Musicians object to the use of their music without permission

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Kid Rocks hit song, “Born Free,” struck a chord with one of this year’s presidential candidates while they were looking for a campaign theme song. However, rather than simply taking the song and blasting it during campaign events as so many other politicians had done prior to him, this campaign asked for Rock’s permission first and avoided a lawsuit.

The foresight to request permission before using the song at campaign events or in advertising would seem to be common sense. But it was only after multiple instances of musicians filing lawsuits in order to control the use of their intellectual property that this common sense approach was actually followed. It should be encouraging to musicians and songwriters however that at least some political campaigns have begun to take steps to seek consent before using music for which they may otherwise have no right to use.

This use of music without consent of the artist is not a new phenomenon this year. Last year, Tom Petty’s music publisher issued a cease and desist letter to Republican hopeful Michele Bachman requiring her to stop playing “American Girl” during campaign events. In 2008, John Mellencamp and the Foo Fighters would not allow John McCain to play their hit songs while on his presidential campaign.

An out of court settlement resolved a dispute with Jackson Browne following lawsuits against McCain for using his song, “Running on Empty,” without receiving permission first. During an event in 2004, George W. Bush played “Still the One,” which did not make John Hall, a member of the band Orleans, happy. In addition, the former President could not use tracks from John Melencamp, Tom Petty, and Sting.

Source: Fox News, “Musicians Blocking GOP from Using Songs?” Hollie McKay, Jan. 4, 2012