“Coming right up and… Santa? What are you doing here? You usually don’t come in this joint until after Christmas.”

“I know, Joe, but this holiday season may end up being my last. I’ve just been sued.”

“Uh? But who would want to sue Santa Claus?”

“Here, take a look. I just received these papers today.”

“What? The Recording Industry Association of America? But why, Santa?”

“They claim that I’m facilitating copyright infringement by freely distributing CDs by their major artists like Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams and Twiztid to all the children in the world.”

“Hmmm… You know, Santa, they just might have a point.”

“Sure they have a point. On top of their little bitty heads! I’ve been in this business for almost 2,000 years, and I’ve never been sued. Plus, I’ve always stood up for artist rights. Just ask Dave Davies or Lucy Kaplansky.”

“Uh, uh. Have you tried talking to the RIAA? You know, reasoning with them?”

“Easier to get Rudolph to quit drinking that cheap muscatel. They claim that I’m getting rich by giving away their intellectual property. Heck, I can’t help it if the children want Eek-A-Mouse CDs for Christmas. I just check my list to see if they’ve been naughty or nice. I don’t search their computers for Napster or Morpheus. What they do with those CDs after Christmas is their responsibility.”

“Well, times have changed, Santa.”

“And to think that Hilary Rosen used to sit on my knee at Sears and ask me for a Barbie doll and a certified platinum record for Cyndi Lauper. Now all she wants is copy-protection technology for CDs by Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and Ronan Keating. I’m getting too old for this, Joe.”

“Easy, Santa.”

“If there’s one thing the children want in their music, it’s portability. They want to take their Dreadnaught songs with them. They want to burn CDs.”

“Take a deep breath. After all, she’s only trying to protect her artists’ interests.”

“That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have a sleigh filled with portable MP3 players.”

“Simmer down. So you had a tough day with the recording industry. So what?”

“But that’s only the half of it, Joe. I’ve also got to deal with all those online companies that insist on cheap music licensing so that they may sell songs by The Moody Blues and Janet Jackson.”

“Look, Santa, maybe if you appeal to the recording industry’s sense of tradition, honesty and fair play, they’ll drop their lawsuit. After all, you are Santa Claus.”

“Oh yeah? Read the fine print at the bottom of the page. Paragraph, four, subparagraph 319.”

“Lessee… ‘… the party of the first part… party of the second part… Hmmm.”

“Do you see it?”

“You mean where it says, ‘When it comes to music licensing, there ain’t no Santa Claus?’ Gee, I’m sorry. Here, have another whiskey.”

“Nah, I best be going. Besides, if I have another drink then Rudolph will insist on driving the sleigh home. And it’s not like I don’t have enough trouble as it is.”

“Well, suit yourself.”

“Uh, uh. Say, Joe, you don’t suppose Wal-Mart is still hiring, do you?”