Tuesday | April 21, 2015
RIAA To Sue Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (CAP) - The Recording Industry Association of America today announced that it was preparing to file suit against the state of Minnesota over last week's Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed at least five people.

"We have no joy going forward with this suit, and our strong condolences go out to the families of everyone who lost their lives in this terrible incident," said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy. "But we feel that a copyright under our protection has been violated, and we are going to fight to assure that said copyright is honored."

The copyright in question is the song "London Bridge Is Falling Down," and Lamy and the RIAA are filing suit alleging that the Minneapolis bridge collapse - by design or coincidence - is close enough in context to the children's song to warrant the lawsuit.

"They have a point. Not a great one, but a point nonetheless," said Ball State intellectual property studies professor Hugh Henry. "In both cases a bridge did fall down, which is significant, but they seem to be hanging a lot of their case on the following four stanzas of the 'London Bridge' song:

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, Silver and gold.

Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady.

Gold and silver I have none,
I have none, I have none.

Gold and silver I have none,
My fair lady.

"Now, the RIAA is arguing that this has a direct correlation to a decaying infrastructure that would include bridges like the Interstate 35W bridge, decay brought on by the Bush administration nearly bankrupting the country through frivolous wars and tax giveaways for the rich," Professor Henry said.

"I'm not sure I'd like to hang a case on the link between gross administrative negligence and a centuries-old children's ditty," added Henry, "but they've got the lawyers and the deep pockets, so it is their right.

"If they get the right judge, who knows?"

It's a new strategy for the trade group best known for financially ruining 18-year-old boys obsessed with mp3-swollen hard drives, and localities across the country are expressing fears that the next apartment building blaze ("Burning Down The House," The Talking Heads) or structural collapse ("Crumblin' Down," John Cougar Mellencamp) might be their financial ruin.

While the state of Minnesota said they cannot comment on pending legal situations, they did issue the following terse statement:

"This suit is without merit, and an absolute gut-wrenching blow to those who lost loved ones in this horrific accident. The RIAA claims they will be the champions. Well, we are the champions, my friend, and we'll keep on fighting to the end."

Update: The RIAA has announced plans to file a second copyright infringement lawsuit against the state of Minnesota. More information as it develops.

- Rich Gray
Contributing Writer

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