Much like the story that emerged back in February, when Boston’s Tom Scholz asked then-Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to stop using the group’s hit song "More Than A Feeling," we are now hearing that veteran rocker Jackson Browne is not happy about Republican Presidential candidate John McCain using his hit tune, "Running on Empty."
With Browne being known as a liberal activist, it’s easy to see why he’s not happy about the McCain campaign using the song during a TV commercial that was poking fun at McCain’s Democratic opponent, Barrack Obama.
Browne is reported to have filed a lawsuit against both Senator McCain and the Republican party for making use of his material without his consent. Although copyright issues are an element of the lawsuit, it also alleges that using Browne’s song suggest that he is a McCain supporter, which, I suspect, is what really got Browne ticked off.
Being aware of copyrights and related matters, I always find myself wondering how much a particular group is being paid whenever I hear a well-known hit song being used as part of a commercial. I’m no lawyer, but I always assumed that artists are entitled to compensation under those circumstances, unless permission has been obtained from the artist beforehand.
I’m a bit surprised that a campaign being waged by a U.S. Senator for the highest office in the land would assume that they could use Browne’s song without permission. One would think that a Presidential campaign would have a task force of attorneys and fact checkers at their disposal, who could be consulted regarding the potential pitfalls of using a song that belongs to an artist who also happens to be a liberal activist.
A McCain spokesman says that the Ohio Republican party is responsible for the commercial, but for the same reasons outlined in the previous paragraph, shouldn’t they have known better?
Browne’s lawsuit seeks to cease the use of his song and is also seeking damages which were not disclosed.
After the protracted battle between Democratic hopefuls Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I’m so sick of political commercials that I’d like to see them take a break at least until the 2012 election. Couldn’t McCain and Obama have waited at least until September to start bombarding us with their attacks on on another? That would still give them two full months to take turns publicly bloodying their opponent’s nose.
Come on, give us all a break, guys.
For more on this story, see PopEater.