquiteOODA unloop.

But why understand your enemy when repeating "dumb" or "evil" suffice so well anytime omniscience fleets?

Unknown said...

Hitler was a dreamer, dann sure not the only one neither.

Unknown said...

And what about that son of a bitch "Barney" singing I love him and we are a happy family?


QED.Chuck back me up here (though I used to comment as Guildofcannonballs and you've right reason not to as is your likening like Shakespear woulda wrote had he my talent).

Can someone praise my insights and wit now, y'all late already...

Barney is actually a better comparison to us than Lennon, not just 'cause of me neither.

And my favorite Beatles song is sung by Ringo and contains:

What goes on,
In your heart?

What goes on,
In your mind?

You are tearing me apart.
Tell me why, tell me why.

Robert Cook said...

"...let's face it: imagining no possessions (for instance) is a fool's daydream, leading to more, not less, theft...."

Oy vey! How literal-minded can people be?

When he asks us to "imagine no possessions," he's really asking us to imagine not being driven by possessiveness, to imagine our not coveting material things, to realize that we all really are one people and could cooperate for greater mutual benefit rather than compete to our mutual eventual destruction. In a real world of "no possessions," there would be no theft as all would share everything with all.

"Far better if he'd used his brain and written, 'Imagine every person/Respecting others' rights.'"

In the world he's imagining, this is a given. Besides, that couplet is leaden, bankrupt of any poetry, even the dime-store kind.

It goes without saying such a world will never be, and Lennon certainly knew that. But haven't you ever wished the world were more peaceful? In a world less poisoned by ideology, the song would just be seen as a wish...a wish that we could all be happy, healthy, and free from want and suffering. To interpret such a commonplace sentiment as pernicious or malevolent seems pathological.

Kirk Parker said...

Bob Ellison,

Completely abolishing copyright is definitely going to far.

I think we need to attack the excesses on two fronts --

Legal: roll back copyright protection to something that reasonably comports with the Constitution's wording of "for limited times". Something totally simple like a single, non-renewable 21 year term.

Cultural: we urgently need to replace the metaphor Intellectual Property with the phrase Intellectual Monopoly, as that is a much closer match to what the government is actually doing in granting a copyright.