Jackson Browne is suing John McCain and the Republican Party for using the song “Running on Empty” in a campaign ad, according to the Los Angeles Times. The singer/songwriter is charging copyright infringement and false endorsement, UPI reports.
Browne is “incensed” that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has been using the song in campaign commercials, the singer/songwriter’s attorney said.
A McCain spokesperson told the Times that the ad was actually put together by the Ohio Republican Party. But Browne’s attorney, Lawrence Y. Iser, told the Times they have the right defendants. “We have sued the Ohio Republican Party as well, and we have been informed and believe that McCain and his campaign were well aware of the ad. We are also informed and believe that the ad was broadcast on television in Ohio and Pennsylvania. … The fact that it appears on the Internet means it also reaches an audience well beyond those states.”
Iser told the Times the lawsuit “is not politically motivated. It’s a copyright infringement lawsuit, pure and simple, but the fact that Senator McCain has used this song in a hit piece on Barack Obama is anathema to Jackson.”
He also accused the McCain campaign of consistently using music without permission.
“They used a John Mellencamp song until he made them stop, and he used an ABBA song and a Frankie Valli song — it’s ridiculous and it’s setting a terrible example,” Iser said. “It’s shocking that they don’t even attempt to get permission. There’s no copyright difference between using a song to sell cars or by people running for president. The music industry continues to suffer due to lack of respect for intellectual property rights, and a candidate for president has a duty to lead by example and ensuring their campaign does as well. The copyright protections are derived from the Constitution itself.”
Get informed! Head to Choose or Lose for nonstop coverage of the 2008 presidential election, including everything from the latest news on the candidates to on-the-ground multimedia reports from our 51 citizen journalists, MTV and MySpace’s Presidential Dialogues, and much more.