April 2007


A wandering woman in Spain
Sought limericks to help her stay sane,
But they curled in her cortex
And formed a verse vortex
That drained the remains of her brain.

Running scared of copyright laws

A wonderful YouTube video has been taken down.

Rainer Hersch has posted a 1996 comedy routine in which he plays a piano using sticks. The sticks have been made so that they press certain piano keys to play chords. A similar (and much funnier) skit entitled Rachmaninov Had Big Hands, performed by Igudesman and Joo, has been taken down (at the time of writing), apparently at the request of Hersch, judging by his comments. So now, the link says "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party." All the rest of the Igudesman and Joo videos are still there, but sadly the Rach is no more.

I watched Hersch's routine. In this case there is no copyright infringement, since one can't copyright ideas. There is no copied dialog or music. The only things the performances had in common were the use of chord bars on a piano for comedic effect. Even the idea of using chord bars to press the notes of a piano was patented in 1934, so Hersch has no ownership of that concept and his claims of plagiarism are hollow.

Nevertheless, he's managed to get a hilarious little video taken down.

Update: Yay! It's back.

(Hmmm... the page and comments are there with no copyright block but the video's not loading in my browser.)

Update (16th April): and now we can see it again.