Talks underway to resolve Pure Michigan "Singalong" copyright dispute

DETROIT (AP) - The producers and sponsors of the "The Pure Michigan Statewide Singalong" say they hope to resolve a copyright dispute with the creators of the platinum hit song "Good Time" on which it is based.

A copyright claim from Songs Music Publishing led YouTube on Friday to take down the popular video of a statewide sing-along shot for Michigan's tourism promotion agency.

"We don't like it" that the video can't be seen, said David Lorenz, spokesman for Pure Michigan, the nonprofit agency that promotes travel in the state. "We want to see this back up."

Songs founder and chief executive Matt Pincus said he's sympathetic with the producers' motives -- and even likes their video -- but said their use of "Good Time" impinges on commitments his company already has made to other users.

"Of course, we'd love for the State of Michigan to use `Good Time,' however they like. It's a great video, a great cause and people are reacting to it," Pincus said. "It's a fantastic use of the song. Unfortunately, Status Creative didn't clear the use of `Good Time' with anyone before they posted the video, which is standard protocol with a professionally produced ad."

The video Pure Michigan commissioned is based on a 50-city, one-week August road trip and seeks to promote Michigan as a place to visit, live, work and create a business.

Jeff Barrett and Rob Bliss of Grand Rapids-based Status Creative produced the video. It uses the melody and adapts the lyrics of "Good Time," written by Brian Lee and Matthew Thiessen. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen performed the song, which was released in June.

The three-minute video opens with a firefighter walking in a parade in the eastern Upper Peninsula community of Newberry before cutting to a convertible driving onto a beach in Silver Lake. It quickly jumps from Marquette to Jackson to Midland to Rogers City.

Each scene shows people singing different verses of the song, whose lyrics say "it's always a good time" to be in Michigan.

The video debuted at halftime of the Detroit Lions' Sept. 9 game with the St. Louis Rams and has had thousands of hits since.

"We had received usage approval for the song but were unaware of there being any secondary copyright claims," Barrett told The Associated Press in an email Monday. "We are working to resolve
the issue."

Pincus said the Michigan producers failed to contact those at his company empowered to grant rights for use of the song.

"We are trying as hard as we can to fix this, however it's complicated now by an existing exclusive advertising deal in place for this song," he said. "That puts us in a very difficult spot."

Lorenz said Pure Michigan has been deluged with messages since the video was taken down Friday. He said he is hopeful that talks under way between the producers and the "Good Time" copyright holders will let Pure Michigan post the video again soon.

"We have received so many calls, Facebook and Twitter" messages, he said. "Everybody wants to see this up."

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