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Songwriter pokes fun at AOL Time Warner execs

An Atlanta entrepreneur is adding levity to the merger of AOL and Time Warner by writing humorous songs about the companies' top brass that can be heard online.

An Atlanta entrepreneur is adding levity to the merger of America Online and Time Warner by registering the domain names of both companies' top brass and writing humorous songs about them that can be heard online.

Chris Cook, 30, is boosting his budding musical career with songs such as "Steve Case lost his Cyber Parking Space" and "Amazon Dot Red."

Cook said he has registered the names of AOL chairman Steve Case, Time Warner vice chairman Ted Turner, Warner Music Group chief executive Roger Ames, and Time chief executive Don Logan, among others. He has written songs dedicated to Time Warner top executives, as well as songs that poke fun at Internet companies. Then he links to the songs from the executives' URLs.

For instance, PC users who log on to StephenCase.com You've got Time Warner are directed to Cook's music site at MP3.com. There they can hear "Steve Case lost his Cyber Parking Space."

"When you bought Time-Warner we were all impressed. How come you didn't buy your Web address? You may be a big shot down at AOL, but I'm the one who got your URL," the song goes.

As for Amazon.com, Cook (whose stage name is Alan, his middle name) sings: "We got fooseball tables in the breakroom, our stock price is soaring to the moon; When our investors ask us for a forecast, We laugh and say profit's comin' soon; Profit's right ahead, down at Amazon Dot Red."

Cook said he has tried, so far without luck, to get the owner of Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos' domain name (not Bezos, however) to link to his music Web page.

The part-time songwriter, who also is a salesman for a Fortune 500 technology company, said his business plan is working. It has helped draw more attention to his music, and he concedes: "I like stirring things up."

Cook's antics are reminiscent of those of songwriting satirist Tom Lehrer in the 1950s and '60s--but with an Internet Age twist. Lehrer gained fame with decidedly politically incorrect songs such as "Poisoning pigeons in the park."

Cook is more right-leaning politically, however: He pokes fun at Jane Fonda (who is separated from Turner) for her controversial Hanoi broadcast during the Vietnam War. Judging from his Web site, Cook also appears to be a fan of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

So far, Cook said, he has not heard any complaints from Time Warner or AOL executives, including Case or Turner. "They've been good sports," he said. "And by good sports, I mean they haven't sued me."

Cook?s subjects may not maintain such good humor for long, however. "We're going to take a look at this site and consider what action to take," said Tricia Primrose, an AOL spokeswoman.

She added that recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives protects businesses and individuals within companies from cybersquatters.

Many companies and entertainers have complained about so-called cybersquatters, who register their domain names and try to profit from them. Some of the companies and entertainers have sued as a result. Celebrity executives, however, have been less active on the cybersquatting front.

"I'm just exercising my right of free speech," Cook argues.

Time Warner did not return calls requesting comment.