Mike Huckabee Settles For Five Figures With Survivor Over Copyright Infringement

from the just-ask-next-time dept

If you'll recall, back when the American presidential campaign was still in full swing and we weren't all left with only two candidates that basically distill the concept of the lesser of two evils argument for voter participation, Mike Huckabee held a rally for Kim Davis and played Eye of the Tiger by Survivor to introduce her. While there was enough wrong in the entire episode to fill up many, many pages, Techdirt focused first on Frank Sullivan of Survivor's lawsuit against Huckabee for copyright infringement. Most observers initially thought that the suit wouldn't go anywhere, as most of the time these politicians have the proper blanket licensing to play these songs as part of their campaigns. Upon further inspection, however, the Kim Davis rally couldn't really have been considered part of Huckabee's ill-fated campaign, which would render any license his people had obtained useless. This was confirmed when Huckabee bizarrely put forth affirmative fair use defenses, claiming that the use was non-substantial and non-commercial...because the Kim Davis rally was a religious rally.

I said at the time that the tactic was unlikely to work and, additionally, was quite a disgusting attempt, given the piety that Huckabee likes to portray. Debasing religious conviction to get out of copyright infringement is stunningly shrewd, even to a devout secularist such as myself. Especially when Huckabee could have simply found a band willing to give permission for the use, setting up some kind of God v. Copyright showdown seemed slimy.

But that's what the former candidate chose to do, which brings me to this strange string of words I never thought I'd put in this particular order: God lost to copyright.

Failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is paying $25,000 for playing "Eye of the Tiger" at a rally last year without the band's permission, CNNMoney has discovered. Huckabee never paid for the rights -- so his campaign got sued for copyright infringement. He recently agreed to a confidential settlement with Rude Music. That company is owned by the Survivor guitarist who cowrote the song, Frankie Sullivan.

The claim that the rally was a religious gathering and not connected to the Huckabee campaign reportedly fell apart because he had listed the rally as a campaign expense on his records. Interestingly, despite Huckabee's claim that it was not a campaign event, that it was so will allow him to use his campaign's warchest to pay off the settlement.

And thus comes to an end a politician's campaign infringing on copyright and trying to invoke religion to get out of it. Thy kingdom come...to a settlement with an 80s band, apparently.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 4:08pm

    uh, no.

    "God lost to copyright."

    Who said huckabee is God,

    Or is Tim a closet evangelist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 12:18am

      Re: uh, no.

      Well, in the absence of any god actually coming down and talking to us, we have to take the word of those who claim to be his earthly representatives at face value. Since Huckabee was one of those claimed representatives and claimed to be doing god's work, he lost this case...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2016 @ 5:43am

        Re: Re: uh, no.

        "... we have to take the word of those who claim to be his earthly representatives at face value."

        No we don't.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 4:10pm

    It's the eye of the liar
    It's the shrill of the right
    Sinking down when the issue ends up viral
    And the last known survivor
    Sues his prey in this fight
    And he's watching us all with the eye of his lawyers

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 6 Jul 2016 @ 4:10pm

    editors being lazy again...

    How is it a private settlement if the quote is also reporting how much he settled for?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2016 @ 3:51am

      Re: editors being lazy again...

      Because Huckabee gets to have sex with his mom/sister/brother.

      Wasn't part of the settlement, but he wants it kept private?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 4:54pm

    This is Awesome!!!!

    I love it when these corrupt bastard politicians get fucked over by their own laws! Heck I love it every time one gets screwed.

    Hope it makes him want to change the law. Who am I kidding, the MafiAA probably reimbursed the clown behind the scenes just to make sure an example was made.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 6 Jul 2016 @ 5:49pm

    If Huckabee puts his bank book under his pillow the mysterious spook in the sky will put the $25,000 back in his account overnight. And put a little extra in as well for lost interest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RainbowboomX (profile), 6 Jul 2016 @ 5:51pm

    People do realize that there are more than 2 parties than the major parties such as the libertarians and the greens

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Starke (profile), 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:22pm

      Re:

      Yes, but because the United States employs a winner take all election format, it means that third parties are disproportionately underrepresented.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mcinsand, 7 Jul 2016 @ 5:02am

      Thank you, RainbowboomX

      Thank you for pointing out what I was coming to say. We do not have to choose between a belligerent buffoon and a pathological liar & crook. There are at least two other parties, and we can vote for principles instead of an empty brand name. I've got enough years to be getting close to old buzzard territory, and I have been hearing all of my life that, if we vote for a third party, then we will just be supporting a spoiler. However, the duopoly system is broken. Look at the past two administrations: pork-laden stimulus packages, unfunded entitlement expansions, and endless discretionary wars overseas.

      One of the two major parties will almost definitely win this election, and I really don't think that which one matters. Neither will get any cooperation from Congress and Senate, so both will be hobbled. However, if enough of us do vote for other parties, then they will start to receive more funding and visibility.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Jul 2016 @ 2:27am

        Re: Thank you, RainbowboomX

        You'll have to plug them here, there, and everywhere to give them a chance, but it can be done.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2016 @ 5:46am

      Re:

      Because that will solve ... umm what was that again?

      Oh yeah. All non major party candidates would never ever use music without first obtaining a license to do so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Paul Gratton Stout (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      "People do realize that there are more than 2 parties than the major parties such as the libertarians and the greens."

      Well, yes, but then again those two parties only count if one is actually silly enough to believe their candidates can do any better than being voted Dogcatcher!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 6:02pm

    God lost to Copyright

    Maybe God will finally act and condemn Copyright to Hell where it belongs.
    Preferably along with all those who have abused it against others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 6 Jul 2016 @ 6:23pm

    Could come back to haunt him again

    Interestingly, despite Huckabee's claim that it was not a campaign event, that it was so will allow him to use his campaign's warchest to pay off the settlement.


    That he reached a settlement does not automatically make it a campaign event. Interestingly, since he's using campaign funds to pay off an event he's stated repeatedly (and quote from page 6 of his court filing in doing so)
    The assembly in support of Mrs. Davis was not organized, advertised, or promoted as a Huckabee for President campaign event. No Huckabee for President campaign signs were present at the assembly or visible in news reports of the assembly. Mr. Huckabee appeared at the assembly without as much as a campaign button. Mr. Huckabee spoke instead of God, religion, Mrs. Davis, the role of the courts, and the U. S. Constitution. Moreover, Mr. Huckabee explicitly proclaimed that his message was non-partisan and was not in support or criticism of any major political party.


    I don't think the FEC is going to be too happy with him using campaign funds to pay for an event that's been emphatically denied to be a campaign event in court motions. Now, had it gone to court, and a finding of fact happened that it was a campaign event, then that's one thing. However, as it's just a private settlement, then legally Huckabee still classifies it as a non-campaign event, and thus he's misusing funds.

    He may face charges from misuse of funds as a result. You can't (as far as I know) make legal claims an event is not a campaign event in a lawsuit, then come to a private settlement and benefit from claiming it's a campaign event. You don't get to switch between them at will when it best suits you. Either he Perjured himself in his filing, or he's committing election finance malfeasance.

    Hope he knows how to pray....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 6:58pm

    Sooo

    Copyright law in America is a backwards mess unless it screws over a republican. Got it.

    Way to not stick to principles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Jul 2016 @ 7:21pm

      Re: Sooo

      What article did you read, because it doesn't seem to have been the one I did.

      The article has nothing to do with 'defending' copyright or it's use, and everything to do with pointing out that Huckabee's attempt to defend his use of a song without paying the fees for doing so failed spectacularly, in large part due to his own claims/actions elsewhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2016 @ 5:49am

      Re: Sooo

      Yup - everyone is out to get you. Better buy more guns 'n ammo cause .. well .. YaaaaHoooooo. Hold ma beer - watch this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2016 @ 4:26pm

      Re: Sooo

      It's still a backwards mess, but it's nice to hear about it fucking over someone who deserves it for a change.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:07pm

    If copyright had sane limits, like it used to, the song might have been in public domain by the time Huckabee used it. Then we would be cheering for Huckabee as he fought off copyfraudulent rights holders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:20pm

    "setting up some kind of God v. Copyright showdown seemed slimy"

    It just seemed that way? Did God petition to appear? If not it seems like a minor oversight compared to running the universe, but still sloppy.

    K'Tetch wrote: "He may face charges from misuse of funds as a result. You can't (as far as I know) make legal claims an event is not a campaign event in a lawsuit, then come to a private settlement and benefit from claiming it's a campaign event. You don't get to switch between them at will when it best suits you. Either he Perjured himself in his filing, or he's committing election finance malfeasance.
    "

    Tsk, tsk, sir you are a doubter. Huckabee is sure to portray this as yet another instance where Bad Things Happen to Good People. God is with him, mere human laws are sent to let us all be victims of persecution and to gather in the votes of a righteous populace (and the judges they elect or otherwise appoint by blessing of a beneficent Lord, or as Mama June would say 'the sketti monster' where sketti is sketty & ketchup). Get with the program son, or you will never be in charge of this charming Southern town.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 12:31am

      Re:

      "Huckabee is sure to portray this as yet another instance where Bad Things Happen to Good People."

      Well, the original story was about him portraying a woman being criticised for literally refusing to do her job as some kind of victim of religious persecution, so no doubt he'll find some way to spin it. The only problem is how many people are stupid enough to buy it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 8:50pm

    They can both go to hell, and take their music and politics with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2016 @ 9:48pm

    God didn't lose to copyright. Someone taking His name in vain lost to copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 7 Jul 2016 @ 2:49am

    The ironic thing is that you could probably get Survivor to perform at your house for 3 figures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2016 @ 3:52am

    During the case, Mr Huckabee declined to put his hand on the bible to swear an oath, stating that after the last time he tried that the burns still haven't healed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    FITZ! (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 6:54am

    "...the lesser of two evils..."

    There are more than two candidates on the ballot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AnonJr (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 7:35am

    The claim that the rally was a religious gathering and not connected to the Huckabee campaign reportedly fell apart because he had listed the rally as a campaign expense on his records. Interestingly, despite Huckabee's claim that it was not a campaign event, that it was so will allow him to use his campaign's warchest to pay off the settlement.

    If it's a campaign expense, and ruled as a part of his campaign, would he not then be able to counter-claim that it is therefore covered under the blanket licencing he most likely had?


    And thus comes to an end a politician's campaign infringing on copyright and trying to invoke religion to get out of it. Thy kingdom come...to a settlement with an 80s band, apparently.


    If we're going to throw a bit of bible in there, I think the more appropriate one would be:
    Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Steerpike (profile), 7 Jul 2016 @ 11:37am

    Should be a Fair Use. Despite the fact that Huckabee is a jackass, positions on Fair Use should remain consistent. Of course, the $25K settlement is far less than it would cost to take the case to trial, even if Huckabee could win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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