The record company that owns the rights to Survivor's 1982 smash hit, "The Eye of the Tiger," is suing GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for allegedly using the song repeatedly over the past four years without permission, TMZ reports.
The suit, filed in Illinois by Rude Music Inc. on Monday, claims that Gingrich used the song during appearances at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as 2010's Southern Republican Leadership Conference. RMI also claims that Gingrich has played the music at at least one campaign event, according to TMZ.
Right Wing Watch has documented the three CPAC entrances in question, and it indeed appears that Gingrich took the stage to the Grammy-winning tune made famous by the film "Rocky III."
(You can watch Gingrich's most recent CPAC entrance via YouTube)
"Newt 2012's and Mr. Gingrich's unauthorized public performance or inducement of or contribution to the public performance of the copyrighted work infringes Rude Music's copyright," the complaint reads, according to Bloomberg.
Rude Music Inc., an Illinois corporation owned by Frank Sullivan, a co-author of the song, sued the candidate today in federal court in Chicago, seeking a court order blocking Gingrich's unauthorized use of the song at campaign rallies. Rude Music is also seeking unspecified money damages.
This is just the latest instance of legal trouble stemming from the use of music at political functions. Last year, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.) received a cease-and-desist order from American rocker Tom Petty after using his hit single, "American Girl," as exit music for her 2012 presidential campaign announcement.
For more instances of musicians pushing back against politicians, scroll through the slideshow below.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) might be an "American Girl," but rocker Tom Petty doesn't want her using his song to say it. Bachmann closed her presidential campaign announcement on Monday by playing Petty's hit single, only to have the Heartbreakers frontman respond with a cease-and-desist letter. (Skip to 21:30 for Bachmann's exit)
During his unsuccessful independent bid for Senate in 2010, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist used the Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere" in a web video targeting Republican candidate and eventual victor Marco Rubio. Talking Heads singer David Byrne quickly sued Crist for $1 million, claiming the song's placement implied his support for Crist's campaign. The two parties came to an agreement earlier this year. According to the Associated Press, the terms of the settlement were not released, but it included an apology by Crist that was posted on YouTube. Video of the apology is above.
Sam Moore, half of famed soul duo Sam & Dave, pushed back against then-candidate Barack Obama's use of their hit song "Hold On, I'm Comin'" during 2008 campaign rallies. Obama's camp reportedly honored Moore's request and stopped playing the song.
Nancy and Ann Wilson of the band Heart strongly protested the McCain campaign's use of their song "Barracuda" to introduce Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention (Palin's high school nickname was "Barracuda"). McCain's camp replied that they had taken the appropriate measures to use the song legally. "The McCain campaign respects intellectual property rights. Accordingly, prior to using 'Barracuda' at any events, we paid for and obtained all necessary licenses," a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
A lawyer for Canadian rock trio Rush told then-Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul in 2010 that his campaign didn't have permission to use their song "Tom Sawyer" in a promotional web video. Another song, "Spirit of the Radio," had also not been authorized for use at Paul's rallies, the lawyer claimed. After the complaint, the Paul campaign reportedly cut the soundtrack from the ad and stopped using Rush's music at campaign events. (Above: "Tom Sawyer" by Rush)
The Foo Fighters accused John McCain of "pervert[ing] the original sentiment of the lyric[s]" to their song "My Hero" in a 2008 letter asking his campaign to stop using their music for promotional use. The McCain camp responded: "The McCain-Palin campaign respects copyright. Accordingly, this campaign has obtained and paid for licenses from performing rights organizations, giving us permission to play millions of different songs, including 'My Hero.'"
Classic rocker Jackson Browne sued the 2008 presidential candidate, the RNC and the Ohio Republican Party for allegedly using his song "Running on Empty" in a web video without permission. In 2009, nearly a year after filing the lawsuit, Browne emerged victorious. The defendants wrote at the time: "We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running On Empty' was used without permission. Although Senator McCain had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the creation or distribution of the Web campaign video, Senator McCain does not support or condone any actions taken by anyone involved in his 2008 presidential election campaign that were inconsistent with artists' rights or the various legal protections afforded to intellectual property."
Former GOP presidential candidate and bass player Mike Huckabee made a habit of pulling out his four-string and playing Boston's "More Than a Feeling" on the campaign trail in 2008. That didn't please Tom Scholz, founder of the classic rock band and writer of the song. In a letter to Huckabee, Scholz asked the Arkansas governor to stop playing the ballad, saying that he'd "been ripped off." Huckabee's camp called the complaint ridiculous. Click over to Rolling Stone for Scholz's entire letter to Huckabee. (Above: Mike Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense, plays Boston's "More Than A Feeling")
Van Halen expressed displeasure with McCain's use of their song "Right Now" during a campaign event in 2008, claiming that "permission was not sought or granted, nor would it have been given." While the rock band was agitated, there were no reports of legal action at the time.
Springsteen was famously upset by Ronald Reagan's (ironic) use of his song "Born in the USA" for the Gipper's 1984 re-election campaign. The Associated Press reports that "Springsteen, a Democrat, bristled at his art being invoked for causes he opposed," though no formal motion was ever filed to bar Reagan from using the song.
John Hall, co-founder of rock band Orleans and a former congressman himself, complained in 2004 that George W. Bush was using the band's song "Still the One" without permission. The Bush camp removed it from its playlist following Hall's cease-and-desist order. Four years later, Hall, then serving as a House Democrat from New York, filed a similar complaint against McCain's campaign, calling it "yet another example of John McCain not learning anything from George Bush's mistakes." McCain's campaign stopped using the track soon thereafter, MSNBC reported.
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