God himself may have laughed, but Neil Diamond and Sony are no fans of parody

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If there’s one thing that’s a given in life, it has been to expect the unexpected. Live long enough, and you’ll see pairings of people, places, and things that you’d never dream of being mentioned in the same sentence. Such is the humorous case of a small blog called the Hardcore Christian Gamers Association, a 70’s music icon, and Sony.

While I can’t officially confirm anything at this point (damn Internet Matlocks insurance), the story goes a little something like this: Drew Koehler, host of the podcast for the above mentioned site, decides that it would be humorous to create a parody of Neil Diamond’s “Hello Again” song as a way of joining in on the Halo hysteria.  One of the podcast’s listeners does the usual thing and uploads the song to YouTube with some Halo footage, and viola… all the ingredients for a great controversy are accounted for.

From here, the exact details get a little fuzzy, but it appears that Neil may have been offended by the content, and uses Sony as a proxy to send one of those nice cease-and-desist emails that our very own PR Nightmare could travel the circuit giving lectures about. On what grounds? Well they are going with the obvious one of “copyright infringement.”

Hit the jump for more details, the supposed email response from Sony, and one nagging question that begs to be answered.. is this for real?

Not having viewed the video in question (or even heard the song), I have to wonder what the big deal is surrounding this. Is Neil upset that Weird Al Yankovic didn’t think of it first? Does this really in any way infringe on an actual song (other than a similar title and words that rhyme with the original)? Do you think Sony’s legal team sheds any tears at the thought of crushing something even remotely associated with a competitor’s product? Most of all…. is this for real? I still have some doubts, but this is too damn good to pass up. See the reponse letter for yourself:

Dear Mr. Koehler,

Sony/ATV Music Publishing, on behalf of Stonebridge Music, is the exclusive administrator of 100% of the musical composition entitled “Hello Again” (Diamond, Lindgren) (the “Composition”).  It has recently come to our attention that you have created a parody version of the Composition entitled “Halo Again” (the “Parody”) and have subsequently distributed the Parody as a download via your website www.christian-gaming.com (the “Site”) and as part of a video currently streaming on YouTube (the “Video”).  

Please be advised that your unlicensed and unauthorized use of the Composition constitutes a serious infringement of Stonebridge Music’s copyright.  Demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from streaming and/or distributing the Parody and the Video, via the Site or otherwise, and destroy all copies of the Parody and/or Video in your possession.  Failure to comply shall result in Sony/ATV pursuing any and all remedies available to it including, without limitation, litigation.

The foregoing shall not be deemed to limit or prejudice Sony/ATV or Stonebridge Music’s rights, all of which are specifically reserved.


Sean Melia


Business Affairs & Licensing


Want to know the real kicker behind this thing? Neil might have been none the wiser had he not been “supposedly” emailed a link to the song in question by the site’s admin, SOG KampsAlot. Check out his comments on the page, under the original story:

September 28 2007 16:26:55
Before we take it out on Sony, who I really don’t care about much at all, there is some background info everybody needs to know about this.

I’ve held off until I got the details of what and how everything went down regarding this; but now that I know, here goes my confession:

I found an email address that was supposedly for Neil Diamond himself, and I then emailed Neil Diamond with the link to the MP3 and a link to the YouTube video with a whimsical email stating something along the following,

“We are in need of Neil Diamond to sing his song “Hello Again”, with just a few minor changes … A rough draft of the song found here … But it just doesn’t have that Diamond touch!”

I wasn’t even sure it was Neil Diamond’s email address (it was “something”@Large-ISP.com”). But I took a chance, thinking it might get us some exposure, and, well, I guess it did 🙁

Apparently, it was indeed Neil Diamond’s address, and Neil Diamond was not amused, as I thought he would be.

I think there may be an important life lesson here, so gather ’round kids. Nintendo doesn’t like its employees blogging negative stuff about the workplace, and Neil Diamond/Sony might very well not be the best place to show off your Halo parodies. Contrary to popular belief, the Internet is serious business. Now if someone would kindly send us a copy/link of the video in question. Surely it must be grand!

[TheGeekMedia, Via N4G

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