Use of popular tracks for poll campaigning is not new, but sometimes the politicians tend to overlook the small matter of copyright.
Recently, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann used Tom Petty & The Hearbreaker’s popular 1977 number, American Girl during a campaign stop in Iowa.
Tom Petty was not happy about the usage, and his management has already issued a cease-and-desist order against the Minnesota Republican, according to pollstar.com.
Earlier, Petty had objected to George W Bush using his ‘Won’t Back Down’ in his 2000 campaign. Although he approved Hilary Clinton using the same for her Presidential run in 2008.
A cease and desist order is not always an effective end of the issue. There are times when a singer endorses the use of a particular song, but the copyright is held by someone else. Other times the lyrics are changed somewhat and the song is used as a parody. Some politicians just sue without permission risking a court case.
Sarah Palin and John McCain used a good many number of songs in their 2008 campaign and got into trouble with a lot of artists as they had acquired a blanket license from some record companies but that left a lot of singers unhappy and got them a lot of bad press.
President Ronal Reagan used Bruce Springsteen’s famous anthem, ‘Born In The USA’ in his presidential run in 1984 and his people claimed endorsement from the singer for his run. But Springsteen was quick to distance himself from Reagan and actually endorsed the opposition candidate.
Don Henley of the Eagles fame sued Chuck De Vore for using his 'All She Wants to Do Is Dance’ as ‘All she wants to Do Is Tax’ in the 2009 campaign against Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer. DeVore claimed it was a parody but the court rejected the claim.
The list of such infringements is endless.
Such legal battles will continue till politicians and the people running their campaign get official endorsement from the artists or possibly just write their own songs or slogans.