Skip to content

Up to My *@#$%^ in Alligators

I’m swimming in a sea of alligators, while the RIAA and Louis’ Lunch (yes, Louis’ Lunch) are out there draining the swamp. Norm Peterson once said, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.” An economist might call today “revenge of the deadweight loss.”

In Atlanta, the RIAA arranged to have the producer of Gangsta Grille rap compilations jailed on felony state law RICO charges, a punishment that is so disproporionate to any possible offense that I conclude either that The Mikado has been appointed to serve as RIAA Chair or that the organization has been taken over by cannibals. The industry is literally eating its own.

Quick legal note: Why isn’t a state law RICO prosecution preempted by the Copyright Act, where the underlying claim is unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted works?

Meanwhile, up in New Haven, Louis’ Lunch is challenging the claim by state legislator in Texas that the hamburger originated in Athens, Texas. Mayors are debating in public; Louis’ current proprietor may try to block legislative action in Austin. Rubbish; the benefits of finally knowing who was first pale in comparison to the time and energy expended in the debate. Why? First, everyone north of the Mason Dixon line knows to an absolute certainty that Louis’ Lunch invented the hamburger. Second, the least wasteful response to this sort of pointless priority positioning is for Louis’ Lunch supporters to petition the Connecticut legislature for a resolution declaring that Louis’ Lunch is the home of the hamburger. That should be the end of things, and then each to his or her own burger.