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Pop song use in political campaigns

Desert Dancer 04 Feb 12 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,999 04 Feb 12 - 11:05 AM
Leadfingers 04 Feb 12 - 12:08 PM
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Subject: Pop song use in political campaigns
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 10:33 AM

I thought I'd seen a note about this, but it must have been somewhere else.

G.O.P. Candidates Are Told, Don't Use the Verses, It's Not Your Song, Romney and Gingrich Pull Songs After Complaints

James C. McKinley, Jr.
New York Times
3 Feb. 2012

[abridged for brevity]

Let's say you're a Republican running for president.

You're looking for a rousing pop anthem to pump up your troops and underscore your message. There's plenty of music out there, but you have a problem: most of the pop stars, it seems, prefer Democrats.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were forced this week to stop using songs at their rallies after songwriters complained that the campaigns had played the pieces without permission. Strike another two songs from the Republican playlist: "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor, and "Wavin' Flag," by the Somali-born musician K'naan.
So rare is it for Republicans to get rockers' support that it surprised many in the music business when in early December Mr. Romney asked Kid Rock for permission to use "Born Free" during the campaign and got his blessing.

It seems that every campaign season the issue of politicians' use of pop songs without permission crops up, often with partisan overtones. And with the Internet making it easier for musicians to track the use of their songs, and with the country's politics becoming more bitterly divided, more musicians are making legal complaints and prevailing.
In 2008 Jackson Browne successfully sued Senator McCain and the Ohio Republican Party for using his hit "Running on Empty" as the music for a campaign ad attacking the energy policies of Barack Obama. He won an undisclosed cash settlement and a public apology from Senator McCain. Two years later David Byrne sued Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida for using the Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" in a commercial attacking his opponent Marco Rubio. The governor paid an undisclosed penalty and post a videotaped apology on the Internet.

Because the politicians paid damages, the suits against Senator McCain and Governor Crist were a turning point, political strategists and copyright experts said. Before, there had been little incentive for campaigns to seek permission, since legal actions were rare. Until the recent cases, the only risk to the candidate was a spot of bad publicity.
In the last month, Mr. Gingrich has been accused twice of violating copyright laws, first for playing "How Do You Like Me Now?" by the Heavy at a rally in Tampa, Fla., and then for using "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor at several political events, going back to 2009.

Frankie Sullivan, a former member of Survivor who helped write "Eye of the Tiger," also went after Mr. Romney for playing the anthem at rallies, but Mr. Romney's campaign backed down and promised not to use it again, he said. Mr. Sullivan sued Mr. Gingrich this week, arguing he had violated copyright law not only by playing the song at rallies, but also by posting videos with it on YouTube.

The suit argues that Mr. Gingrich, the author of more than 40 copyrighted works, should have known better. ... Mr. Sullivan said a song could lose value if it became entwined in the public's mind with the politician, he said. "My motives have nothing to do with politics," he said. "It's one of my babies, and I'm just exercising the laws of this great country."
K'Naan, the Somali-born rapper who lives in New York, said his motive for asking Mr. Romney to stop using "Wavin' Flag," an international hit in 2009, was purely political. He first learned from fans that Mr. Romney had played the song to pump up supporters at a victory rally in Florida this week. Right away he was deluged with Internet messages accusing him of selling out to a conservative politician.

"I got a flood of Twitter messages from people who assumed that it was all true, that I was now a supporter of Mitt Romney's campaign," K'Naan said. "I'm for immigrants. I'm for poor people, and they don't seem to be what he's endorsing. My song being his victory song didn't seem quite right."

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, said the campaign had stopped using K'naan's song out of respect for his political views, even though the campaign bought blanket licenses from two public-performance societies — Ascap and BMI — which pay royalties to members.

Experts on copyright law said such licenses, usually bought by restaurants and other businesses that play recorded music, do protect the campaign from many copyright complaints, but a politician can still be sued under the federal trademark law for false advertising if the use of the song implies that the musician has endorsed the candidate.


On the folksong front, see this 2006, 2008 thread from Azizi about purpose-written political songs, parodies, and jingles, and keep an eye out for further examples to contribute there in this round of campaigning.

~ Becky in Tucson

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Subject: RE: Pop song use in political campaigns
From: GUEST,999
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 11:05 AM

From DD's link:

'"What happens is the rock groups object to who's playing their music," said Ed Rollins, the longtime Republican campaign strategist. "They never seem to yell and scream at the other side. It's always the Republicans that they become unhappy with. They don't want their great music involved in the impure business of politics."'

So learn from it ya stunned a$$holes!

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Subject: RE: Pop song use in political campaigns
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 12:08 PM

Reminiscent of a certain political crowd in UK nicking peoples Folk Songs for THEIR Right Wing crap without permission .

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