Yankovic recorded the song to be included on his Straight Outta Lynwood album after, according to Yankovic, having been given Blunt’s blessing to parody the song. However, following its recording, Blunt’s record company, Atlantic Records, allegedly told Yankovic that he could not include the song. (When asked by NPR, Atlantic had no official comment on the matter.)
Yankovic has a history of obtaining songwriters’ approval prior to releasing his parodies, with the exception of a miscommunication surrounding “Amish Paradise,” a parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”. However, Yankovic told NPR that this was the first time a record label has quashed a release of one of his parodies. “[I]f James Blunt himself were objecting,” Yankovic told NPR, “I wouldn’t even offer my parody for free on my Web site. But since it’s a bunch of suits — who are actually going against their own artist’s wishes — I have absolutely no problem with it.”
Yankovic told NPR in an e-mail that the question of whether Atlantic could legally forbid the parody, given the United States Supreme Court’s 1994 Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. decision recognizing parody as fair use, is “moot,” saying that the issue was “more of a political matter than a legal matter,” suggesting that both Blunt and Volcano (Yankovic’s label) would wish to avoid alienating Atlantic.
As mentioned, Yankovic released the song for free distribution on the Internet and it has become popular on The Dr. Demento Show. [via Wikipedia]