Tuesday, July 21, 2009

GOP Gets 'Folked'-- Settles Jackson Browne Suit

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 23: Jackson Browne speaks...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Jackson Browne has settled his lawsuit against Sen. John McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party involving their use of his hit song "Running on Empty" during the 2008 presidential campaign without his permission.

Jackson brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on August 14, 2008, alleging copyright infringement, violation of the Lanham Act by implying his endorsement, and violation of his right of publicity through the use of his voice in a political advertisement (Case No. cv08-05334). In February, the Court rejected the defendants' motion to dismiss the suit, which they claimed chilled free speech and invoked the "fair use" exception to the copyright laws.

Neither side disclosed the settlement amount received by Browne, but the defendants issued an apology, which said in part: "We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running on Empty' was used without permission."

The use by political campaigns of copyrighted music delves into murky legal ground delineating the respective reach of commercial speech and political speech. Browne, a political activist known for his opposition to nuclear power, insisted his suit was not a partisan attack against the GOP, but rather, an effort to enforce the intellectual property rights of artists.

Given the outcome of the election and the party's nominee, the GOP should have bypassed "Running on Empty" and selected from Jackson Browne's discography "The Pretender," " Redneck Friend," or "Doctor, My Eyes."

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1 comment:

  1. The Republicans got off easy. McCain should have been struck by lightning just for thinking about using a Jackson Browne song. Instead, he should have used John Ashcroft singing, "Let The Eagle Soar."