by Tamera H. BennettAugust 27, 2008
On August 14, 2008 Jackson Browne sued John McCain, the Ohio Republican Party and the Republican National Party for copyright infringement, false association under the Lanham Act, and common law right of publicity infringement for an ad created by the Ohio Republican Party that features Browne's hit "Running On Empty."
The advertisement was actually pulled on receipt of a cease and desist letter prior to the lawsuit being filed.
Browne owns 100 percent of the copyright in the song. It does not look like the defendants will be able to show any type of licensing arrangement for use of the song. This is a pretty straight forward act of willful copyright infringement.
Not so sure if Browne will prevail on claims of false association and violation of his right of publicity. But, he might.
The lawsuit does not mention who owns the sound recording copyright used in the advertisement. The owner of the sound recording copyright may also have a cause of action for copyright infringement.