CLOSE
Original image
YouTube

How Do Royalties Work for "Weird Al" Songs?

Original image
YouTube

In 2014, "Weird Al" Yankovic's Mandatory Fun debuted as the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. It's Yankovic's first-ever chart-topping album and the first comedy album to hit number one since 1963's My Son, The Nut by Allan Sherman (featuring "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)," which will be stuck in your head as soon as you finish reading this parenthetical aside).

On Mandatory Fun, Yankovic parodies Pharrell's "Happy" ("Tacky"), Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy"), and Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil." It's about aluminum foil and storing leftovers.) The album sold around 104,000 copies in its first week, but do the artists "Weird Al" lampoons get a cut?

"Song parodies can be characterized as fair use," says copyright lawyer Justin Jacobson of The Jacobson Firm. "This is different than recording cover songs, which would require the person covering the song to obtain a mechanical license through the Harry Fox Agency, permitting the artist to create a new version of the original song."

Despite being in the clear, legally, "Weird Al" goes out of his way to shore it up with the artists. "Al does get permission from the original writers of the songs that he parodies," says the archived official "Weird Al" website. "He feels it's important to maintain the relationships that he's built with artists and writers over the years. Plus, Al wants to make sure that he gets his songwriter credit (as writer of new lyrics) as well as his rightful share of the royalties."

Those royalty shares can vary. In a 1991 law journal abstract, "Stranger in Parodies: Weird Al and the Law of Musical Satire," it's revealed that royalties are "done on a negotiated basis with terms of compensation varying from a flat fee buyout to royalty participation." Chuck Hurewitz, Yankovic's lawyer at the time, asserts that "Weird Al's substantial market success is responsible for the willingness of copyright owners to grant him permission to parody their musical compositions, and has made it possible for Yankovic to bargain for a lucrative share in the copyright of the parody version of the song."

The only artist to constantly and repeatedly turn "Weird Al" down? Prince. Don't hold your breath waiting for "Raspberry Soufflé" to come out.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
Original image
iStock

What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
Original image
iStock

Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios