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Jackson Browne Sues GOP And McCain Campaign


First Posted: 08-14-08 10:50 AM   |   Updated: 09-14-08 05:12 AM

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***UPDATE*** McCain Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers responds to the lawsuit filed by Jackson Browne:

This campaign has never run any ad using any portion of Mr. Browne's song. If the complaint names the McCain campaign, Mr. Browne and his lawyers have picked the wrong target, and John McCain's name should obviously be removed from this lawsuit immediately.


Singer, songwriter, liberal activist and now John McCain scourge Jackson Browne filed a lawsuit today against the presumptive GOP nominee and the Republican Party for failing to obtain a license to use one of his songs in a television commercial.

The song, "Running on Empty," has been used by the Ohio Republican Party (not the McCain campaign) apparently against Browne's approval. The music icon also claims that in doing so, the false perception is created that he is endorsing McCain's candidacy.

If the whole episode strikes a nostalgic tone, it's because famous musical artists and Republican presidential candidates have butted heads in the past. Bruce Springsteen publicly complained when Ronald Reagan used "Born in the U.S.A" during his campaign in 1984.

The commercial Browne is upset by is a recent spot on energy policy that rips Barack Obama for suggesting that the country conserve gas through proper tire inflation.

"We are confident that Jackson Browne will prevail in this lawsuit. Not only have Senator McCain and his agents plainly infringed Mr. Browne's copyright in Running On Empty, but the Federal Courts have long held that the unauthorized use of a famous singer's voice in a commercial constitutes a false endorsement and a violation of the singer's right of publicity," Lawrence Iser of the Santa Monica, California law firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert said in a press release. "In light of Jackson Browne's lifelong commitment to Democratic ideals and political candidates, the misappropriation of Jackson Browne's endorsement is entirely reprehensible, and I have no doubt that a jury will agree."

This is the second time in a week a celebrity has chastised the McCain camp for allegedly illegally using his or her material. Mike Myers, earlier this week, insisted that the Arizona Republican take down a web ad that -- mocking Obama's celebrity -- used a "we're not worthy" clip from his movie Wayne's World.

Back in July, meanwhile, the Silicon Alley Insider reported that...

... Warner Music Group (WMG) appears to have demanded that YouTube remove "Obama Love," a montage of press fawning over Sen. Barack Obama that had been posted on Sen. John McCain's official YouTube channel. "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group," says a message on YouTube.

The video, set to Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," had the makings of a rare viral hit for McCain. It had been viewed more than 200,000 times in its first three day on the Web, and helped McCain beat Obama in total views on YouTube over the past week.


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