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30 Rock on life rights

by Steve Anderson

These scenes were extracted and combined from several episodes of the third season of NBC's 30 Rock, following a narrative thread that focuses on the issue of acquiring life rights and music rights in the production of a Janis Joplin biopic starring Jenna Maroney. Although these clips focus on the issue of rights acquisition, they also include several of the show's self-reflexive gestures, such as continually highlighting the layers of corporate ownership at NBC-Universal. On 30 Rock, NBC's parent company is not General Electric, but the Sheinhardt Wig Company (corporate motto: "NOT poisoning rivers since 1997"), and the character played by Alec Baldwin is designated Senior VP for Microwave Oven and Television Programming. When nominating Maroney for the part of Joplin, Baldwin's character notes the potential for cross-marketing of a theatrical feature film via the TV show, comparing it with "including a Heroes DVD with every missile guidance system." As the story progresses, Sheinhardt is unable to secure both the life and music rights for Janis Joplin, resulting in increasingly distant variations on Joplin, whose name devolves from Janet Jopler to Jackie Jormp-Jomp. Although treatment of issues of copyright and fair use are not uncommon on television, this is a rare instance that deals specifically with the issue of life rights and the excesses of corporate legal departments in avoiding infringement.

by Liannet Bonano

30 Rock: Jackie Jormp-Jomp

A sequence of clips about life rights and music rights for a Janis Joplin biopic

from 30 Rock (2009)
Creator: Tina Fey
Distributor: NBC
Posted by Steve Anderson