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Monday, January 6, 2014

The Good Wife 5.11: Bowling Balls and Bogdanovich

What do bowling balls and Bogdanovich have in common?  They provided punchlines to two Good Wife stories tonight in episode 5.11.

The bowling balls knock down all the pins in a brand new story about copyright - in this case, of a recording - continuing The Good Wife's droll and savvy treatment of all things on the front burner of our information age.   Copyright is notoriously difficult to enforce, especially when it comes to musical performances.   But in a case in which two different bands record a version of someone else's song - whose copyright is fully acknowledged - and the second band's arrangement is exactly the same as the first band's, which in turn is noticeably different from the original band's, how do the artists in first cover proves that the artists in the second cover stole their arrangement?

See, it's complicated even to explain the issue.  In The Good Wife, it becomes another occasion for Will and Alicia to go at  it - in the courtroom and in Will's recollection of their first actual intimate event - but the case is won by Alicia's side because the second cover group not only copied the first cover group's arrangement, but literally used their track, as the presence of bowling ball sounds in the exact same places of both tracks conclusively shows.   The easy availability of videos any time you want to hear them is often cited as a reason copyright no longer works for music in our digital age.  But in this episode of The Good Wife, it becomes the creative artist's best friend against theft of intellectual property.

Bogdanovich offers a completely different kind of unexpected ending - in fact, a nice twist - to a story that's been percolating all season on The Good Wife.  Poor Eli has been worrying all season that Marilyn (played by Melissa George) is sleeping with Peter, or the two want to, or, when Marilyn reveals her pregnancy, that Peter is the father.  Tonight Eli's fears reach their apex as Marilyn reveals she wants to name the baby Peter, but cannot reveal who the father is.  Peter Bogdonavich comes to the rescue - the real Peter Bogdanivich, the director of The Last Picture Show, who steps up and takes credit for the fatherhood.

Another intersection of The Good Wife with the real world, and there'll be more next week, when some brand new Springsteen tracks will be played on a show in which another kind of video threatens Peter's career in a completely different way.  From bowling balls to the boss - not bad!

See also The Good Wife 5.1: Capital Punishment and Politicians' Daughters ... The Good Wife 5.5: The Villain in this Story ... The Good Wife 5.9: Reddit, Crowd Sourcing, and the First Amendment on Trial ... I Dreamt I Called Will Gardner Last Night


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