Last week, Jackson Browne’s management began receiving emails from people who wondered why the legendary singer and songwriter — an Obama supporter who doesn’t allow his songs to be used in advertisements of any kind — would permit his iconic rock classic “Running on Empty” to play in a John McCain campaign commercial.
As it turns out, he didn’t. According to a lawsuit filed by Browne in US District Court in Los Angeles, the Ohio Republican Party, the GOP and McCain himself are responsible for two illegal acts: infringing on Browne’s copyright and creating the false impression that Browne had endorsed John McCain.
“They’re embarrassed,” said Browne’s lawyer Larry Iser, “and they should be.”
Indeed, some irony lies in a candidate who is running a law-and-order campaign being sued for intentional copyright infringing and appropriating someone else’s identity without their permission.
“When you’re a senator, or you’re elected president, you take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Iser told Wired.com. “Copyright derives directly from the Constitution… Someone who is running for president needs to set a good example in adherence to the laws.”
Neither McCain headquarters nor the Ohio Republican Party responded to our calls after agents at both organizations referred us to leave voicemails.
Iser says that not only should McCain, the Republican National Party and the Ohio Republican Party pay damages in excess of $1 million, but that Americans (who have themselves been somewhat browbeaten over issues of copyright infringement) deserve an apology.