ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Friday, February 3, 2023

Weekend Frivolity, Professor Harry Fletchner's CISG Song

Screenshot 2023-02-03 at 6.12.16 AMHarry Fletchner, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law is an expert on international contracting, including the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods, known to its friends as the CISG.

Thanks to my student Corinna Bethke, I recently learned of Professor Fletchner's CISG Song, written for a November 2005 conference titled "The CISG and the Business Lawyer: The UNCITRAL Digest as a Contract Drafting Tool."  Among other things, this song has the most impressive footnote apparatus I have ever seen.  From what I know of academic conferences, I am pretty confident that Professor Fetchner's performance was the main take-away that participants retained after the conference.  

Frank Snyder, if you are reading this, is it too late to book Professor Snyder for KCON XVI?  In the alternative, can we find a way to re-create the legendary boat excursion from KCON VI?

The Lyrics are as follows:

When I was a little boy my daddy said to me,
"If you want great riches, son, it's a merchant you should be.
You can deal in goods from cars to cod, and earn more than enough.
But don't buy or sell 'cross borders, son, cause that's awfully risky stuff."

We didn't have no C-I-S-G. [1]
If we bought or sold in another State we didn't know what the law would be.
But now there's a Convention to make global trade more free.
'Cept them gol-danged U.S. courts just treat it like the U-C-C. [2]

As a young man I took up those words my daddy said.
I became a merchant -- traded goods to earn my bread.
But I would not buy or sell beyond the borders of my State
'Cause if the deal was not domestic, none could tell my legal fate.

We didn't have no C-I-S-G.
We were clueless how the law would go if we dealt internationally.
But now under this treaty global commerce is a breeze,
'Cept some jerks from Pittsburgh and Denmark say I can't recover no attorney fees. [3]

So now there is a treaty when I buy or sell afar.
I can deal with folks from everywhere, from Arles [4] to Zanzibar. [5]
The goods I buy are always fine, [6] and my buyers never sue.
I hardly need a lawyer — yes, my life's perfection true!

Because we have that C-I-S-G.
There's no risk in international sales far as the eye can see.
But I just received a shipment, so I must quickly say goodbye —
'Cause German courts give me just 5 minutes to inspect and notify. [7]

Contract Profs, Music | Permalink