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Jackson Browne & GOP Settle Suit

08:01 AM Wednesday 7/22/09 |   |

After Jackson Browne’s song “Running on Empty” was used in an ad for Sen. John McCain during last year’s presidential campaign, the singer-songwriter didn’t just get mad, he sued. The lawsuit has now been settled along with the unthinkable – an apology.

“Running on Empty” provided the background to a Web ad mocking then presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s proposed energy policies. Although the ad was promoting McCain’s campaign, a statement explained McCain didn’t know about the ad, which was created by the Ohio Republican Party.

The ad was removed after Browne complained but that didn’t stop him from suing McCain along with the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party.

The settlement was announced Tuesday. Financial details of the settlement were not announced and the formal settlement papers must still be filed with the court. The settlement includes a promise from the GOP not to use musicians’ work without proper permission in future campaigns.

"We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song 'Running on Empty' was used without permission," said a statement, which was attributed to McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party.

  • Jackson Browne

    . Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame March 15.
    March 3, 2004

    (Steve Jennings)

    | 

"This settlement is really a great affirmation of what I believed my rights to be, and all writers' rights to be," Browne said. "One would hope that a presidential candidate would not only know the law but respect it. It was a matter of bringing that issue to bear."

Browne was especially concerned about the use of his 1977 song, from the album of the same title, because he didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea and believe that he was endorsing McCain. Quite the opposite as the singer-songwriter contributed to Obama’s campaign.

"Thousands of people come to an event or they see it on TV and they see John Mellencamp's song being used or Ann and Nancy Wilson's song being used and they assume a kind of solidarity and a kind of endorsement that simply does not exist," Browne said.

Mellencamp,Heart and the Foo Fighters also had a bone to pick with GOP during the 2008 presidential race as their songs were also used without permission to promote McCain. The republican candidate wasn’t the only politician in trouble with artists as Sam Moore asked Obama to stop using his tune “Soul Man.”

Browne said he filed the lawsuit to make a statement and to help protect other artists in the future.

"I would hope that they would think twice about taking someone's song without permission and understand that the law was put to the test and our rights prevailed," Browne said. "Hopefully it will just go to illustrate there is a legal remedy for this."

Click here for the AP article.


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