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Fight Over a Fight Song in Tennessee

(CN) - The Tennessee Legislature is considering changing a city's name to Rocky Top despite a lawsuit from heirs of the songwriting team that wrote the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee.

The sons of husband-and-wife songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant sued in Federal Court last week, claiming the name change would violate intellectual property rights.

Attorneys for House of Bryant Publications, the plaintiff in the lawsuit in Gatlinburg, called the name change "an attempt to unfairly exploit the fame and goodwill of House of Bryant's intellectual property."

State Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, withdrew his bill after the lawsuit last week but said he will reintroduce it this week. Ragan represents Anderson County and Lake City, whose city Council asked him to introduce the name-change bill, which has been widely covered in Tennessee.

Tim Isbel, an Anderson County Commissioner who says the name change would encourage tourism to Lake City, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel there were "a lot of inaccuracies" in the lawsuit.

Ragan told the News-Sentinel he wants the state House to vote on his bill on March 31 because children from Lake City are taking a school trip to Nashville that day to watch the House in action.

The Legislature is expected to approve the bill despite the lawsuit, the News-Sentinel reported. The Lake City Council would then vote to approve it.

The defendant Lake City Council has not responded yet to the lawsuit, the newspaper reported.

House of Bryant Publications is represented by the Waddey Patterson law firm, of Nashville.

Here are the lyrics to the opening stanzas of "Rocky Top."

"Wish that I was on ole Rocky Top

Down in the Tennessee Hills.

Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top,

Ain't no telephone bills.

"Once I had a girl on Rocky Top,

Half bear the other half cat;

Wild as a mink as sweet as soda pop,

I still dream about that.


"Rocky Top, you'll always be,

Home sweet home to me.

Good ole Rocky Top,

Rocky Top Tennessee."

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