Okay, Now A Survivor Member Really Did Sue Mike Huckabee For Using 'Eye Of The Tiger' At Kim Davis Rally

from the the-prophecy-came-true dept

Hey, remember that time I was thoroughly fooled by two hoax sites into reporting that Survivor band members had filed a copyright suit against Mike Huckabee for using Eye of the Tiger at that gross rally for Kim Davis? And remember my simpering excuse, suggesting that copyright as it stands today makes it difficult to separate the absurd from the fake? Well, suck it, universe, because now that Survivor’s Frank Sullivan really has filed a copyright lawsuit against Huckabee for using the song at the rally, I am now claiming that instead of being the victim of a hoax, I’m actually some kind of prophetic modern-day Nostradamus.

Sullivan, one of the founding members of the band Survivor, is co-author of the song “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song for the movie “Rocky III.” His company, Rude Music, co-owns the rights to Sullivan’s songs, court records show. Rude Music sued Huckabee for President Inc. in Federal Court, claiming the Republican presidential candidate used “Eye of the Tiger” without permission at a campaign stop.

The suit itself goes to great lengths to position Huckabee and his campaign staff as a group that really should know better than to use music during the campaign without permission from the artists. After pointing out that this isn’t the first such instance of Huckabee facing backlash over the use of music by artists that don’t support him, it points out:

Huckabee for President’s infringement of “Eye of the Tiger” is willful. Mr. Huckabee is sophisticated and knowledgeable concerning the copyright laws, both as a private individual and media-savvy business owner. According to the records of the United States Copyright Office, Mr. Huckabee is the author or co-author of more than a dozen copyrighted works. Mr. Huckabee operated television stations in Arkansas, and for years he has hosted political commentary shows on the radio and on Fox News. Mr. Huckabee is himself a musician whose band, Capitol Offense, has performed at political and other public events; in 2007, Mr. Huckabee received a Music for Life Award from the National Association of Music Merchants. Moreover, Huckabee for President has a legal team.

That last bit is my favorite. What’s not mentioned in the filing is any reference to any performance licenses the Huckabee campaign must certainly have purchased for music. That’s likely to become the central issue, as all major campaigns purchases these licenses to cover rallies (and many venues separately have their own PRO licenses anyway — though it’s doubtful the jail did here) and typically complaints from artists go nowhere because of them. What may make this suit different is whether or not Huckabee can bill the Kim Davis rally as an official campaign stop, where the license would apply. It seems to strain credulity to suggest that the release of a third person from jail somehow qualifies as any kind of official campaign stop, but then again the suit specifically is targeting Huckabee for President, Inc., rather than Huckabee himself, which might muddy the waters a bit.

Either way, as we’ve said before, it would be trivially easy for campaigns to just clear musical choices with artists first to avoid these dustups. Even if they’re not legally required to do so, it’s the easiest solution.

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Comments on “Okay, Now A Survivor Member Really Did Sue Mike Huckabee For Using 'Eye Of The Tiger' At Kim Davis Rally”

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33 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Nostradamus Wannabe

OK, say we buy that. What else are you predicting? Elections, Lottery Numbers, new end of the world date (oh, Nostradamus got that wrong so you get a pass), whether congress will do something stupid (nah, too easy), how about sports…Superbowl, next World Series, World Cup, Stanley Cup? Whatcha got?

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sure they would, from select musicians. Ted Nugent for example. Mike Huckabee and Ted Nugent played a duet together on TV of Cat Scratch Fever

Well, I make the pussy purr with the stroke of my hand
They know they gettin’ it from me
They know just where to go when they need their lovin’ man
They know I’m doin’ it for free

…before going on to criticize Obama’s parenting skills for letting his daughters listen to Beyoncé.

WARNING: Do not attempt to imagine Huckabee welcoming Kim Davis to the stage with those lyrics.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“You rail agaist the permiision culture and then say he should have asked permission?”

Yes, because “permission culture” doesn’t simply mean “you should have permission”. There’s a lot more to it that is criticised here, mostly the new crap that’s been spread around in the last decade. If it was the normal licencing regime that’s been in place for decades, you wouldn’t hear it complained about so much.

Asking permission to use your song for professional advertising purposes and implied political support is one of those situations where even the most ardent anti-“permission culture” critic can see the reason why it’s pragmatic.

“No right leaning politician would ever get permission”

…and there we have the problem. First off, those same politicians tend to be the same ones who decry even fair use for ordinary citizens, and are the ones most likely to cozy up to the corporations destroying consumer rights over fears that others are using work without permission. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Secondly, it’s an indication of the “f**k you, I’ve got mine” attitude that’s leading to all sorts of problems with American politics and political discourse in general. You shouldn’t let their childish, selfish, destructive behaviour pass just because you now expect it.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Roger?

The whole point of Huckabee being on stage with Kim Davis was to support her homophobic bigotry and smear it on himself to attract the bigot vote.

It didn’t matter that she was using a government position to enforce HER personal interpretation of HER personal religion over the law and the Constitution. Mike needed to establish his inbred-cred.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Roger?

Furthermore, the word “phobia” refers specifically to an irrational fear. I’ve never heard a bigot state a problem with gay people that’s rational – it’s usually either “gay people are icky” or “if they have the same rights as me, that removes mine” or something similar. The biggest objection to gay marriage seems to be the fear that secular gay marriage will destroy non-secular heterosexual ones. Which is irrational nonsense, and thus a phobia.

