Pete Seeger in a COMMERCIAL?????

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JamieC, Jan 15, 2015.

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  1. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I am stunned. I just saw a commercial for Jackson Hewitt that uses Pete singing a railroad song. How is this possible? Pete and Toshi would never have permitted this. I know their children would never permit it. Pete's mangement would never allow it. The track seems to be a Folkways track which are owned under restriction by the Library Of Congress.
    Pete isn't even dead a year. I am just stunned.:confused:
     
  2. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Am I alone here?
     
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  3. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    In many jurisdictions the "right of publicity" does not survive the person, so people who die while residing in those places can have their name/voice/image used in commercials without the estate's permission. Possible the recording itself is public domain.
     
  4. psychtrailmix

    psychtrailmix Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Haven't seen it... but I don't dig that kinda stuff. I even though Dylan with the car commercial was kinda lame too.... It's like if you have a ton of money especially, why do it? There was a 13th Floor Elevators song used in a commercial some time back, but I can understand that because Roky Erickson NEEDS THE MONEY!
     
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  5. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    I don't watch commercials (that's what FF is for), and have no idea what Jackson Hewitt is. My best suggestion is that you contact them to let them know that their commercial had the opposite of its intended effect, and you will never buy their whatever it is.
     
  6. muse0551

    muse0551 New Member

    I saw the same commercial - and thought it sounded like Gene Autry singing it :) Though, probably not as I don't think he did too many railroad songs.
     
  7. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Senior Member

    Location:
    Mudwest, CA
    Same here. I had to Google "Jackson Hewitt"....computerized income tax preparation services. Ironic. The Pete Seeger of 50 years ago supported war tax resistance. In 1969 the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee was formed; pictured below is the press conference with Seeger, Allen Ginsberg, and others in New York City announcing the founding of that organization.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
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  8. SizzleVonSizzleton

    SizzleVonSizzleton The Last Yeti

    I just took my axe and cut all the cables to my house!
     
  9. gregorya

    gregorya Forum Resident

    In other words, you need to protest:

    "Well, he looks out the window and what does he see
    But a thousand pickets, and they all agree
    He's a bastard, unfair, slavedriver
    Bet he beats his wife"
     
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  10. Muddy

    Muddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    Haven't seen the ad or know what song is used, but is it possibly in the public domain at this point?

    Still, there's something cruelly ironic about it all, though.
     
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  11. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    The song is I've Been Working On The Railroad. We are not in the EU, it is not Public Domain. Pete would not be happy.
     
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  12. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Location:
    Allentown,pa.
    They are in lots of Wal-Marts,with a past history of a near-predatory lender by offering "instant tax refunds".Also had a time in bankruptcy.I,too,was alarmed by the commercial but breezed past it too soon to see what the product was being hawked.Next time you find yourself in a Wally World,stop by the JH desk(they are usually slow at the start of the tax season)and let them know how detrimental all of that ad money is doing for them.Lots of J-H locations are franchised(not sure if the Wal-Mart ones are company controlled or franchised)but nothing makes a franchisee so happy as to see the fees going to the parent company causing less business to happen.
     
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  13. David G.

    David G. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    It is a little shocking to see this. Who could have possibly approved the use of the song in the commercial?

     
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  14. Peter Pyle

    Peter Pyle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario CAN
  15. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Location:
    Allentown,pa.
    Wow.Right now,local NPR station is broadcasting the syndicated Sing Out!Radio Show,hosted by a local guy and a dear friend of mine.He also did one of the finest tribute's to Pete on one of his local shows(two parts)last year.Will have to tell him this reaction.Maybe another show or more is needed to keep the flame alive of one of the most important truly American voices in the last 100 years.The first anniversary of Pete's passing is just days away.
     
  16. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I've E mailed a few people who might be able to get an answer. I'll let you know if I hear anything.
     
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  17. Ex-Music Clerk

    Ex-Music Clerk Forum Resident

    If this is a Folkways recording it is now owned by the Smithsonian I believe which would probably make it part of the national archives and therefore public domain. The song I've Been Working on the Railroad was first published in 1894 according to Wikipedia, so that would also be public domain.

    Still pretty tacky to use it in a commercial though.
     
  18. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Folkways recordings were donated to the Smithsonian under restriction. The copyrights remain in effect. Royalties I believe are still paid.
     
  19. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Here is the first reply from my circle of musician "Friends of Pete"

    The most likely answer (and the one I hope is true) is that Pete's estate doesn't own/control the copyright/publishing rights for that recording, and whoever does was willing to license it for the commercial.

    The song "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is, of course, public domain, and that recording is a very early one (late 50s, early 60s?). I would hope that this is not something his family did as part of an effort to keep Pete's work before the public-- at least not in this way. Anyone find out more?
    -George
     
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  20. Vicky May

    Vicky May New Member

    Equally shocked, and the best info on the web about this immoral usurpation is on this forum.
     
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  21. Ken E.

