Martha’s Neighbor Writes Protest Song

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

KATONAH, N.Y. – Like many wars before it, the one between Martha Stewart and some of her Westchester County neighbors has inspired a protest song.

Written by Katonah resident Marc Black, the song takes aim at Stewart’s attempt to trademark the village’s name for use on a line of furniture and home products.

That idea has outraged many residents, who say that no one should own the name “Katonah,” and some American Indians, who say the name is taken from a beloved 17th-century tribal chief.

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“The bottom line is, I’m just hoping, I think we all are, that Martha will hear the song,” Black said in a video posted on The Journal News Web site.

“We love you Martha,” sings Black in the video, strumming an acoustic guitar as he lounges in a hammock on his porch.

While “Martha” is already endowed with a natural “a” ending, other words have been infused with an “a” to rhyme with Katonah:

“And that’s why I wrote this song-a. We like you here, you can belong-a. But you just can’t buy us, and simply own-a. Somebody should have told you, it’s very wrong-a. To take our name and try to become chef Katonah.”

A different video of Black performing the Stewart protest song while onstage appears on the YouTube Web site, where it has been viewed more than 200 times.

Diane Paterson, a spokeswoman for the domestic doyenne’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., said Stewart was requesting trademark protection to “prevent competitors from selling knockoffs.”

“In fact, place-names are commonly used by well-known brands, from Philadelphia Cream Cheese to Nantucket Nectars, without any harm to the residents of those towns,” Paterson said.

The Village Improvement Society has launched a campaign called “Nobody Owns Katonah” to fight the trademarking of the name.

Katonah is about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. said the average house price there was $912,000 in 2006.

On the Net:

Martha Stewart:

(This version CORRECTS spelling in lyrics to add `a” to the end of some words.)

A service of the Associated Press(AP)