fame, obscurity, and intellectual property.

Want an extra dollop of irony with your Sunday brunch?

Here’s an article by Ted Nugent, in which he laments intellectual property theft.

Some quotes:

I didn’t need anyone to explain to me whether selling or giving away other people’s products without their permission was the right thing to do. Common sense is alive and well in America if you’re not stoned, drunk, greedy or just plain stupid. To think that anyone could even argue that Napster has the right to give away an artist’s product is ridiculous.


There is no reason for allowing intellectual property to enrich lives without payment to the artist or business team. I’m just an ol’ guitar player, but surely what is fair is fair. I’ll leave the mind-boggling technology to the experts, but if I want bread, I’m going to pay the baker.

Ah, but a musician is different from a writer, you see.  A musician invests sweat, and years of intense effort in his work.  Writers, on the other hand, just sit on their asses all day and make up stuff. 

I wonder what Ted Nugent would think if I started selling CDs with his music on them?  I mean, as long as I clarify that I didn’t actually sing that stuff myself, it’s fine, right?  Someone forwarded me the MP3, and I thought it was good work, so I put it on my own CD of Shower Arias, Vol. XI., and credited the dude who sent me that file. 

Yeah, I know he’s famous, and I’m not.  A few thousand people know that I’m the guy who wrote that essay.  A few million people know that he’s the dude who sang “Cat Scratch Fever”.  Still, wouldn’t it be just as bad for me to include his music on my CD unasked as it is for him to include my writing in his book unasked?  Or am I just being a self-important little whiner here? 


31 thoughts on “fame, obscurity, and intellectual property.

  1. vinnie says:

    This guy put his name on your time card. It is that simple. He didn’t even say thanks.

  2. Olivander says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but of which essay do you speak?

  3. Joe says:

    Have you thought about changing your name to Maj. L. Caudill? It might be an easier to get credit for your work.

  4. Mikee says:

    I’d directly write old Ted. At the worst, he ignores you. At the best, you get credited correctly in any further editions of his book and payment for the present situation. I’d opt for an invitation to go shooting on his ranch, using some of Ted’s guns and ammo.

    • Marko says:

      I would, if I knew how to directly write him. His web page isn’t exactly littered with contact information.

  5. Sevesteen says:

    I doubt that Ted himself did this. If it were my essay, I’d give Ted and his people time to straighten this out, and only go hardline if he fails to make good.

  6. williamthecoroner says:

    I think you gotta call him on it. Now, it might just be an honest mistake, but there was a tremendous failure on the part of his ghost writer to track down sources. They DID cite it, and didn’t take it as his own.

    Now, they cited the wrong citation, AND you, as a professional writer, need to follow up on it, and make sure they correct it. You also deserve compensation for that usage.

    And, yeah. The irony is amusing.

    • Marko says:

      Citing is only half the equation. The other half is actually trying to contact the person owning the scribblings, and *asking him* before you include the cited stuff in your own commercial work.

      You can’t just say “oh, I cited the source”, and then merrily incorporate the material without first asking permission. This is not an academic paper; it’s a commercial non-fiction book.

  7. Hey, will you autograph my ‘Nuge book?

  8. Windy Wilson says:

    You need to have a lawyer write the letter. No need to be obnoxious (It might be hard to claim millions in damages), but you do want proper attribution. I’m sure that Mr. Nugent is just as watchful over his copyrighted songs he wrote when he was a newbie as he is over the really well known ones like “Cat Scratch Fever”.

    • Oh, rest assured he knows who’s using his tunes. When Pantera redid “Cat Scratch Fever”, he allowed it. Then, when someone asked him about it in an interview, he chastised Pantera for doing it.

      Some garbage about living out the lyrics or something.


      • Anonymoose says:

        If Pantera did a cover without any original material, Nuge didn’t have to authorize it. I could cover Cat Scratch Fever right now without ever asking him, as long as I paid the mechanical royalty fees.

        Of course, he might have given his blessing anyway. Many musicians ask first anyways.

  9. MarkHB says:

    That’s so ironic it’s got a magnetic field you could steer by.

    Long story short, someone’s profited from your uncredited work. In a published book by a respected, established author I think that’s more damage than the money you’d have made from an accredition cheque. Everyone knows who wrote Cat Scratch Fever – a few thousand folk know you. Proportional damage – if you’ve got three tins of beans, and I steal one tin, you’ve suffered a lot worse than someone with squillions in the bank having a tin of beans pilfered from the Survival Bunker.

  10. Pappy says:

    Marko, I think I would start with an email to help@tednugent.com and proceed from there.

