This year there's been a lot of news about new and aspiring nations that want to apply for membership in the United Nations. That's prompted the question in many people's minds, what does one actually do in order to apply to the United Nations. Such a silly question! All you have to do is go to this website:
Just right-click on "Application Form" and select "Save to disk." That's the easy part. Now you have to fill-in all the required information. Gather all your files in one place and clear off the dining room table. You're going to be there a while.
The application form can be very confounding, but, happily for you, I am here to help you navigate the morass. This will be the first a series of posts to help anyone out there who is embarking on the application process.
Let's start with one of the most important parts of the application: NATIONAL SYMBOLS.
This is part of what you are required to fill out:
13. National Anthem
We plan on using the following as a national anthem: ____________________________________
Please check one of the following:
__ We wrote the national anthem ourselves.
__ The national anthem is based on a song in the public domain.
__ We are attaching, along with this application, evidence of express written permission to use a copyrighted song as our national anthem.
Note: The United Nations respects international intellectual property law. Do not infringe copyright with your national anthem. Would you invade a neighboring country and steal its gold reserve? Of course you wouldn't. Stealing songs is the same thing. Don't do it.
Please separately contact Tina Delgado (firstname.lastname@example.org) to provide us with a 15-second tape-loop version of your national anthem to use as hold music for your UN telephone extension.
As you can see, intellectual property issues are key here.
A little history: Some countries, such as the United States, have turned public-domain drinking songs into successful anthems. For instance, and this is completely true, the tune for the Star-Spangled Banner comes from the official song of the Anacreontic Society, which was an 18th-century gentlemen's club in London dedicated to "wit, harmony, and the god of wine."
Given that historical background, it's not surprising that a recent crop of aspiring countries have tried to pen new lyrics to Rihanna hit single, "Cheers (Drink To That)," better known by its recurrent lyric, "Here's to the Freakin' Weekend."
Recently, within the space of a single week, the UN received applications from three different aspiring countries all claiming a national anthem titled, "Here's to Our Freakin' Nation." One of those countries even attached a whole sheet of lyrics, which including the following:
Got my borders all set and I'm feelin' hella cool tonight, yeah
But we don't have an army yet, so don't nobody start a fight, yeah
However, these countries should know that because of changes in copyright law over the past 200 years, newly created drinking songs are NOT in the public domain.
Note that a couple months ago – and this is actual fact – Sony/ATV Music Publishing threatened Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega with legal action over his use of "Stand By Me," which he modified with Spanish lyrics for his re-election campaign. Ortega won the election, but I'm sure he deeply regrets his act of copyright infringement and will never do it again.
Now, the involvement of Sony/ATV Music Publishing is important here, because, through my independent research, I was able to confirm that Sony/ATV also controls the rights to Toby Keith's "I Love this Bar" – an obvious anthem choice, especially for nations prone to tequila-fueled group-singing. So take note.
In the next post, I'll help guide you through the part of the application that will be scrutinized by the World Bank: coins, currency, and international finance. So start thinking about currency designs and find your calculator!