music and campaigns

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 76

Entertainment Law Update Podcast 76 Tamera Bennett- Gordon Firemark #trademark #copyright #entertainmentlaw

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

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Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 67


Film lawyer Gordon Firemark and Texas trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett were back "on the horn" for Episode 67. From Bikram Yoga to the Batmobile - they've got you covered on the latest legal issues in entertainment law.

Click the arrow below to listen to Episode 67.

Music In Political Campaigns - What Licenses Do I Need?

As the 2015/16 presidential election campaign trail heats up, we will hear more and more music and perhaps see more and more demand letters from artists/songwriters to the presidential candidates.

In the podcast below, Dallas copyright and music attorney Tamera Bennett explores questions related to public performance licenses, synchronization licenses, master use licenses and right of publicity -- all related to music used in presidential campaigns.

Theme Songs |

Presidential candidates love to pick theme songs. That's all fine and dandy when the artists and songwriters behind the selected tune support the candidate - - Bill Clinton and Fleetwod Mac ("Don't Stop").

So far this season, Donald Trump's campaign has heard from REM and The Rolling Stones.  Neil Young wasn't thrilled about Trump using "Rockin' in the Free World." And,  Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler asked Trump to stop dreaming and stop using "Dream On."

Legal Issues Stay The Same |

There's nothing new to the legal issues. Do you remember the band Heart being so upset that candidate Sarah Palin used "Barracuda" in the 2008 presidential campaign? How about Newt Gingrich using "Eye of the Tiger?"

The podcast above will answer your questions on how you can use music in a political campaign.  Want to hear even more from Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark on the topic - click here for the Entertainment Law Update Podcast where they discuss the latest on Trump and Steven Tyler.

Join Us |

Leave a comment below with your favorite campaign song.

Newt Gingrich Sued Copyright Infringement "Eye of the Tiger"

Newt Gingrich's campaign makes the news twice in a week for claims of copyright infringement of a song.   Rude Music Inc., owned by Frank Sullivan, a co-author of the song "Eye of the Tiger," filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal district court in Chicago for Gingrich's use of the song on the campaign trail. As discussed last week, so long as Gingrich's campaign secured the necessary public performance licenses, any song may be played at a campaign event without permission from Rude Music, Frank Sullivan or Rocky Balboa.

Rude Music complaint's does raise an interesting point regarding videos of campaign events where "Eye of the Tiger" can be heard.  There may be a blush of a valid claim for copyright infringement related to these videos.  Reproduction and distribution of the video footage looks a lot less like a "public performance" and more like a synchronization of the song to the other visual images in the footage.

Volcano Records (parent company is Sony), the copyright owner of the underlying sound recording, is not a party to the lawsuit.

Happy reading:  Jump to the complaint.

Cease and Desist to Newt Gingrich over "How You Like Me Now?"

Here we go again.... One of my favorite topics is the use of songs and sound recordings in campaigns. Especially presidential campaigns.  According to news reports, Third Side Music sent Gringrich's campaign a cease and desist letter ordering them to stop using the song “How You Like Me Now” at campaign events. In 2008 I blogged  here and here stating so long as a campaign secures the necessary public performance license, a song can be played at campaign events without any permission from the artist, songwriter or music publisher.  If Mr. Gingrich would like to incorporate the song into a video or advertisement, then his team would need to secure a master use license from the record label and a synchronization license from the music publisher.

Third Side Music is the Canadian music publisher that controls the rights to the song.  The public performance rights for the song "How You Like Me Know" are most likely administered by SOCAN.

Thank you to Canadian entertainment attorney Bob Tarantino for linking to this post and distinguishing the "moral rights" that arise under UK and Canadian Copyright Law.  Good stuff!

Music Licensing and the Nicaraguan Presidential Campaign

Music in presidential campaigns has been a hot topic in the US as well as in France.  Now we have the the campaign for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega entering the scene. News reports say Ortega's campaign  is using a Spanish language version of the classic song "Stand By Me" in political ads.  Sony/ATV, the copyright owner of the song,  forwarded a ceases and desist letter to Ortega.  I am assuming Sony/ATV is asserting no synchronization license was granted to use the song.

Read more about John McCain's, Sarah Palin's, Chuck Devore's, and Nicolas Sarkozy's legal disputes over use of music related to a political campaign.

Don Henley Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit For Political Videos

by Tamera H. Bennett 6/2/2010 See Update Here.

Songwriters Don Henley and Mike Campbell sued California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine for copyright infringement for the alleged unauthorized use of the song "The Boys of Summer."  Henley also filed sued for copyright infringement for "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" -- which he penned himself.

DeVore used the two songs in separate political campaign videos that were posted on YouTube.  Henley requested YouTube removed the videos. The videos were removed for a time and then reposted on YouTube until Henley filed this lawsuit.

DeVore changed the lyrics of "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" to "All She Wants To Do is Tax" to target his opponent in the 2010 California Assembly race.  He changed the lyrics of "Boys of Summer' to "After The Hope of November Is Gone."

DeVore has gone on record stating the use is protected by First Amendment Free Speech as a parody.

Music in political campaigns has been a hot topic of late.  Read more about Jackson Browne v. John McCain, MGMT v French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, McCain/Palin Campaign and public performance rights.

Copyright Infringement and French Presidential Elections

by Tamera H. BennettPosted February 25, 2009

Just this week I posted an update here on the dispute between Jackson Browne and John McCain over the use of the song "Running On Empty" in a campaign ad.

The issue of using songs without permission in political campaigns has now moved to France.  US indie band MGMT has demanded compensation from French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party for using their hit "Kids" without permission at rallies and in advertisements.

Some would say this is great timing...other's would say bad timing for this to be exposed. In two weeks a new anti-filesharing bill is scheduled to be presented to the French national assembly.

Jackson Browne v. McCain Moves Forward

by Tamera H. Bennett UPDATE:  The parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement and the case was dismissed on August 4, 2009.

posted February 24, 2008

The court in Browne v. McCain (Central Dist. Cal.  CV 08-05334-RGK (Ex)) denied McCain's and The Republican National Committee's motion for summary judgment requesting a dismissal of the copyright infringement case brought by songwriter Jackson Browne. The court will also allow Browne's causes of action for Common Law Right of Publicity, Vicarious Copyright Infringement, and Violation of the Lanham Act to move forward.

The Court stated "Moreover, Senator McCain has not established that Plaintiff’s claim is barred, as a matter of law, under the fair use doctrine. The mere fact that Plaintiff’s claim is based on defendants’ use of his copyrighted work in a political campaign does not bar Plaintiff’s claim as a matter of law."

The Court dismissed all claims against the Ohio Republican Party, also named in the suit, for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Our original post on the topic is here. Posts involving music and the McCain Presidential campaign are here and here.

Read more from the Hollywood Reporter and from the Washington Post.

McCain DMCA Take Down

by Tamera H. BennettOctober 15, 2008

There is a lot out there regarding YouTube taking down McCain's political campaign videos because they use third party copyrighted material.

Links to interesting reading:

Link to the letter to YouTube from McCain PCMAG Electronic Frontier Foundation WIRED CNET