Newt Gingrich Sued for Using 'Eye of the Tiger' at Rallies

 @DanRivoli
on January 31 2012 12:52 PM
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Despite having won only two states outright, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has picked up delegates in other contests. Reuters

The songwriter behind the iconic Rocky III theme, Eye of the Tiger, has sued Newt Gingrich for playing the '80s Grammy award-winning hit at his political rallies.

Frank Sullivan of Survivor, the band that wrote the 1982 song for the movie, owns the rights through his company Rude Music Inc., which filed a federal suit Monday against Gingrich in Illinois for copyright infringement.

The suit says Gingrich is knowledgeable enough to know he had violated copyright laws. Rude Music is seeking damages and an order against Gingrich from using the song at campaign events.

Gingrich, who was sued alongside his campaign operation, is the latest in a long line of GOP politicians who were slapped with lawsuits or cease-and-desist orders from musicians who do not want their song associated with the Republican Party.

Republicans who need crowd-pleasing music or theme songs for introductions often face brush-back from musicians who tend to be liberal.

Survivor Not Only Band to Complain About Gingrich Campaign's Actions

Meanwhile, Gingrich also received a cease-and-decease request from a record label to stop using How You Like Me Now, a 2009 song that has played at Florida rallies. The Heavy, a band who wrote the song, vulgarly complained on Facebook that the group had nothing to do with Gingrich's use of the song and that we are trying to stop it being used.

These lawsuits and requests put Gingrich in good company. Perhaps the most notable and earliest dust up between a GOP candidate and a musician involved Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen. The Boss, a liberal and Democrat, objected to Reagan's use of Born in the U.S.A. -- a patriotic-sounding tune about a working-class Vietnam veteran who feels abandoned by his country -- for the president's 1984 reelection campaign.

Gingrich's former presidential rival, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, was forced to stop using Tom Petty's American Girl last year after he complained.

Should Gingrich be forced to settle, he should avoid the fate of Charlie Crist, a former Florida governor who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate. In his campaign, he used Road to Nowhere by the Talking Heads in a campaign commercial to attack his rival, Sen. Marco Rubio.

Talking Heads front man David Byrne was able to a get Crist to issue a taped apology for infringing on the musician's copyright.

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