Universal Music Lawyers Not Laughing At Peanuts-smiths Mashup

Music Producer Mark Trombino Opts for ‘Completely New’ Career, Opens Doughnut Shop

The Smiths’ melodramatic lyrics (sample: “Now I know how Joan of Arc felt”) become even more hyperbolic and funny when delivered by Charlie Brown as he sits up in bed at night, or by Snoopy sitting on his doghouse. LoPrete’s Tumblr feed has essentially one joke, but for fans of The Smiths (myself included), it’s a good one. But the music publishing arm of Universal Music Group, one of the three major record companies, apparently doesn’t find that joke funny anymore. Or at least its lawyers don’t. Last week, LoPrete posted a note on her page saying that she was going to have to stop the simulated music in the face of a growing number of requests from Universal Music Group to remove the material from Tumblr. She’d received a total of six takedown notices for three separate posts, and said more were coming in every hour. She’s received an outpouring of support online, though, and is pushing back. On Monday, her lawyer filed a counter-notice with Tumblr asking that the three posts be restored. “These brief excerpts [from The Smiths’ lyrics] are used to transformative effect,” wrote attorney Dan Booth. “They also have no commercial purpose, and cannot have any negative effect on the market for the original works. As a result, the takedown notices are erroneous.” Booth’s note touches on all four of the criteria in federal copyright law for judging whether a use is fair or infringing. This Charming Charlie doesn’t copy entire songs, it puts the lyrics in a wholly new context (arguably as a parody of The Smiths, which provides yet more legal protection), it doesn’t sell its content, and if anything, the page stokes demand for The Smiths’ music.

The sharps and flats of the music business

The music business is not doing so great and budgets are small, so two years ago it was like I had to either double down and build myself a recording studio or do something completely new. I opted for something completely new. Trombino has been working on the shop since 2011, focusing on creating a place that would be inviting and open to any sort of customer — not just the hipsters who have recently begun to infiltrate Highland Park. The shop will serve regular doughnuts as well as baked, gluten-free and vegan options. They are currently testing recipes for the coveted cronut, a combination doughnut and croissant that has recently been a sensation in New York City. Donut Friend will also serve Klatch coffee, a company local to Southern California. The preset doughnut menu items trace back to Trombinos music career and are all puns on various punk and emo band names, many of which hes worked with. Some highlights include The Starting Lime, Jimmy Eat Swirl and Rites of Sprinkles, which is Trombinos personal favorite. It was this silly concept, Trombino says. A friend and I were talking about it, and he came up with Jimmy Eat Swirl as a name for one of the doughnuts and it was just so funny. We started riffing and coming up with all these stupid names, and it stuck. I was nervous about it at first but I think it actually turned out to be a really cool thing. PHOTOS: Nancy Silverton’s New Food Adventure [Jimmy Eat World] knows about it and theyve actually submitted an idea for their doughnut because I dont actually have it on the menu yet, he adds.