The Plain Dealer yesterday ran down the various complaints over song use during the current Presidential campaign. It eventually covers Jackson Browne’s lawsuit, revealing that the defendants are due to respond to the lawsuit in late October:
In August, ultra-liberal singer/songwriter Browne filed suit against McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party for using “Running on Empty” in a TV ad that ran in Ohio and Pennsylvania mocking Obama’s suggestion that Americans conserve gas by checking their tire gauges. Browne said the ad created the impression that he supports the campaign, which he emphatically does not. Damages sought could run in excess of $1 million.
The McCain campaign told Politico that questions about the ad should be taken up with the Ohio Republican Party. Lawrence Iser, Browne’s attorney, countered that there is evidence of a close working relationship between the Ohio GOP, the RNC and the McCain campaign. The matter is pending; all three defendants’ responses to the suit are due in late October.
Iser, Browne’s attorney, said that synchronization rights must be secured to edit a song or part of a song to sync up with video. To use a sound recording of a certain artist with an ad, a master-use license must be purchased.
The McCain camp doesn’t agree. A legal adviser to the campaign said that using a short clip of a song or a short excerpt of copyrighted video falls under fair use. Under U.S. copyright law, the fair use doctrine allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holder, for certain purposes such as teaching or critical review.
For a more sarcastic take, NewsGroper has a mock John McCain blog that posted about the incident.