Perhaps if the bigots spent less time worry about what people call them and more time on presenting a rational reason for their prejudice, they won’t be called homophobes. However, from what I’ve seen, no such reason exists.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Roger?

The whole point of Huckabee being on stage with Kim Davis was to support her homophobic bigotry and smear it on himself to attract the bigot vote.

Granted, that might sound more insightful if my own shameless attention seeking hadn’t just led to sharing a Funniest Comment of the Week award with Patrick Zarrelli.

SteveCinLA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Roger?

I’m a conservative who’s in the tech field (about the only one at my place). I think the lawsuit it bogus for one reason: The litigants (Mr. Sullivan, etc.) will not be able to prove that this event was a “campaign stop.” Yes, a Presidential candidate was there. But I don’t see how this event was a “presidential campaign.” A person who happened to be a presidential candidate (Mike Huckabee) was hosting an event. But it wasn’t a Mike Huckabee (presidential) event, it was a “standing up for a friend” event.

Go ahead and call me “hateful,” “bigoted,” “phobic”, etc., etc., etc.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Roger?

As I indicated in my original post, I do consider it a campaign stop. Dropping in unscheduled to grandstand on an issue is a traditional part of campaigning. Huckabee was establishing his political “brand”, even if the brand is “protecting the sanctity of traditional bigotry.”

Why would I call you “hateful,” “bigoted,” “phobic”, etc., etc., etc.?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Roger?

“Freaking libs and the media have been tearing us apart.”

Yeah, nothing to do with the homophobic bigot who refused to do her job when she was asked to treat gays as equals as required under law, and nothing to do with the Republicans who lined up to use her to bolster their careers with her hatred. It’s those evil libs again!

If you’re worried about the country being divided, you need to look closer to home.

Anonymous Coward says:

Countersue them.
http://moelane.com/2015/09/10/tweet-of-the-day-i-find-it-more-annoying-than-funny/
“but many if not most of these bands, in point of fact, signed away their right to dictate who can and cannot use their music. Frankly, there will come a day when a fed-up campaign ends up suing one of these bands for fraud because said band offered the music via ASCAP, then raised too much of a stink when the wrong people bought a license. That I’ll find hilarious, because the campaign will probably win.”

JMT says:

“Either way, as we’ve said before, it would be trivially easy for campaigns to just clear musical choices with artists first to avoid these dustups. Even if they’re not legally required to do so, it’s the easiest solution.”

Asking “permission” doesn’t actually solve anything though, because the artist can’t prevent legal use of their music. If a politician feels that a particular song reflects the way they feel or the image they want to project, they’re free to pay their money and play it to their heart’s content.

Artists might not like it, and they’re free to express that opinion, but the same copyright laws that they claim are indispensable for artistic creation allow their music to be used this way. Live by the copyright sword, die by the copyright sword.

That’s not to say using an artist’s music against their wishes is a smart political or PR move. It’s not, it’s dumb. It’s just not illegal.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Asking “permission” doesn’t actually solve anything though, because the artist can’t prevent legal use of their music. If a politician feels that a particular song reflects the way they feel or the image they want to project, they’re free to pay their money and play it to their heart’s content.

Artists might not like it, and they’re free to express that opinion, but the same copyright laws that they claim are indispensable for artistic creation allow their music to be used this way. Live by the copyright sword, die by the copyright sword.

Yeah, I think what Tim meant is not that they should HAVE to ask permission, but if they want to avoid giving free publicity to people who hate them, maybe ask first. It’s a different sort of permission. Basically, figure out how not to give a wide open platform for someone famous to attack you.

Anonymous Coward says:

A right is not a right if you have to ask permission

Either way, as we’ve said before, it would be trivially easy for campaigns to just clear musical choices with artists first to avoid these dustups. Even if they’re not legally required to do so, it’s the easiest solution.

From all the comments here deriding the permission culture, I am surprised to read these last lines. If it is legal, then why bother asking? Do we have rights or don’t we?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: A little work now, to prevent a lot of work later

The point of asking in such situations, even though legally they don’t actually need to, is to avoid situations like this where the band makes a big stink over the matter, and uses it as an opportunity to attack a stance or position of the politician.

A couple of phone calls to make sure that the band isn’t likely to take the opportunity to give the campaign a PR black-eye would be a trivial bit of work compared to what they have to do when something like this happens, and they now have to deal with a very public fight between campaign and band.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: A right is not a right if you have to ask permission

“If it is legal, then why bother asking?”

It’s legal for me to take an empty chair in a cafe, but normal social mores would dictate that it’s polite for me the person sat at the table first. Not only is it common courtesy, but if the person does have a reason why I should not take that seat, it avoids an argument.

“Do we have rights or don’t we?”

Yes, and if you use those rights to be an inconsiderate asshole, others have the right to call you on that.

GEMont (profile) says:

the path of least resistance

…it would be trivially easy for campaigns to just clear musical choices with artists first…

Except that this route would give the artist the chance to say NO, which would probably look bad for the abusing politician if he chose to use the music anyway.

Not clearing the use of the music with the artist avoids this possibility altogether.

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