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John McCain Settles Jackson Browne Lawsuit Over Song Use

from the giving-in dept

Last year, during the presidential campaign, singer Jackson Browne sued John McCain for using one of his songs in an ad. There were a few questionable aspects to the lawsuit. First, the ad wasn't actually from the McCain campaign. There were also some questions about whether or not this was fair use since it was ostensibly used for "political speech," but so far the court didn't seem too amenable to that. And so, McCain has settled the lawsuit and publicly apologized to Browne, who claims this wasn't a partisan issue (yeah, right), but about the rights of musicians. This actually would have been an interesting fair use battle, so it's a little disappointing that it's ended, but the argument over "musicians' rights" strikes me as a bit silly, too. McCain could have easily used the same song live at a campaign stop, assuming the venue paid a compulsory performance license. And someone in the McCain camp could have legally covered the song, paying the correct compulsory license as well -- and then potentially used that version in a commercial. Basically, all this really did was highlight how convoluted and often arbitrary copyright laws are in many cases. But, rather than learning a useful lesson on the mess that is today's copyright law, it looks like McCain has taken the easy way out.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2009 @ 4:02am


    Oh come on. Some guy threatened a telemarketer and was arrested under terrorist threats. That's a republican/conservative law.

    Both groups want to take your rights and your moneys. Just repeat that until you stop criticizing Obama for spending your money, and excusing Bush for spending your money. Or vice versa, for the democrats.

    But anyway, I think this whole thing is self-correcting. Jackson Brown is able to protest the song's use, not under copyright, but just under decent behavior. And that would do damage to the McCain campaign. If people actually expected the presidential candidates to display character, this wouldn't be a problem.

    What sort of turd keeps using a song for political purposes after the performer asks him to stop?

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