  11. OrangeNeckInNY says:


    Ted Nugent’s contact information. I happen to have subscribed to his newsletter. From there, it was only a few clicks away to get to this page: http://www.tednugent.com/music/tedquarters/

    I hope this helps.

  12. Sue him, Marko.

    The theft of your intellectual property is going to continue unabated until this is hashed out in court.

    If you handle it yourself, just between you and The Nuge, it won’t stop someone else from doing it to you again.

    And it will happen again.

    Time to stop playing Mister Nice Guy.

  13. J.R. Shirley says:

    I’m unfortunately going to have to agree with AD. Not that I usually have a problem agreeing with him, but because I’m not sue-happy.


  14. JohnW says:

    Marko, I sat through an employer-enforced reinforcer seminar on copyright law a few weeks ago, and one of the things the lawyers stressed was that as far as the law is concerned on the internet, once you hit ‘save’ or ‘send’ it is YOURS. End of story.

  15. ZerCool says:

    Marko – I owe you an apology on this one. In debate on a blog (University Diaries – http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/university_diaries/professor_meets_gun_part_eight_we_re_all_that_way ) I pasted that in with attribution to the Major. I was corrected later on in the comment thread but there was no way to edit my original comment.

    Apologies, a thousand times.

  16. the new “reality” show:


    so the “prey” will include a vegan, a gay, a new yorker, and a sex kitten. i take back my earlier suggestion that he might offer you a part…this thing is so contrived it’s embarrassing. he wouldn’t want to have someone that would capably fight/shoot back…so you’re out.

    i know, i know…he’s a (somewhat) rock icon, he’s a rarity among celebrities in his (very) vocal support of gun rights, hunting, etc…and he’s my age, though he doesn’t seem to know it. i would like to like him.

    but he’s still a goof, a ready-made caricature…and a defacto plagiarist. this whole episode has a real chance to bring you some deserved credit and notice, mw. bear in mind that your esq will only be interested in a monetary settlement, not that there’s anything wrong with that…but in your situation, publicity and recognition of wtgic is an even more valuable result, so insist on pursuing that angle.

    sic ‘im, boy!


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  19. Scott says:


    If the Nuge is all he aspires to, a simple note to his publisher might persuade them to start talking.

    See here:

  20. MarkHB says:

    Editorialising for a moment (hey, what else are blogs for?) in my opinion this has gone way beyond “Ol’ Ted”, “The Nuge”, et cetera.

    Here’s a thing. About 20 seconds after I’d finished it, some guys bagged the Honor Harrington game trailer I’d done and used it as part of an HH “Movie Trailer” that they’d nailed together for YouTube. I had a laugh about it, the guys who’d commissioned my animation had a laugh, and it’s all in good fun.

    This “Major Caudill (n/extant, retarded)” crap is entirely different because the boojum of misattribution is so prevalent yet so easily, provably fixable – and yet it continues, and in this case takes bread off Marko’s table, and his kids’ table.

    If this “Nuge” was all he aspired to be, he’d have done the merest Google search required to check source, attribution, and prenegotiate compensation. Ergo, bushwah.

    Rant Ends.

  21. Martini says:

    I gotta disagree with AD, it isn’t time to sue, yet. You should lawyer up, but it is time to contact the publisher and the Nuge. See where it goes from there, it is likely to cost you less and get you more out of the situation than immediately serving them. I also like the idea of going for publicity more than money on this one…..

    Now that said, if they are unwilling to work out what is clearly their mistake. Make sure you have a good lawyer and, to paraphase, sue the motherfuckers till they glow.

  22. Assrot says:

    I’ve always liked Ted’s music. Never cared much for him as a person. I’ve found he is two-faced and a coward. He wants everybody to think he’s a macho man but ask him about how he dodged the draft back in the 70s.

    He’ll start backpedaling like Nancy Pelosi is doing with the whole “CIA lied to her thing”.

    Good luck. I’m sorry folks keep taking advantage of your good works. I even reference your work from time to time but I always put your name on it and I never make a dime on it nor seek any recognition for it.


  23. Scott says:

    Sic him !!!!
    Get the money you deserve for the work YOU did.
    Its the free market way… that he is supposedly so fond of.
    And if he is, who he wants everyone to think he is, he’ll pay up.
    And if not, then my suspicions of “The Nuge” were true all along…

  24. Brian Dale says:

    Would he expect royalties if you were performing his songs for money? I’m thinking yes.

    If he’s selling your words, then he needs to pay you. Sue or not, depending on the legal advice you get, but maintain control of who publishes your work in their books.

  25. Larry says:

    Besides, if you want his music you do what all the rest of us did. Record it off the radio.
    Damn kids and their fancy toys.

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