Another GOP Candidate Indirectly Promotes Bernie Sanders By Not Getting Music Cleared With Artist

from the free-advertising dept

This is apparently going to keep happening. A while back, we discussed the situation in which Donald Trump declared his candidacy for President (while making comments that torpedoed a bunch of his vaunted business interests) and used the music of Neil Young without the artist’s permission. As I noted at the time, Trump was legally allowed to use the music, since the venue had paid the required ASCAP license, but failing to go the extra step and clearing it with Young allowed the musician to generate headlines all to do with his support of Democrat Bernie Sanders. Since candidacy announcements are generally not done to generate name recognition for one’s opponents, I suggested that, hey, just go get the whiny artist’s permission first, mmkay?

Bobby Jindal didn’t take my advice. Jindal used the music of Buckwheat Zydeco during his presidential announcement and, well, ol’ Buckwheat was not pleased.

Buckwheat’s music was among several songs that played at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner before Jindal and his supporters took the stage, Gambit Weekly reported while live tweeting the event. The zydeco musician replied to Gambit on his own Twitter page and said that Bobby Jindal using the music of Buckwheat and his band is “not cool at all.”

Again, we’ll go ahead and assume that the music was properly licensed because that always ends up being the case, but what’s the point of letting the discussion of your presidential bid get side-railed because you chose to use the music of some guy who doesn’t support you? All the campaign would have to do would be to clear the use with the artist and then all this doesn’t happen. Is that really so hard? I mean, sure the musicians are being childish and petty (and have no legal claim), but that’s the reality. If you don’t want to give extra promotion to opponents, maybe find musicians who actually supports you.

And it’s also the reality that all angry-musician-roads lead to Bernie Sanders, apparently.

He had much kinder words for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who strutted on stage to launch his presidential bid with Buckwheat’s “Make A Change” playing in the background.

He said Sanders’ use of the song was “tres bien.”

And so we now have two separate GOP candidate announcements generating publicity for Bernie Sanders. To avoid a third, candidates need only take my advice on clearing the music they use with the artists.

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Comments on “Another GOP Candidate Indirectly Promotes Bernie Sanders By Not Getting Music Cleared With Artist”

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

The point is not that these candidates have to get permission to use the song.

The point is that by not getting permission, it caused a stink that gave the other guy free press.

So Bernie Sanders, if he didn’t get permission, got lucky. If he used a song by someone who didn’t like him (there are plenty such musicians to be sure) then a flap could have gone in the other direction.

Apparently, the moral of the story is recording artists are opinionated about their politics and willing to express it publicly. So make sure your campaign music comes from someone who agrees with you, or is inclined to stay silent about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The point is not that these candidates have to get permission to use the song.

“the moral of the story is recording artists are opinionated about their politics and willing to express it publicly”

I guess these artists don’t care that people on BOTH sides of politics buy music. For me, anytime an artist decides to express their political opinion, I use that as a gauge as to whether I wish to continue supporting their lifestyle or not.

Now my measly few purchases may not mean much, but how many more people do they alienate when they express their views? Maybe a better approach would be to thank whomever used their music, then ask that they address their concerns on views x,y, and z.

Baron von Robber says:

Re: Re: The point is not that these candidates have to get permission to use the song.

But golly gee, there are plenty of artists that have expressed their views into public office (Reagan, Frankin, Schwarzenegger). And that guy from Australia that got into office.

Yea, it may not be a good marketing campaign to speak up about your politics (Ted Nugent) as it could effect your bottom line, but that’s up to them.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: But Bernie is no direct competitor...

If you think that’s going to happen, you’re not paying attention. Don’t get me wrong; I think that of all the candidates we’ve seen so far, Bernie Sanders is probably the best. But there’s no way he’s going to win the presidency. It would mean breaking a decades-long pattern in American politics, changing the effects while the underlying causes remain the same.

Remember Bush Sr? Remember “read my lips, no new taxes” and then new taxes, and the first Iraq war sending gas prices sky high? Well, the American people got sick of his bad leadership and so they threw him out and chose a new president from the other party who was the anti-Bush: a (relatively) young, hip saxaphone player who oh-by-the-way also happened to be a thoroughly corrupt sexual predator whose entire presidency was plagued by a never-ending stream of scandals. The Clinton administration was worse (and worse for America) than the Bush administration.

So we did the same thing again: elected a new guy from the other party who portrayed himself as the anti-Clinton. W got in on a promise to “restore dignity to the White House.” Well, we all know how that went! And the W administration was worse (and worse for America) than the Clinton administration.

So what did we do? The same thing again, electing the anti-Bush, a man who campaigned on “hope and change,” and then proceeded to spend the next 8 years (yeah, it’s only been 6 and a half, but is there any reason to think the rest will be any different?) proving that the only “changes” he’s bringing about are in the same direction as the changes we’ve been experiencing since the 70s: downward, ever downward. So far, the Obama administration has been worse (and worse for America) than the W administration.

It doesn’t take a genius to call 2016 already: we’re going to end up electing whichever Republican candidate most successfully portrays himself as the anti-Obama. And things will get worse.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Socialism

Americans won’t like getting crushed by the Socialist the following four years then.

…still, better than partisanship.

Er, one (or even a hundred thousand) corporate, money grabbing, freedom ruining rapacious monsters, vs. 4.N million rapacious monsters (via IRS, et al) …

Methinks you misunderstand the magnitude of gov’t power’s potentials. Knowing you, that’s not true.

