11/10/2010

Unauthorized use of copyrighted music in political campaigns

Landslide (the magazine of the ABA's IP Section) has published Singing the Campaign Blues: Politicians Often Tone Deaf to Songwriters’ Rights by Robert Clarida of Cowan Liebowitz & Latman and Andrew Sparkler of ASCAP. The article was prompted by the unauthorized and objected-to use of music by John McCain, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in their political campaigns. The article explains that
The exact nature of these music claims, and the politicians’ responses to them, have been varied. Simple public performances, such as playing songs over the PA system at rallies and other campaign events, raise one set of issues. Including songs in videos, websites, and TV ads raises additional issues. Altering the songs with new lyrics to make topical political points raises still another set of issues.
The article then analyzes all these issues, in just six quite readable pages.