    Ken E. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Providence NJ
    "The Bicycle Music Company" 'owns or administrates' rights to Seeger's songs per their website. Their roster is a mix of old and new and not small. Per Billboard magazine:
    "Wood Creek Capital Management, a unit of Mass Mutual owns both Bicycle Music and Concord Music through separate investment funds it manages. Consequently, while there is some overlap of investors, both music companies are separately owned. In addition, Wood Creek Capital Management has a stake in Varese Saraband, the movie soundtrack specialist label.
    If "FoP" believes the Seeger estate does not own/control this song it would seem this firm does.
     
  22. Dana Franks

    Dana Franks New Member

    Jamie - Last night I posted the following on Facebook before looking to see if there was anymore noise about this:

    I am SO PISSED OFF!!! Someone is using Pete Seeger's recording of "I've Been Working one the Railroad" to sell tax preparation services available inside Walmart stores. Walmart stores of all places! How the HELL did they manage to get the rights to that? Pete was completely against that kind of use of his songs. He's not even gone a year and this is how they spit on his grave. I'm raving mad.

    I am grateful to you for raising this and to all who have posted here in an effort to track down how this came about. I feel like I ought to be standing outside the Jackson Hewitt with a sign declaring the travesty.
     
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  23. Pat Lamanna

    Pat Lamanna New Member

    For your information, I emailed Tinya Seeger, Pete's daughter, asking about the ad and got this reply:
    "Hi Pat,
    Thanks for writing. I am not surprised that people are in a tizzy, but you can tell them that jackson hewitt went through the right channels and got permission.
    The use of the Folkways recording is an approved use by our family. It will run for only 12 weeks. I am interested in the response, so I'l read all letters though may not necessarily find time to answer them. Po Box 431, Beacon NY 12508 is still the address. Tinya"

    I also saw her today at the MLK parade in Beacon, and she added that Folkways would be getting quite a bit of money for running the ad; also that the family had gotten many similar requests and turned most of them down.

    So, whether you like it or not, Pete's family did give permission and I think people can stop wasting their outrage on something so trivial.

    I'm a new member of this forum, and while it seems interesting I have to say it was a challenge to sign up. I had to go and measure a record to see how many inches it was. I only went to the trouble because I wanted to quell all these rumors and misinformation going around. Thank you for reading.
     
  24. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Got the answer. I apparently inadvertently caused a firestorm.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ok, folks. Here's the definitive answer. The family approved the use.
    Mark
    From: peoplesmusic@yahoogroups.com
    To: peoplesmusic@yahoogroups.com
    CC: tinyaseeger
    Sent: 1/19/2015 2:21:16 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
    Subj: [peoplesmusic] Fwd: Pete in a commercial
    Folks,
    For your information, I emailed Tinya asking about the ad and got this reply. I also saw her today at the MLK parade in Beacon, and she added that Folkways would be getting quite a bit of money for running the ad; also that the family had gotten many similar requests and turned most of them down.
    She also said that in addition to mailing actual letters to the P.O. address, people can email pete's old address: communicationspete@gmail.com.
    So, there it is. Look forward to seeing many of you this weekend!
    Pat

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Tinya Seeger <
    Date: Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:51 AM
    Subject: Re: Pete in a commercial
    To: Pat Lamanna < >


    Hi Pat,
    Thanks for writing. I am not surprised that people are in a tizzy, but you can tell them that jackson hewitt went through the right channels and got permission.
    The use of the Folkways recording is an approved use by our family. It will run for only 12 weeks. I am interested in the response, so I'l read all letters though may not necessarily find time to answer them. Po Box 431, Beacon NY 12508 is still the address.
    Tinya

    On Sun, Jan 18, 2015 at 7:32 PM, Pat Lamanna < > wrote:
    Hi Tinya,
    Below is a link to a discussion about Pete singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" in the background of a commercial for a tax service. If you go to the link and scroll down you can view the commercial. Someone posted this to the Peoples Music Network email list and it's got everyone in a tizzy. People are speculating as to how they got permission to use this. I was wondering if you can shed any light on the situation. I know you're very busy so if you don't have time for this I understand, but I hope that you can just let me (us) know whether the use of this song was by permission, or if it's in the public domain so nothing can be done, and whether we should protest to the company (one member already has).
    Here's the link: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/pete-seeger-in-a-commercial.406920/
    Thanks, and I hope you're well. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow at the parade!
    Best,
    Pat
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So there you have it. I have eliminated the irrelevant e mail addresses but if you wish to comment e mail or write to Tinya and the family feel free(and for the love of God please be respectful if you do).
    Jamie
     
  25. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Hi Pat.
    I apologize for starting all this, but I hope you and the family can understand my angst. I wish that there had been a heads up to those who have followed, learned from, and loved Pete and everything he stood for. I treasure every moment I have had with Pete, on stage, in workshops, relaxing over a beer, or simply accompanying him on a morning walk. We've lost so many this year(Faith, David Winters, Karen Brandow, Jon Fromer, and my sister in law Joy), and I still have not gotten over losing Pete.
    Jamie C (member LHF)
    Detroit
     
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