I’d much rather find myself defending myself in court vs. a corporation, than having to prove to a bad gov’t that I’m no threat to it.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Socialism

My comment was more in reference to Anonymous Coward‘s derision of Socialism as an act of partisan politics (Socialism as the other team) rather than considering the actual benefits of socialism.

Imagine, if you would, the entire US military being run by Xe International (aka Blackwater) and then imagine a corporate entity of that size and power capturing all the regulatory agencies (or since we’re really against socialism, buying out all of the companies that are hired to oversee them), and you have the makings of a very dark dystopian war machine indeed.

To be fair this isn’t a fair assessment of a purely privatized economy. Any system, capitalist or otherwise will need to be regulated and tweaked in order to make them work.

But we can’t simply say that socialism always leads to a fascist state because we haven’t really tested that. We can’t say that capitalism always leads to a corporate oligarchy either. It just did in our instance. One that has the worst of both worlds, where we have to defend ourselves both against corporate bourgeoisie that doesn’t care for client / consumer rights and a state that presumes we proletariat are a clear and present threat (hence the surveillance and extrajudicial detention and the brutal law enforcement).

Sometimes a given commodity or service needs to be socialized because the market cannot be trusted. Sometimes it can’t because the government can’t prioritize keeping it working.

But being against communism or socialism or whatever because that’s the rival team is, though typical of human bias, sheer folly. And it allows all that is wrong to continue to fester.

Teamchaos (profile) says:

Re: But Bernie is no direct competitor...

I agree, anything that promotes Bernie is probably good for the GOP. The more democrats vote for Bernie in the primaries the more of them will stay home when it’s time to vote for Hillary in the general.

Can you imagine if it were to end up Trump vs. Saunders? Populist right vs. populist left? That would be amazing to watch. Of course no matter who won, America would lose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But Bernie is no direct competitor...

“The more democrats vote for Bernie in the primaries the more of them will stay home when it’s time to vote for Hillary in the general.”

Perhaps you underestimate the voting public.

“Of course no matter who won, America would lose.”

This is a given, considering that the country is run by corporations.

jameshogg says:

Why do people keep on claiming copyright protects the moral rights of the author?

In cases such as this one it clearly doesn’t. No approval or endorsement was given by the band to the presidential bid, effectively slandering them. Yet a licence was given de jure. If anything, under the probable terms that were signed up with that copyright, the band most likely couldn’t stop such a licence from being granted.

Copyright gets in the way of moral rights. On what other planet would it be seen as appropriate to sign away your right not to be defamed?

jameshogg says:

Re: Re: Moral Rights

Property rights and moral rights (e.g. defamation protection and plagiarism protection) should not intersect precisely for this reason.

It would mean presidential candidates would have to put up a disclaimer saying the band doesn’t support the campaign and the music is being used “unofficially”. That seems to make perfect sense, regardless if copyright was involved. If this were an issue of, say, using Jeremy Clarkson’s persona on Fiat cars without his permission it would be far clearer without the mess of including property considerations.

But again, because of the hijacking of these issues by copyright, this is not easy. It would be ridiculous if I “signed away” my right to sue a company I work for because of a dangerous slippery floor for example. Either civil rights are inalienable or they are not. Pre-emptive waivers are nonsensical and nobody would sign them in any other context.

This is exactly why I support abolishing copyright but keeping (most of) the moral rights stuff in a separate legal sphere. The property question can be solved through assurance contracts. The moral issues just need to stop being seen through the lens of copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why do politicians play music at their gala events when they do not understand what the chosen songs are about?

For example, the GOP loves Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA but they obviously do not understand what the song is about. It’s rather humorous.

Here is a link to some of the more hilarious (mis?)uses of music for political purpose.

Chris BIngham (profile) says:

Moral rights

As an artist you know that once you let your music out into the wild, anyone can use it.

But if someone is using it to support an issue or candidate you don’t like, it’s part of maintaining your reputation to speak out and let people know. It’s certainly not childish and petty.

Remember when “My City Was Gone” was being used as the Rush Limbaugh theme? People were shouting “Rush Limbaugh!” at her shows. She told people she had no control over it, but still had to deal with consequences.

tqk (profile) says:

the musicians are being childish and petty ...

I mean, sure the musicians are being childish and petty …

What? No they’re not. Would you like people to be thinking about your associating with Donald Trump or Bobby Jindal when they’re considering buying your music? I sure wouldn’t. They’re distancing themselves from bad juju, not wanting to be tarred with brushes richly deserved by others.

Neil Young may be a crackpot[*], but he’s not stupid.

* I don’t expect artists to be philosophers, and I love his stuff even if he is a crackpot; always have.

Anonymous Coward says:

just go get the whiny artist’s permission first

I mean, sure the musicians are being childish and petty

You know, when this site posts things like this, and then takes offense at being accused of hating artists, it really reflects badly. In this instance, no one even put forth a legal claim. It’s literally a five paragraph blog post about a single tweet by an artist distancing himself from a political position. Just so we’re all on the same page, this is the entirety of what’s being discussed, because apparently the context was “mistakenly” dropped by our esteemed “author”:

“@TheGambit Using our music is not cool at all #BobbyJindal. @SenSanders[Bernie Sanders] using our “Make a Change” to make his announcement is tres bien.”

But hey, the lesser Techdirt writers can never miss a chance for wannabe sub-Gawker snark, even if they have to manufacture their own controversy and obfuscate details. It’s true that someone is being “whiny” “childish” and “petty” here, but it certainly isn’t Buckwheat Zydeco.

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