The lawyers for the rock band Rush (one of my all-time favorite bands) served a cease and desist letter to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul for unauthorized use of their songs.
According to the Courier-Journal (first time I ever encountered the paper), the next legal step depends on the formal response the band’s general counsel gets from the Paul campaign. They can be subject to damages of up to $150,000 for each work. Under 17 USC 412, statutory damages are only available for works that were registered with the Copyright Office prior to infringement, or within three months of publication.
For all of you Rush fans (probably only white men), here are a list of the offending songs and what the campaign used them for:
- Spirit of Radio (first song on Permanent Waves). The Rand campaign pumped up the crowd with this one. The lyric Glittering prizes and endless compromises/shatter the illusion of integrity was used by Rand during his campaign speeches. However, I think that his supporters may be more worried about the government sending out invisible airwaves crackle(ing) with light.
- Tom Sawyer (from Moving Pictures). The campaign thought this was great fundraising music. This is the lyric that I am sure brought in the money from fans of the libertarian candidate: No his mind is not for rent. To any God or Government.
The lawyers for Rush say that it is not a political issue, after all they are all Canadian (with their socialized health insurance).
It is not unusual for entertainers to have issue with political candidates using their songs without permission. The most famous example is during the 1984 Presidential campaign, when Ronald Reagan used Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA without his consent (he also had no idea what the song was about).
Well… There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees…